If we’re being honest, wedding ceremonies and receptions highlight and celebrate many more relationships than just the one being cemented that day. Sure, the Big One is the relationship between the bride and groom, but from the outset of most ceremonies, another relationship is pretty front-and-center, and the touchstone for the moment that usually starts the ‘worrying about running mascara’ phase of the day for most of the attendees:
The bride and her father.
From the moment the congregation rises and turns to watch the bride being escorted down the aisle by her father, to the ‘giving away’ of the bride to her new husband, it’s not unusual to see a lot of folks being bowled over by the emotion – especially when Dad has a manly tear or two to wipe away, himself.
The walk down the aisle at the ceremony, however, even if it’s a symbolic separation between father and daughter as the daughter becomes a wife, isn’t the last father/daughter moment that guests are waiting for.
A lot of people are still waiting for the traditional father/daughter dance at the reception.
While the tradition is sometimes foregone, it’s observed enough that there are a few songs that come to mind immediately when it’s time to start thinking about scoring that sweet moment. “Butterfly Kisses,” by Bob Carlisle has been, since its release in 1997, pretty much the go-to song for father/daughter wedding dances, and, while it’s a perfectly nice song, it’s definitely not the be-all, end-all of songs that detail the relationship between a daughter and her father.
So, how about some other options?
“Daddy’s Little Girl,” Michael Buble
“You’re the treasure I cherish, so sparkling and bright / You were touched by the Holy and beautiful light / Like angels that sing, a heavenly thing / And you’re daddy’s little girl.”
There are several versions of this song, including a 1967 release by Al Martino, but Buble’s smooth croon makes this simple, heartfelt song the kind of tune that’ll be sure to make guests smile as Dad wraps his arms around his little girl.
“I Loved Her First,” Heartland
“I was enough for her not long ago / I was her number one, she told me so / And she still means the world to me / Just so you know.”
Even brides who aren’t necessarily fans of country music might find a winner in this beautiful 2006 song by Heartland. It might also be a good choice if you want to mix things up and have a creative segue from the father/daughter dance into the first bridal dance.
“My Wish,” Rascal Flatts
“And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to / I hope you know somebody loves you / and wants the same things too / Yeah, this, is my wish.”
Yes, it’s another entry from the country world, but this 2006 song from Rascal Flatts pretty much encapsulates the picture perfectly, doesn’t it?
“Daughter,” Loudon Wainwright III
“That’s my daughter in the water / every time she fell I caught her / Every time she fell.”
This really wasn’t intended to be a country-heavy list, but here we are. Accompanied (and brightened) by plucky banjos and soulful guitar work, Wainwright’s “Daughter” is a folksy, charming contemplation of the wonders a father observes in his little girl.
“When You Need Me,” Bruce Springsteen
“If you miss me, I’ll be there / To brush the sunlight from your hair / I’ll be there to guide you when trouble walks beside you / If you need me I’ll be there.”
If there’s a life moment to mark, The Boss has a song for it. This 1998 addition to the Springsteen pantheon might not be the most widely-recognized of the catalog at all, let alone the first thought when it comes to picking a song for a father/daughter dance, but this acoustic piece hits all the right notes.
There are millions of songs out there, and somewhere in those many options is your song.
But don’t forget that the best choice for a song for your father-daughter dance is one that means something to you. If there’s a song that you’ve always enjoyed listening to with your father, or a song that makes you think of him at the sound of the first few notes, then by all means – make that your song, even if it’s totally unconventional.
(Your guests might even thank you for thinking outside the box.)
The most important thing is that it makes you and Dad happy as you share that special moment.