The best 'First Dance' for my wedding

Pastiche Band
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The Best First Dance for my wedding.

Pastiche often get asked “can a live band play the first dance at my wedding?” Pastiche generally expect to learn a first dance for a wedding. Occasionally the couple choose to have the original recording of a song.

Pastiche playing a First Dance at a wedding

Pastiche have had to learn a wide variety of songs to perform for the first dance. One of the trickiest was an obscure French song – sung in French (not particularly my forte!) Happily, on the night, it turned out there was a guest at the wedding who was a French singer. He came on stage and did a fine job of singing the song – much better than I would have done! It’s not uncommon for a guest to sing the first dance along with the band.

At a wedding the newly married couple are the guests of honour – they open the dancing. It is considered in some circles to be bad luck for other guests to dance before the newly married couple. If the first dance is choreographed the couple usually dance till the end of the song and finish off with a flourish. This is invariably greeting with loud cheers. More informally the other guests are invited to join in the dance half way through.

Some people go for a fun song – Pastiche have recently played I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor by Arctic Monkeys. A slow dance is by far the most common for a first dance – the couple picking a ballad.

Often a couple go for dance lessons with a dance instructor and have the first dance choreographed – If this is the case the band will need to know exactly which version of a song you have learnt to dance to.

These days some people choose not to have a first dance, particularly if one of the couple is not good at dancing.

There is an amusing story about a wedding first dance – the song requested was the theme from Robin Hood – meaning the Bryan Adams song Everything I Do, I Do It For You from the film Robin Hood. Instead the band played the jaunty theme tune to a 1960s TV version of Robin Hood:

“Robin Hood, Robin Hood riding through the glen.
“Robin Hood, Robin Hood with his band of men…”

There are lists of “Best First Dance Songs” on the Internet to get ideas from. Of course you could have a chat with the bandleader to see what they recommend and what is possible. The best thing, however, is to discuss the first dance as a couple. Is there a particular song that is holds special memories for both of you? That will be the song to go for.

The one song that we have probably played the most as a first dance is Can’t Take My Eyes off You. The song, written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio, was a hit for Frankie Valli in 1967. It is said that there are over 200 recorded versions of the song.

Here are a selection of songs that Pastiche Band have been requested to play for first dances in the last few months.

Various ballads for slow dancing

  • Have I Told You Lately – Van Morrison
  • Your Song - Ellie Goulding
  • I Love You Because - Jim Reeves
  • You're Still the One - Shania Twain
  • River - Emeli Sande
  • That's How Strong My Love Is - Otis Reading
  • Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins version
  • Songbird - Eva Cassidy version
  • Feeling Good – Nina Simone

More lively, fun tracks

  • I Feel Good - James Brown
  • Bright Side of the Road - Van Morrison
  • Can't Take My Eyes Off You - Andy Williams
  • Next to Me - Emeli Sande
  • I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston

Great American Songbook.

  • As Time Goes By
  • Let's Face the Music and Dance
  • Come Rain or Shine - Ray Charles

50s Rock ‘n’ Roll

  • Rock Around the Clock - Bill Hayley
  • Great Balls of Fire – Jerry Lee Lewis

One of Pastiche’s most amusing first dances was when a singer/guitarist friend of ours was getting married. He had arranged with the band to start off a slow ballad – after a few bars he grabbed a microphone and burst in to Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire! All this without the guests (or the bride) knowing beforehand.

When it comes to the best first dance for your wedding– anything goes – after all it’s your day!

Jun 1, 2015
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