Choosing a song for your father/daughter dance is one of the harder wedding music decisions to make. There are hundreds of thousands of songs out there about romantic love, but not nearly as many about parent and child love.
So to help you out, we put together a list of 20 of our favorite father/daughter dance songs that may help lead you in the right direction.
- My Girl - The Temptations
Pretty much all fathers have probably sung this song to their little girls at some point in time. So it’s a perfect choice for a cheerful father/daughter dance.
I've got sunshine on a cloudy day
When it's cold outside I've got the month of May
Well I guess you'd say
What can make me feel this way?
- What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
The soothing gravel of Louis Armstrong’s voice is such a classic. This slow but cheerful song is all about seeing the good in everything. Bride Cory chose this song for her dance with her father at her Harry Potter wedding.
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Photo by Dani Leigh Photography
- God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
Although it wasn’t written with families in mind, this sweet song speaks to the unending love that parents have for their children. The song was unusual even in the 1960s when it was released, and it’s sure to delight your guests.
I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it.
God only knows what I’d be without you.
- Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder wrote this song about his newborn daughter Aisha in 1975. At over 6-minutes long, the song was never supposed to be released as a single. But it was so popular that a shorter version was released, and it hit number 23 on the Adult Contemporary charts in 1977!
Isn't she lovely?
Isn't she wonderful?
Isn't she precious?
Less than one minute old
- Forever Now by Michael Bublé
This is a newer song, so your guests will be less likely to have heard it at other weddings. Bride Kelly chose this song for her father/daughter dance at her Potomac View Terrace wedding.
...I'm always gonna lift you up
And I'm never gonna let you down
No matter what you do
I'm forever proud of you
- Here for You by Neil Young
Neil Young dedicated this song to his daughter. It’s a great choice about letting your kids grow up and experiencing the world on their own.
Yes I miss you
But I never want to hold you down
You might say I'm here for you
Photo by By Brea Photography
- Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel) by Billy Joel
Billy Joel is more famous for his upbeat piano, but he also wrote this lovely song for his daughter, Alexa Ray Joel. Although the song is geared more towards a very young child, we’ll always be babies in the eyes of our parents!
Goodnight my angel, now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me
- My Wish by Rascal Flatts
“My Wish” is about all the hopes and plans that parents have for their children. But it’s not about getting straight A’s or becoming a doctor. It’s about being there to support your kids, wherever life takes them. Good message for a wedding day.
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
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.
Although this song was written by Carole King, both she and James Taylor released their versions in 1971, and they’re both classics. It was actually inspired by one of James Taylor’s lyrics from “Fire and Rain” — “I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.”
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend
- It’s for My Dad by Nancy Sinatra
Most father/daughter dance songs are approached from the dad’s perspective. But there’s no reason it can’t be from the daughter’s perspective instead. This song was written as a tribute to Nancy’s father, Frank Sinatra.
I want you to know that when It's said and done
He's one of the best friends I ever had... I ever had
This song's not for you folks
It's for my dad
- In My Life (I Love You More) by The Beatles
No matter all the friends and lovers and wonderful things I’ve met in my life, I love you more than any of them. That’s a pretty solid message for a father to give to his daughter on her wedding day. Bride Hannah chose this song for her father/daughter dance at Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay.
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'll love you more
Photo by By Brea Photography
- Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
This song is not about fathers and daughters specifically...in fact, a friend of Marley’s said it was actually about real live birds that he used to see near his home. But it’s a sweet, comforting song, and it is sure to make everyone smile.
Rise up this mornin'
Smiled with the risin' sun
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Sayin', this is my message to you
Singin' don't worry about a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be alright
- You Are the Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder
Although this song was written about Stevie Wonder’s wife at the time Syreeta Wright, it works just as well for a father/daughter dance.
You are the sunshine of my life
That's why I'll always stay around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you'll stay in my heart
- Sweet Pea by Amos Lee
This is a sweet, simple song that’s not too slow (great for dancing) and not too long (so poor dad doesn’t get worn out.) With terms of endearment like “sweet pea” and “apple of my eye,” it sounds appropriate for a father and daughter, even if that wasn’t why it was written.
Apple of my eye
Don't know when and I don't know why
You're the only reason I keep on coming home
- I Will Walk With You by John Fogerty
With a bluegrass feel, this song has a medium tempo that will let the father and daughter do more than just sway back and forth. It’s written with a little girl in mind, and dad will probably cry his eyes out.
I will walk with you
Even when the sun don't shine
The rain it may come down
And Fate may be unkind
If you get a scrape
I'll brush away the tears
Come what may I will walk with you
- Wildflowers by Tom Petty
This pretty song is all about letting someone you love go to explore the world and live their life. It’s a lovely send off to a daughter from her father.
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
You belong with your love on your arm
You belong somewhere you feel free
- When You Need Me by Bruce Springsteen
Here’s another song about being there for someone you love when they need you. It’s a nice message for a father/daughter dance — parents don’t stop being there for their kids just because they got married!
When you need me call my name
'Cause without you my life just wouldn't be the same
If you want me come sunny skies or rain
When you need me just call my name
Photo by Dani Leigh Photography
- Ain’t That Love by Ray Charles
Here’s another upbeat option for the father and daughter that want to show off their moves on the dance floor. It’s a bluesy R&B song that will be fun for the dancers and the audience.
If you ever
Ever need a friend
I'll be with you
Yes, until the end
Now, ain't that love
(ain't that love)
- You’re My Best Friend by Queen
This is such a lovely cheerful song. Although it was written by John Deacon for his wife, it feels more about finding someone you’re comfortable with that makes you feel happy to come home. So it works great for a father/daughter dance.
Oh, you're the best friend that I ever had
I've been with you such a long time
You're my sunshine and I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
- I’ll Be there by The Jackson 5
Another song about support for a loved one, no matter what! Even though Michael Jackson was only 11 when he recorded this song, it’s timeless and works for all ages. And since the singer is so young, it keeps the “romantic” lyrics from sounding inappropriate in a father/daughter dance.
Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, well that's all I'm after
Whenever you need me, I'll be there
Still not sure what to pick? Think outside the box! If there’s a song you both love, but the lyrics aren’t quite right for the occasion, is there an instrumental version you could use instead? Check out Vitamin String Quartet for dozens of string arrangements of pop songs.
Plus, if there’s a song that means a lot to you and your dad, don’t worry too much about what the song actually says. It’s a special moment for the two of you. If you and dad love to sing your hearts out to Toto’s Africa, go for it.
Header Photo by Dani Leigh Photography
Tuesday, May 12, 2020