A certain British singer tops our list once again.
When it comes to choosing your first dance song, it’s essential to select a tune that’s meaningful to you and your partner. However, if you’re feeling stumped on the right song for your big moment on the dance floor, we’re here to help provide some inspiration. The Knot Real Weddings Study surveyed over 15,000 couples and found the most popular wedding songs—and it turns out that the same song has topped the list since 2017. Want to know which one? Read on and check out the top tunes to add to your big day playlist. And if you need more help choosing songs for your big day, enlist the help of an experienced wedding DJ or band.
“Perfect,” Ed Sheeran
Lyrics you’ll love: “Baby, I’m dancing in the dark, with you between my arms/Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song/When I saw you in that dress, looking so beautiful/I don’t deserve this, darling, you look perfect tonight”
Yes, this Ed Sheeran tune has been the most popular wedding song for the past five years, and it’s easy to see why. This song has totally romantic lyrics, and great tempo for dancing (check out the music video for proof). If you’re looking for a twist on this often-played tune, try the “Perfect Duet” version featuring Beyonce. Or you could dance to one of Sheeran’s other first dance song favorites, like “Thinking Out Loud” or “Love In Slow Motion”.
“Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Elvis Presley
Lyrics you’ll love: “Wise men say/Only fools rush in/But I can’t help falling in love with you”
It’s clear why this 1961 love song has been on wedding playlists for decades. It’s easy to dance to, features swoon-worthy lyrics and of course, who doesn’t love Elvis’s rich, deep voice? For a more modern cover of this classic, check out the versions performed by Haley Reinhart or Michael Bublé.
“Better Together,” Luke Combs
Lyrics you’ll love: “Sometimes we’re oil and water/But I wouldn’t have it any other way/And if I’m being honest, your first and my last name”
Yes, the Jack Johnson song by the same name is another popular wedding song but the country tune by Luke Combs made our 2021 list. The lyrics reference the simple, everyday things that make relationships special.
“At Last,” Etta James
Lyrics you’ll love: “At last/My love has come along/My lonely days are over/And life is like a song”
This song has been a mainstay at weddings for years, but we never tire of hearing it. From the gorgeous lyrics to James’ stunning voice, the tune provides a sweeping and dramatic ambiance to your reception. It also makes a beautiful processional or recessional song for a wedding ceremony.
“Conversations in the Dark,” John Legend
Lyrics you’ll love: “I will never try to change you, change you/I will always want the same you, same you/Swear on everything I pray to/That I won’t break your heart/I’ll be there when you get lonely, lonely/Keep the secrets that you told me, told me/And your love is all you owe me/And I won’t break your heart”
John Legend makes our list twice this year. His 2020 song, “Conversations in the Dark,” comes in at number five. This song was featured on the hit NBC drama This is Us, which only increased its popularity.
“Yours,” Russell Dickerson
Lyrics you’ll love: “I came to life when I first kissed you/The best me has his arms around you/You make me better than I was before/Thank God I’m yours”
Country songs continue to make popular first dance songs, and this Russell Dickerson tune from his debut album was a favorite in 2021. The song was inspired by Dickerson’s wife, and the lyrics talk about one’s partner changing them for the better—a perfect sentiment for a wedding day.
“Beyond,” Leon Bridges
Lyrics you’ll love: “I’m scared to death that she might be it/That the love is real, that the shoe might fit/She might just be my everything and beyond (beyond)/Space and time in the afterlife/Will she have my kids? Will she be my wife?/She might just be my everything and beyond”
This soulful hit perfectly encapsulates the excitement and nervousness that accompanies a new relationship. It has an old-school vibe that guests of all ages will love—and its sultry feel makes it a unique first dance song.
“All of Me,” John Legend
Lyrics you’ll love: “‘Cause all of me/Loves all of you/Love your curves and all your edges/All your perfect imperfections/Give your all to me/I’ll give my all to you/You’re my end and my beginnin’/Even when I lose, I’m winnin'”
This song has been a popular first dance song since it was released in 2013. Dedicated to Legend’s wife Chrissy Teigen, this song describes loving one’s partner, flaws and all. And if that isn’t a perfect sentiment for your big day, we don’t know what is.
“Lover,” Taylor Swift
Lyrics you’ll love: “Can I go where you go?/Can we always be this close forever and ever?/And ah, take me out, and take me home (forever and ever)/You’re my, my, my, my/Lover”
While “All Too Well” might not be the best first dance song, this song definitely is a top pick. Swifties will definitely want to play this song at some point during the reception, whether it’s for the first dance or later on in the evening.
“Say You Won’t Let Go,” James Arthur
Lyrics you’ll love: “I knew I loved you then/But you’d never know/’Cause I played it cool when I was scared of letting go/I know I needed you/But I never showed/But I wanna stay with you until we’re gray and old/Just say you won’t let go/Just say you won’t let go”
We can’t help but smile every time we hear this James Arthur song. It’s been around since 2016, but it’s still a mainstay on many wedding playlists. The not-too-fast, not-too-slow tempo makes it an ideal choice for a first dance.
“Joy of My Life,” Chris Stapleton
Lyrics you’ll love: “She takes me by the hand/I am the luckiest man alive/Did I tell you, baby/You are the joy of my life”
If you’re looking for a newer country song to play at your wedding, this may be the one. We love the message: The only thing that matters is being together.
“Forever After All,” Luke Combs
Lyrics you’ll love: “They say nothing lasts forever/But they ain’t seen us together/Or the way the moonlight dances in your eyes/Just a t-shirt in the kitchen/With no make-up and a million/Other things that I could look at my whole life/A love like that makes a man have second thoughts/Maybe some things last forever after all”
If you’ve seen the music video for this country hit, you’ll know why “Forever After All” is a popular first dance song. Combs wrote the song for his wife and used sweet footage from his own wedding day in the video.
“Speechless,” Dan + Shay
Lyrics you’ll love: “You already know that you’re my weakness/After all this time I’m just as nervous/Every time you walk into the room/I’m speechless”
Remember when Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner played this song before saying “I do” in Vegas? It’s been a popular wedding song ever since. Country duo Dan + Shay actually have quite a few songs that are ideal for a first dance, including “Glad You Exist” and “10,000 Hours”.
More Popular Wedding Songs from the Past
Need some more first dance song inspo? Check out a few favorites from past popular song lists.
“I Am Yours,” Andy Grammer
Lyrics you’ll love: “I am yours/Now and always/Wouldn’t dream to be anything more/You take my breath away every night/Still can’t believe it when you say your mine and/I am yours, I am yours, I am yours”
This song was number six on our most popular wedding song list in 2020, but fell off the list last year. It’s still a great first dance song choice, with romantic lyrics and a slow tempo. We also think it makes a beautiful processional song.
“I Don’t Dance,” Lee Brice
Lyrics you’ll love: “It ain’t my style, but I don’t care/But I’d do anything with you anywhere/Oh I don’t dance, but here I am/Spinnin’ you ’round and around in circles”
If you’re looking for a song that will make your guests chuckle, this country hit by Lee Brice might be an ideal choice. This song, which ranked number 10 on our 2020 top first dance songs list, is perfect for a bride or groom who isn’t much of a dancer, but will take the floor for this special moment.
“From the Ground Up,” Dan + Shay
Lyrics you’ll love: “And we’ll build this love from the ground up/For worse or for better/And I will be all you need/Beside you I’ll stand through the good and the bad/We’ll give all that we have/And we’ll build this love from the ground up”
Another favorite Dan + Shay song, this one was number six on our top song list in 2019. Its one of our favorite wedding-themed songs by the duo (yes, they have quite a few!).
“You Are the Best Thing,” Ray LaMontagne
Lyrics you’ll love: “We’ve come a long way, baby/You know, I hope and I pray that you believe me/When I say this love will never fade awayOh, because/You are the best thing”