Songs Wedding Planning

How to Choose a Father-Daughter Dance Song in your wedding

Maybe you arrange father and daughter dance wow crowd. Maybe you plan to influence Dad in the local fix at the moment in his memory … and try to deal with the center of being concerned. But as you do it, the perfect daddy dance song can make one of the most memorable moments, full of magical colors of the day.

But how do you sum up a whole relationship to a song? And how do you start a father-daughter wedding dance that represents who you are – not just the bride’s father and his beautiful daughter, but all of your wedding guests?


5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Father-Daughter Dance Song

Here are some brainstorming questions to narrow down your choices for something uniquely you:

1. What kind of personality should the dance have? Do you want to leave everyone in tears … or in stitches of laughter?

2. Is the bride comfortable with a traditional waltz or an up-tempo salsa dance … or just a particularly musical hug? How about the father of the bride – is he amerengue or Macarena guy, or is he dreading putting on his dance shoes?

3. If you’ve already picked the couple’s first dance song, do you want the father-daughter dance to flow smoothly from it? Or would you prefer more contrast?

4. What kinds of experiences do the bride and her father share? What do they do together? What’s a lesson only dad could have taught her? There might be a song about it!

5. Is there a song they always sing along with in the car? A family in-joke they’d like to bring up again? The father-daughter wedding dance is a tradition (which is part of the reason there are so many appropriate choices), but it’s really about the two people dancing together … so going wild is always a great choice.

Got those points in mind? Here’s a curated selection of father-daughter dance song suggestions that might just meet your taste!



When my sister-in-law got married just a couple of weeks ago, her dad announced at the rehearsal dinner that the wedding wouldn’t be complete until he’d made people cry. Between his bilingual toast and their supersweet father-daughter dance to Rascal Flatts’ “My Wish,” he met that goal!

If you want everyone reaching for a hanky, these choices show the beauty of the father-daughter wedding dance by recalling some of the special moments in their years together.

Some of them might verge on the cheesy … but “cheesy” is just another way of saying “don’t mind me, I’ve got something in my eye.” A few of our weepy faves:

“Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle

“Thank You for Loving Me” by Bon Jovi

“Lullabye” by Billy Joel

“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

“Wildflowers” by Tom Petty

“Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof


Faster Favorites

If you’re coming right out of a romantic first dance into a father-daughter wedding dance, you might want to up the tempo as you transition into your celebratory dance party! (You could also start slow and have your DJ slip into something with a quicker beat – think Annie and Daddy Warbucks going from their father-daughter waltz, “Something Was Missing,” into the later number “I Don’t Need Anything But You.”)

Faster songs are also great for families where the wedding means turning over a new leaf. If getting the family together for the wedding was a struggle, or if you’ve lost a few relatives in recent years and need to take your mind off the memorial table, something like Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” – a sunny, hopeful choice – might make a great start to a more optimistic reception.

On the other hand, my dad and I do a great Electric Slide – we couldn’t resist showing that off!

Here are a few more father-daughter songs with a quick, fun tempo for dancing fast:

“Windy” by The Association

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye

“Anytime” by Journey

“I Will Walk With You” by John Fogerty

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses


Nostalgic Notes

Not so fond of weepy classics, but want a song that represents a father and daughter’s lifetime of magical moments? Look to something from your childhood.

Did dad indulge you by watching your favorite cartoon with you every Saturday? What’s that Disney movie you watched religiously? How about a robotic dance to the Super Mario World 1 music, or a drinks-in-hand swing to the M*A*S*H theme?

Deserving of special mention is a father-daughter wedding dance song with sing-along potential. Do you know (of course you do) “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”? That Tin Pan Alley classic from the turn of the twentieth century (and every daddy-daughter ball-park outing since) is actually about a girl who would prefer a sporty outing to a nice dinner. Don baseball caps to up the cute factor, and make sure everyone knows your mutual favorite team so they “root, root, root” for the right side.

A few more special-interest songs to consider:

“Father and Daughter” by Paul Simon (from The Wild Thornberrys)

“The Rainbow Connection” (from The Muppets)

“I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash

“You’ve Got a Friend In Me” by Randy Newman (from Toy Story)

“No Matter What” (from the stage version of Beauty and the Beast)


Cool and Classic

Retro chic is big in wedding planning, and the father-daughter wedding dance is a great place to bring in something period-appropriate. (But remember, mid-century buffs and Marilyn fans: “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” only sounds like it belongs on the list.)

Stylish instrumental covers of old favorites are excellent choices, and the whole catalogue of the Benny Goodman Orchestra has potential, too. Even power ballads from the ‘80s are starting to hold retro charm!

From big bands to geezer rock, dad and daughter can have a tasteful moment to these old-time tunes:

“My Girl” by The Temptations

“I Wish You Love” by Frank Sinatra

“All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles

“Stand By Me” by Ben King

“Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra

“Happy Days Are Here Again” by Leo Reisman

father and daughter wedding dance

The Final Selection

Once you’ve got the perfect daddy dance song, read the lyrics thoroughly and make sure nothing leads to an embarrassing moment. Decide how long you want everyone to stare at you. Reduce sadness in the last section, kick out a weird presentation, or invite other dads to join you on the floor may be helpful. And make sure the waltz is practiced at least once.

Find your father and daughter wedding dance, but not sure is every line right? (We look at you, sexy lines of the perfect, “I have my life.”) Looking for a tool version. No one remembers the real lyrics, right?

Do you think your dad was surprised to hear this song, or would he rather make the final choice to dance for your daughters and daughters? Have you seen the epic mom and dad’s wedding moments in particular? Tell us in the comments!