Slow Dance Songs for Your Wedding Reception: Trending Hits

Slow dance songs are what many couples wait for to dance.  People who don’t feel comfortable dancing, will typically at least dance to a slow song.

slow dance songs

As an experienced wedding DJ, I’ve assembled a list of songs for the first dance. Songs are selected by the meaning of the song and popular hits by today’s couples.

 

With the rise of more upbeat music and happy vibes desired for background music at wedding receptions, I am seeing fewer and fewer slow songs for cocktail hours and dinner music.

Thus, when planning a reception playlist, there are minimal times when all guests will dance to a slow song. This could include an anniversary dance too.

Have 3 slow dance songs in your pocket for every wedding.*

*Excluding formal dances such as the first dance and parent dances.

That being said, I thought I would share a few popular slow dance selections for every couple to dance during the reception. These are tried and true romantic slow songs. In addition, You will find an additional 15 slow dance songs that are on streaming and buying charts that you could say are “forgotten hits” that will motivate guests to dance.

15 Popular Slow Dance Songs

(In no particular order)

Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers

This is one song that many generations will recognize being that it hit the Billboard charts in the 1960s when released and again in 1990. The film ‘Ghost’ revitalized the hit. Being a blue-eyed soul love song, I have seen many guests sing the lyrics to their lovers of varied ages.

Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton

This love song is a rock favorite for couples who celebrate their love for each other. Many couples have selected it for their first dance even today because the song tells of a man describing how beautiful his wife/girlfriend is – whatever the dancers’ situation. It is a song that couples can sway to the music even if they have two left feet.

Stand By Me – Ben E. King

The song was pulled back into the spotlight in 2018 when it was performed during the royal wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle. The tempo of the song is a tad bit faster to add a bit of levity. I have seen many age groups recognize this hit and time and again has proven to pack dance floors with couples. Tip: Prince Royce has a popular Latin cover.

I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

The song’s presence in the film ‘Armageddon’ and the actors Bruce Willis and Liv Tyler (Aerosmith’s lead singer Steven Tyler’s daughter) brought visibility to the masses. This song has been incorporated into countless wedding soundtracks during many different moments – even for slow dancing.

Perfect – Ed Sheeran

It’s hard to believe that this track became so popular that it is landing on couples’ do not playlists now. Lots of couples have selected it as their first dance song and for other aspects of the wedding. The song structure could involve a mix of slow dance elements, graceful movements, and dips or lifts depending on the dancers’ skills.

All of Me – John Legend

Being released in 2013, this love tune has proven to strengthen through a short-lived life to peak at the top of demand by couples wanting to slow dance. Legend is one of the biggest music artists and I predict this will replace many love songs of yesteryear – if it hasn’t already.

Tennessee Whiskey – Chris Stapleton

Stapleton is one of the most decorated modern country artists with his classic country vibe. Many couples that don’t like country music love Stapleton’s authenticity. True country dancers can two-step around the dance floor. Less skilled dancers can sway in each other’s arms.

Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley

I claim CHFIL as the greatest wedding song of all time. Think about the number of covers that have made their way into wedding playlists including the Granni’s version featured in ‘Crazy Rich Asians. Elvis lives on for all ages. (Have you been to Vegas? He is still celebrated by many wedding couples today!)

Beautiful Crazy – Luke Combs

I could have selected a few of Comb’s love songs. However, this is the song he selected to play for his own wedding’s first dance. I like this song because it talks about a man accepting his lover for who she is. The tempo is slower which makes it easy to dance to too.

Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran

So many couples pretend they are dancing like they are in the music video with their partner showing their passion and love. Keep in mind that this mega-love song was released a decade ago. Even so, I think this song will stand the test of time and will remain a wedding favorite.

Speechless – Dan + Shay

Many couples had this song playing as the bride walked down the aisle and also for their first dance. I personally like the acoustic version of ‘You’ more but it hasn’t caught on as I thought it would. Dan + Shay is a crossover group between country and pop and will make more guests happy than a strict country song.

At Last – Etta James

Talk about standing the test of time – “At Last” was released in 1960! A song of finally finding your one true love. Many couples today incorporate this song into their wedding day playlists and you can take advantage of that by bringing all of the couples to the dance floor.

A Thousand Years – Christina Perri

Many people watching the ‘Twilight Saga’ dreamed of this song playing at their own wedding just as Bella and Edward did. All young and young-at-heart couples can celebrate their love for each other with this popular movie classic.

Amazed – Lonestar

“Amazed” is another track with a blend of country and pop vibes. It has been selected for many first dances and was played at many proms too in 1999 (I played it at every prom I DJ’d in 1999) into the early 2000s. It is a great nostalgic love song to play for a slow dance.

You’re Still The One – Shania Twain

YSTO is a favorite for married couples as I have seen this played for many anniversary dances. In addition, Twain is very popular right now from 90s country. If you are looking for an alternative to this, be sure to check out Teddy Swims’ cover version. It is phenomenal with his raspy voice that injects so much emotion.

 

15 Newer Slow Dance Songs

(Unexpected 1990s to today)

Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinéad O’Connor/Chris Cornell/Prince

You have an eclectic choice of alternative, rock, and R&B for this track. I have witnessed many guests singing the lyrics at the top of their lungs. Thus, you have the advantage of a slow dance song and a sing-along song.

More Than Words – Extreme

A crossover hit between rock and pop that is still being streamed today en-mass. There’s something special about acoustic love songs that gets couples to the dance floor. I played for all couples wanting to say ‘“I Love You” without speaking the words.

I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston

Being in the movie ‘Bodyguard’ along with starring Houston and ‘Yellowstone’ actor Kevin Costner brings relevance today. The song was “played out” after its initial release. Now it is one of the greatest love songs of all time and will transcend guests’ ages. Plus, I can vouch that guests will be singing the lyrics to their partners.

Kiss From A Rose – Seal

Another song featured in a film (‘Batman Forever’). This is one of those sleeper songs that guests forget about that will bring back fond memories. Couples are inclined to dance with each other with the increase and drop of the song’s intensity. Tip: Skip the long intro.

I’ll Make Love To You – Boyz II Men

If you want a closing slow song, then ‘End of The Road’ is a better choice to capture the end of a wedding day. However, IMLTY has more steams than ‘On Bended Knee’ and triple ‘Motownphilly’. For 90s R&B fans, this is a bit on the risque side but I have noticed couples lip-syncing the lyrics to each other. Wink Wink.

Strawberry Wine – Deana Carter

I have seen many women pulling their lovers to the dancefloor when this song plays. Plus, several DJs have mentioned on the Wedding Songs Podcast that it has been bringing couples to the dance floor in fervor.

Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden

I mentioned proms earlier. This song was a highly requested slow dance song at proms in the latter half of the 90s. The love theme continues and will make not only wedding couples happy but also their parents!

All My Life – K-Ci & JoJo

Many R&B songs speak the language of love. I would classify this as one of the greatest 90s love songs. Tip: Everyone who knows the song will recognize the piano at the beginning of the song and will give guests a chance to get from their seats to the dance floor.

Lover – Taylor Swift

You don’t need to be a Swiftie to know that Taylor Swift is one of the biggest artists right now. This track I think is her most recognizable slow song and will bring the most dancers. Plus, it is a great singalong song too! Tip: Check out the first dance version for a slower tempo.

Incomplete – Sisqo

“Incomplete” is a trending slow song right now because the early 2000s music is on fire at wedding receptions. Don’t sleep on this romantic hit for couples wanting to slow dance or for the DJ to reset the music vibe. You can even mix in “Thong Song” afterward. LOL.

If I Ain’t Got You – Alicia Keys

I saw Keys at an iHeartRadio Festival and she is amazing. You can play this hit or “Fallin’”. Both are popular hits currently. I just prefer the lyrics of this one over “Fallin’” for a wedding scenario as “Fallin’” talks about falling in and out of love. Plus, “If I Ain’t Got You” is her most streamed song!

Angel of Mine – Monica

Another late 90s hit that captured the hearts of many and was a popular wedding song after its release. It is another “hidden gem” that remains a love song to play today.

Until I Found You – Stephen Sanchez

Looking for a new song that has a vintage vibe to make grandparents happy and has been making young dancers happy too? This song is a winner! Tip: Check out the duet with Em Beihold.

All Your’n – Tyler Childers

Childers is exploding on the country scene. His music sticks to the traditional country music feel. He has a unique sound for true country fans old and young. Tip: You can also play “In You Love” for a newer romantic song.

Spin You Around (1/24) – Morgan Wallen

I am closing out the list with a newer song. Wallen released it before he wanted to because his label was releasing it without his permission. So, he remade it into a beautiful slow song about your lover taking your breath away. It has been on the Billboard charts and a voice many will recognize.

Have a favorite slow dance song that should be on this list? Please share it below in the comments!

 

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FAQs

Slow dance songs that make for good dance songs are the ones that are a love story.  They have plenty of emotion and tug at the heartstrings.  Slow songs that are known by most of your guests will also fill the dance floor as it is a song they recognize.

The longest slow dance songs include “Starway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, “American Pie” by Don McLean, and “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” by Meatloaf.  However, you must consider the amount of time you want to take up for each song for your reception.

Most couples who do not feel comfortable dancing have the man holding the woman’s waist and the woman holding the man’s shoulders.  However, in slow ballroom dance, the couples hold hands left/right with the other holding the other’s waist.

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