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Choosing The Perfect Parent’s Dance Song

Here is one area for which my 15 years DJing weddings qualifies me to boast being a true professional and an expert. One of my favorite parts of my job is sitting with the bride and groom before their wedding day to offer my advice and expertise on choosing the special songs for the day. A bride’s dance with her father and a groom’s dance with his mother is for many people a very important part of their day, a dance that represents a sort of graduation into a new life, a spreading of their wings. For others… not such a big deal. BTW, I will reference a Bride and her Father and Groom with his Mother… knowing very well that some couples will not have their respective parent there to dance with. How to handle that situation will be covered in another Blog entry.

The first step in choosing a song that is suitable for you and your parent is to think about your relationship with your parent. Are you close with Dad? Do you and your mother show affection? Are you Daddy’s little girl? Do you have several brothers who have gotten married and thus your Mom has already been through the Mother/Son Dance a couple of times? Do you imagine your parent crying, laughing or talking during this spotlight dance?

Second, you should consider whether you would like the song you select to be from you to her (son to mother) or visa versa? In other words, do you see this dance as “you taking some time on your wedding day to honor your father” or “the dance that your father has been waiting to have with his daughter on her wedding day”? Another way to think about it is to decide whether you want the lyrics to be sung by a male to his daughter or do you want the lyrics sung by a female to her father? (and of coarse the same questions should be asked if the choice is for the groom/mother dance)

Choosing the perspective of the song as described in the paragraph above will significantly narrow the options and make the decision much easier. However, I suggest you keep an open mind and not totally rule out songs that may have a different perspective than you imagined.

Next, I suggest you consider whether you want the song to be something recognizable for your parent or if you would rather pick something that is a bit more contemporary and likely more your taste in music. That’s not to say your taste in music must be contemporary. The difference would be exemplified by the difference between Unforgettable by Natalie Cole and Nat Kind Cole and My Father’s Eyes by Amy Grant.

Don’t let the song be a surprise! I have seen it too often where the bride and/or groom want to surprise their parent with a special song they chose… the lyrics meaningful and the emotion sure to make their parent tear up. If Mom doesn’t know the song, she will not know it any better after your dance with her. There is far too much going on at the moment of your dance to expect them to be moved by a song. Let them hear the song ahead of time. Perhaps give them a copy of the song so they can listen to it… really get to know the song so that on the day of your wedding, just the melody will invoke the emotions you want.

Next, I suggest calling on sources for ideas… first and foremost, ask your entertainment (DJ or band leader) for ideas. For my company, we have an online music application that offers suggestions that can be sampled and purchased. I also spend several hours helping a couple select important songs… during this time I play many possible songs based on the criteria described earlier in this post. See if your entertainment will do the same for you. The internet is a good source as long as you don’t settle for the first hit you get on a google search… I have seen some really crappy sites out there that have extremely stale ideas on it. I am a big proponent of WeddingWire.com. On WeddingWire.com, there is also a tool that offers suggestions that can be sampled.

Should you ask your parent if they have a song in mind? That is up to you. Just know that if you open that option to them, you may get stuck with a song that is less meaningful than you wish. Eight out of Ten times, I have seen Mom’s or Dad’s pick obscure songs (when given the choice) that mean very little to the bride and/or groom. One way to get them involved is to make a CD with the songs you like and allow them to pick from the provided selections.

I hope this article helps. Please feel free to contact me or comment if I can answer any questions with regards to this topic.

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