I got married back in July, and though I had always sort of dreaded planning a wedding (mostly because my mind had been poisoned by celebrity affairs and awful pop culture clichés), the whole experience was incredible.
My wife and I carefully curated every aspect, from the venue (we staged everything in a bookstore run by an AIDS charity) to our clothes (I wore these shoes). It turned out to be the most fun night of my life.
When it came to music, we skipped the idea of having a band or a DJ and went with modern technology (which involved me plugging my iTunes into the store’s sound system). We spent many hours carefully curating the playlist, balancing the fast songs with the slow songs and slipping in a healthy combination of stuff people wanted to hear with songs that were particularly meaningful to us—categories that often met in the middle, especially in the case of Ginuwine’s “Pony”.
There was one song that got more discussion than any other one, and that was the tune that would score our first dance. As dyed-in-the-wool music geeks, we ran through a number of different ideas, trying to find something that would not only have the appropriate lyrical content but also would sound cool and be danceable.
We also didn’t want to have something typical that gets played at every wedding. “At Last” is pretty song, but it’s been used so many times that it couldn’t possibly feel like our own. As for the rest of this list of popular first dance songs, they’re all either schlocky (anything by Shania Twain), confusing (we can’t think of anything but animated lion cubs snuggling when we hear Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”), or just plain wrong (“If I Loved You,” from Carousel, is a fantasy about how the character isn’t in love; later in that play, he smacks around his wife and she’s sort of OK with it).
Luckily, we each have large record collections, and had a good time weighing ideas. We very nearly went with “This Is the Day” by The The (both because it’s an awesomely ’80s faux-goth synth tune and because it plays over the final scene of Empire Records), but ultimately, we went with Matthew Sweet’s “We’re the Same” (because it’s a pretty song we both love and because we both cited Sweet as a favorite artist on our online dating profiles, which brought us together for the first time five years ago).
This discussion got a lot of people around the EW office thinking about their own first dance songs (or what theirs might be), so we decided to toss it to you. If you are married, what song did you end up using? And if you’re not, what do you plan on scoring that important moment? Let the ceremony begin in the comments below.
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