The Wedding Father Daughter Dance: Songs for Dad and More
The day I made a bride cry.
One day I was meeting a bride and her mother in a ballroom at the Chattanooga Choo Choo (yes, it is a real place). We were meeting to discuss the reception layout and to select the father daughter dance. When we arrived, we discovered the venue employees had not left any chairs for us to set in. So the bride, her mother, and I hit the floor.
When the room layout was completed, we listened to song choices for the father daughter dance. At that time, “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle was gaining popularity. I started the song, and before long the three of us was sitting in the middle of a big, empty ballroom crying.
The easy choices
The reason I am telling this story is to highlight the emotional impact the father daughter dance can have. Choosing the father daughter song, in the best of situations, can be frustrating. The bride is under tremendous pressure to choose the “perfect” song. A song that will show her emotional bond with her father. I often advise brides to select a memorable song from her childhood or her father’s favorite song. If neither of these will work for her situation, then choosing one of the “usual” father daughter songs is a terrific option.
Suggested Wedding Items
10 Favorite Father Daughter Songs
These are not in any particular order. Just a few ideas.
- "Butterfly Kisses" Bob Carlisle
- "I Loved Her First" Heartland
- "My Girl" Four Tops
- "You Raised Me Up" Josh Groban
- "Because You Loved Me" Celine Dion
- "Unforgettable" Natalie Cole
- "What A Wonderful World" Louis Armstrong
- "Dance With My Father" Luther Vandross
- "Daddy's Hands" Holly Dunn
- "Daddy's Little Girl" Michael Bolton
The hard choices
Most articles dealing with the subject of the father daughter dance end here. I am going to take it to the next level. What about the nontraditional father daughter dances? These situations require more thought and a little extra planning. The bride must choose how to handle these herself, but here are a few suggestions.
Father & Stepfather- Want to dance with both? Try holding two dances or have one of the father’s “cut in” halfway through. The cut in can be announced by your emcee or just happen in a natural way.
The Two Foot Father- Not every father can boogie on down. So, if dancing in front of 300 wedding guests is too much for daddio then dedicate a song to him and have everyone join in. Another option is to have all fathers and daughters who are there come to the dance floor during the father daughter dance.
The Show off- Your father can boogie like John Travolta and loves to show it off. Try a montage of songs. Start with a slow song for the “photo ops” and at a predetermined moment have the disc jockey fade into a fast song of dad’s choice. Trust me, wedding guests love this.
Other Situations Not Mentioned Here- In all situations, remember it is your day, and you are allowed to have things your way. During her reception, one bride chose to conduct a solemn moment of silence for her father who had recently passed away. Another bride had someone stand in for her dad, because he was unable to be there. I have, even, witnessed fathers and daughters dance shoeless just as they did during her childhood days.
The father daughter dance should be a time of remembrance and sharing. Do not let the stress of choosing a song, steal the joy from this time. Your father will love any song you choose because he loves you. This is your moment, experience it the way you want to.
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