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The First Dance: why even Bridalwave can’t solve our tune crisis

By Alex Roumbas on June 11th, 2008 7 comments

Aude-Dan-Firstdanceuk-couple.jpgI say ‘crisis’. I mean ‘pain in the arse’.

I don’t want a first dance. I can’t dance, I find it embarrassing to be the centre of attention, Ashley has at least four left feet and all of the songs we both like are thoroughly inappropriate for a wedding and if we must do this then we don’t want to completely confuse people with a rendition of Jens Lekman’s Black Cab (which is actually one of ‘our’ songs). When I dismissed the idea of a dance to my future mother-in-law she looked like I’d kicked the puppy she’d have if she liked dogs. She looked positively hurt. And because I like her, I said “oh, okay then,” and I’ve regretted it ever since.

Now, Ash and I have gone through Keris’s rather fabulous Lost in Music column. But there’s a problem…


The problem is that 51 tracks later we still haven’t both clicked with any of the songs. Thanks to her suggestion about Nick Drake, I jumped at the thought of using Time Has Told Me, one of my favourite songs ever. It comes with the advantage of being a wobbler*, too.

Ashley’s response? ‘Meh’.

So I gave up – reluctantly – on Bridalwave, scanned the band‘s songlist, Google searched websites devoted to soppy tunes, looked through our iPods… and came up with nothing we could agree on.

Here’s the reject list so far:

The Beatles – In My Life: beloved by me, rejected by Ash for being ‘morbid’.

Mama Cass – Dream a Little Dream of Me: really nothing to do with either of us. We both like it but it means nothing to us.

Zero 7 – Destiny: Perfect if not for the reference to porn.

Anything by Amy Winehouse: my God, has that woman ever had a happy moment?

I thought once we had the band sorted the whole musical part of the evening would be done with. But as it turns out I’m marrying someone who’s idea of a good band is Coldplay – it really is his only bad feature – and I’m struggling to think of a slowish, appropriate, meaningful song to play. There seems little point in playing something that doesn’t at least strike a faint chord with either of us, but your suggestions would be welcome as you never know what might appeal.

I suspect that feeling hugely uncomfortable with parading ourselves around even more on a day that is all about us parading ourselves around has something to do with it, too.

*Something you can wobble vaguely to instead of actually dancing.


Alexandra Roumbas is a writer and editor living in London. She’s on holiday for two weeks from Saturday and is grateful she can leave the planning behind for a while.

  • How about something from a film that means something to you both? It doesn’t have to be something romantic, as long as it’s meaningful to you.

    I heard someone on Chris Evans the other day saying their first dance was to Stuck in the Middle from Reservoir Dogs, which is no-one’s idea of romantic!

  • Orla

    I love Keris’ idea, although I reckon something that you and your friends all adored (possibly in folly) when you were young would be very very funny indeed.

    It doesn’t have to be romantic, it just has to make you both smile!

    (Also, commiserations on the Coldplay thing! 😉 )

  • Ooh, yes, I like that idea. Come On Eileen! The Birdie Song! Careless Whisper! Pour Some Sugar On Me! The possibilities are endless. 🙂

    (My husband’s just suggested Every Rose Has It’s Thorn. Gag.)

  • Kherakamile

    Neither of us can dance, or want to be stared it in our incompetence (especially when my brother is a choreographer and dancer…)

    Seeeewww, we decided that when the time comes, one of us will get the mic, and say that as our families and friends are what makes us who we are, we don’t want to be alone for the first dance – we want them there with us! And so EVERYONE has to dance with us. It’s our day, so we can be bossy and make them.

    And the song we’ve picked? ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen. Neither of us are particularly fans, but everyone will know the song and come on, sing along…’Aiii wanna have myseeeelf such a gooooodtiime…’ Class…

  • Kerry

    I went to a wedding recently where the couple performed a set routine/line dance type thing (similar to the macarena, but not awful). They did it once, repeated it facing the other way, then the bridal party joined in the third time and after that everyone joined in. It was really fun and everyone loved it.

  • Alison

    I don’t know if it’s on Keris’ list and you’ve dismissed it already, but what about Gorecki by Lamb …

    In addition to being beautiful, it’s slow enough that you don’t have to “dance” (with the two left feet) so much as … sway …

  • I discussed this with The Hairy Drummer at my friend’s wedding recently and we decided on ‘Everything’ by Alanis Morrisette – it’s fairly sappy and was used in Clerks 2! – or The Ramones version of ‘Baby I love you’. Not that we’re getting married anytime soon!




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