The first dance is a personal moment for the bride and groom and often a special song is chosen which holds meaning for the happy couple. However - if your favorite song can't be played by a ceilidh band, or if you're struggling to come up with first dance song ideas that you both like - then it can be tough to make a decision.
Over the years providing wedding entertainment for hundreds of couples we've come across a few songs which have either worked really well, or proved particularly popular, and so to help you on your way here is my top 10 selection of first dance ideas for a ceilidh or folk band:
Slow Dances For Romantic Moments
Feels Like Home (Chantal Kreviazuk)
A slow, sincere song with beautiful lyrics, all about finding the right person, and feeling that you’ve ‘come home’ at last. It also featured in the film ‘My Sister’s Keeper’. There’s a more pared-down version too, by Edwina Hayes.
Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison)
Good old Van Morrison. He might not be the best-tempered man on the music circuit, but he certainly knows how to woo in words. Who could resist melting when they're told; ‘you fill my heart with gladness, take away my sadness, ease my worries that's what you do.
Wish I Had Someone To Love Me (Dubliners)
A dear old Irish song, sung delightfully by Barney McKenna from the Dubliners. It’s a great tune to waltz to, or simply to lean and sway upon each other if you've had too much drink. There won’t be a dry eye in the house.
Fields Of Gold (Sting)
Not strictly folk, but we’ve slipped it in here for the beautiful melody, and the fact it’s so well known, with potential for stunning harmonies with the right band.
Falling Slowly – (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova)
This has become a classic, from the film Once. Written by Glen Hansard of The Commitments fame; ‘Take this sinking boat and point it home, we’ve still got time……. Falling slowly, eyes that know me, and I can’t go back.’ Over 3.5 million hits on You Tube – it’s a winner!
My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose (Robbie Burns)
Famous Scottish poet/writer Robbie Burns penned this classic, which was later set to music. Eddi Reader (of Fairground Attraction) does a lovely version. Very much of the ‘old school’ but incredibly romantic, penned by an acknowledged genius.
Uptempo Ideas To Open Up The Dance Floor
Marie’s Wedding (Various artistes)
A traditional tune with Scottish origins, this can be performed as a musical piece, or sung. Lovely up-tempo with a jig feel, ‘step we gaily on we go, heel to heel and toe to toe; round and round and off we go; off to Marie's wedding.” Perfect for a high-energy start to the night.
Fairytale Of New York (The Pogues)
A modern classic. Don't worry about the time of year – there's lots of poetic license where this song is concerned. You can be sure of audience participation in this one, even if they don't know all the words everyone will be joining in on the 'you're a bum you're a punk" bit at the very least.
One Last Drink (Enter The Haggis)
Strangely enough, this is about a dying man. But he’s having such a good time at his own wake, he puts off dying until the next day. The actual sentiment is lost in the feel of the song – (nobody really gets the story) – it’s just the Reggae/Celtic feel that dominates. Great words, ‘I’ve had a life that’s full, fire up that fiddle boy and give me one last drink, the world is mine tonight….’ Can’t argue with that can you?!
Galway Girl (Steve Earle)
Great song – made famous from the film PS I love you. Contemporary Celtic sound and feel that everyone can dance along to. ‘Her hair was black and her eyes were blue…’ great for most Irish brides.
Just be sure when you’ve made your choice to give your wedding band plenty of notice as if they don't already have the tune in their repertoire, they’ll need time to learn it and do it justice. The first dance is such an important part of the wedding that they’ll want it to be absolutely perfect for you.
For further Celtic inspiration check out the following artistes: The Chieftains; Loreena McKennit; The Clancy Brothers; Tommy Makem, The Irish Tenors; Celtic Woman; Sharon Shannon; Christy Moore; Mary Black; Flogging Molly; The Dropkick Murphys….
Written by Ruthe Graham from Celtica - An exciting, fun and flexible trio performing Celtic, pop, rock, trad and Irish music with a bit of Ceilidh thrown in for good measure!
Click here for find out more details about what a Ceilidh band is and what they do.