Dancing with your mother or father at your wedding is one of the sweetest and most emotional parts of the entire wedding reception. It is an undeniably special time between parents and their children and rarely leaves a dry eye around the dance floor!
Having said that, it can be challenging to find the perfect song that encapsulates such a special relationship.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of 20 of the best wedding songs for the occasion…
Prepare to get a little misty-eyed.
“Daddy’s Little Girl,” by Al Martino
Lyrics You’ll Love: “You’re the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold / You’re daddy’s little girl to have and hold.”
For your father-daughter dance, “Daddy’s Little Girl” hits the mark. It is a classic crooner-style song packed with emotion and sung from the perspective of a father to his daughter. He compares her to beautiful and valuable items like rainbows, pots of gold, and something sparkling and bright.
“Daughters,” by John Mayer
Lyrics You’ll Love: “On behalf of every man / Looking out for every girl / You are the guide and the weight of her world.”
Essentially an anthem for fathers raising daughters, John Mayer’s sensational pop hit speaks about how important a father’s love for his daughter is for her future.
“Humble and Kind,” by Tim McGraw
Lyrics You’ll Love: “When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you / When the work you put in is realized / Let yourself feel the pride / But always stay humble and kind.”
Lori McKenna wrote the original version of this song for her five children as a reminder to stay humble and kind.
This gentle Tim McGraw ballad has a slightly upbeat tempo, making for a lovely dance song for dad and daughter or mother and son.
“I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack
Lyrics You’ll Love: “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean / Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens / Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance.”
Lee Ann Womack’s classic 2000 hit “I Hope You Dance” is an uplifting song with dramatic swells and thoughtful lyrics which express the narrator’s wish for their child to embrace life to the fullest.
It is an inspirational reminder never to let the hard parts of life force you to give up on love and happiness; an excellent choice for your dance with your parent.
“I Loved Her First,” by Heartland
Lyrics You’ll Love: “I knew the love of a father runs deep / And I prayed that she’d find you someday / But it’s still hard to give her away / I loved her first.”
If your goal is to make your loved ones cry as they watch you dance with your dad, play “I Loved Her First” by Heartland.
This emotionally charged country song is sung from a dad’s perspective as he watches his newly married daughter dance with her husband. It tells the story of how he loved her first but is happy to see her with the new love of her life.
“In My Life,” by The Beatles
Lyrics You’ll Love: “Though I know I’ll never lose affection / For people and things that went before / I know I’ll often stop and think about them / In my life I love you more.”
For a slightly non-traditional choice, consider this sweet ballad by The Beatles. The gentle tempo, acoustic melody, and signature Beatles harmonies tell the story of how nothing compares to the love the narrator has for the subject of the song.
“Through the Years,” by Kenny Rogers
Lyrics You’ll Love: “I can’t remember when you weren’t there / When I didn’t care for anyone but you.”
In another non-traditional parent dance song, Kenny Rogers sings about navigating through the years with a person they love and how that person has never let them down. It’s a sentimental track with heartfelt lyrics.
“Unforgettable,” by Natalie Cole with Nat King Cole
Lyrics You’ll Love: “Never before has someone been more/ Unforgettable in every way / And forevermore (And forevermore) / That’s how you’ll stay (That’s how you’ll stay).”
This is an emotional classical ballad sung by Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole that would make a lovely dance song with your mom or dad.
It is a song about unconditional love and the admiration between two people. At first glance, it may seem romantic, but it has depth and meaning that can be applied in various circumstances.
“You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” by Stevie Wonder
Lyrics You’ll Love: “You are the sunshine of my life / That’s why I’ll always be around / You are the apple of my eye / Forever you’ll stay in my heart.”
If you’re not interested in sappy, emotional ballads for your dance with your parents, this is an up-tempo song with a solid beat for dancing.
For most parents, their children are the sunshine, or the shining light and focus, of their lives. Share that sentiment during your dance with your mom or dad.
“You Raise Me Up,” by Josh Groban
Lyrics You’ll Love: “You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains / You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas / I am strong when I am on your shoulders / You raise me up to more than I can be.”
Josh Groban’s powerful, dramatic ballad would make for a sensational parent dance song at your reception.
It describes how through times of struggle and heartache, we depend on the people who love us most to elevate us to new heights.
“You’ve Got a Friend,” by James Taylor
Lyrics You’ll Love: “When you’re down and troubled / And you need some lovin’ care / And nothin’, nothin’ is goin’ right / Close your eyes and think of me / And soon I will be there.”
If you are one of those lucky few who view their mom or dad as their best friend and confidant, this James Taylor hit is a sweet and symbolic choice for your dance together.
The song talks about how no matter what happens or how hard life can get, you will always have a friend by your side who can help you through.
“In Case You Didn’t Know,” by Brett Young
Lyrics You’ll Love: “Even though / I don’t tell you all the time / You had my heart a long, long time ago / In case you didn’t know.”
Country music fans should consider this song for their parents’ dance!
It talks about how life would be empty without the love of the other person. It does have a more traditional love song vibe about it, however, many sweet lyrics can easily apply to the relationship between a parent and child.
“That’s the Way of the World,” by Earth, Wind & Fire
Lyrics You’ll Love: “If you look way down in your heart and soul / Don’t hesitate ’cause the world seems cold / Stay young at heart, ’cause you’re never, never old.”
Earth, Wind & Fire is known for its funky disco tunes that get people up and dancing. However, this song is a softer, gentler tune that touches on the fact the world isn’t always kind and that it is crucial to stay young at heart for as long as you can.
There are parts of this song that sound rather melancholy, but overall, the song is heartfelt and emotional. Play it for your father-daughter or mother-son dance; you are guaranteed to have plenty of misty eyes in the audience.
“What You Won’t Do For Love,” by Bobby Caldwell
Lyrics You’ll Love: “But then I only want the best, it’s true / I can’t believe the things I do for you.”
Any parent knows that when it comes to their children, there isn’t anything they wouldn’t do to ensure their happiness.
Bobby Caldwell’s sweet ballad talks about this very idea making it a perfect fit for the father and bride or the mother and groom.
“What’s Going On,” by Marvin Gaye
Lyrics You’ll Love: “For only love can conquer hate / You know we’ve got to find a way / To bring some lovin’ here today.”
Although this is a political song that talks about police brutality and violence in America in the late 60s, the sentiment of the lyrics applies to a parent-child relationship. After all, the main theme is loving one another instead of fighting. It’s a unique pick, but it will certainly be a memorable one!
“Sweet Child O’ Mine,” by Guns N’ Roses
Lyrics You’ll Love: “She’s got a smile it seems to me/Reminds me of childhood memories/Where everything/Was as fresh as the bright blue sky/Now and then when I see her face/She takes me away to that special place”
For the family who loves a bit of rock, this Guns N’ Roses hit is the perfect choice for you! Upbeat and classic, this song will keep the atmosphere on the dance floor electric!
“Because You Loved Me,” by Céline Dion
Lyrics You’ll Love: “You were my strength when I was weak/You were my voice when I couldn’t speak/You were my eyes when I couldn’t see/You saw the best there was in me/Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
An emotional Celine Dion anthem, this is the song to let your mom or dad know how grateful you are to them for everything that has got you to this special moment.
“Let’s Stay Together,” by Al Green
Lyrics You’ll Love: “Loving you forever / Is what I need / Let me be the one you come running to / I’ll never be untrue.”
Written by Al Green in 1972, this song talks about how important unconditional love is. The song has been played in various popular movies like Pulp Fiction and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and is often played at weddings.
Parents, grandparents, and other established couples at your reception will connect to the song’s lyrics and special meaning.
“Thank You,” by 33Miles
Lyrics You’ll Love: “What if I looked at my life in a different way/ Took a little more time to stop and pray/I know it will change all the moments in between/ So here I go/ Thank You for everything/ Thank You for loving me”
This track by Christian band 33Miles has a cheerful beat with heartfelt lyrics about gratitude and appreciation; we think it would make a great father-daughter dance song!
“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You),” by Marvin Gaye
Lyrics You’ll Love: “I needed the shelter of someone’s arms / And there you were / I needed someone to understand my ups and downs / And there you were / With sweet love and devotion / Deeply touching my emotion.”
Marvin Gaye’s silky smooth voice and Motown vibes shine in this popular love song.
It peaked on the January 1965 Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 6 and hit number 3 on the R&B Singles Chart as well. It is a light and upbeat song that describes how sweet and wonderful life is when someone loves you.