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Song choices for special dances

Wedding tradtionalists know there will be a number of required dances at the reception to keep them on their toes. From spotlight dances to special requests, the night is sure to be filled with memorable moments on the dance floor.

While it may be tempting to leave musical selections entirely up to a band or disc jockey, couples should choose the songs they dance to during specialized dances.

A bride's dance with her father and a groom's dance with his mother are special moments during a wedding reception that can evoke strong emotions and a few tears from family and friends. Part of what makes these moments so memorable are the songs themselves. Choosing the right songs can be difficult, but there are ways to make the decision-making process go more smoothly.

Start out by making a list of the songs that you like and believe convey feelings that you want to share with others. Ask your father or mother to make a similar list. These lists can be compared and then a common element may become apparent. Many brides and grooms will happily defer the choice to their parents, which can give parents a role in the wedding planning and make them feel like they have had an important hand in the festivities -- rather than just signing a check or showing up for the fun.

When considering songs, select among songs that have a special meaning or represent the bond between parent and child. There may be a song from your youth that you enjoy or one that you sang to a parent at a school performance that is particularly memorable. Consider songs that are a favorite of your parent. Songs that seem to transcend time often work best for these spotlight dances, rather than something that is too trendy.

When choosing a song, it helps to consider a song that has some sort of back beat. This can make it easier for novice dancers to follow along and still move gracefully. Do not feel the song has to be extremely slow. If your dancing partner and you are confident on the dance floor, there are many different songs that can be fitting, from country to soft rock to jazz.

Timing of the song is also important. Father-daughter and mother-son dances are not the times for lengthy songs. While these certainly may be good choices for when the DJ needs to take a bathroom break, their length could leave you on the dance floor too long and bore your guests as a result. Keep spotlight songs short and to the point. After all, the goal is to have guests up dancing and enjoying themselves.

If you and your parent are not the sentimental types, then by all means select a song that's less traditional. Rock to heavy metal or show your culture with a song that calls to mind your heritage.

In some cases the spotlight dance can be even more poignant when a parent is no longer living and is attending the wedding in spirit only. You may opt to have a few special words said with a particular song that reflects a parent's personality. Otherwise, you can dance with another person in your mother or father's stead.