11 modern waltzes for your first dance

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Photo by Honeysuckle Photography.
Photo by Honeysuckle Photography.

The first dance is something I'm particularly excited about, but here is the issue — the groom only knows how to waltz in 3/4 time.

So here's the deal… I'd like to know your favorite modern songs in 3/4 time — i.e., Waltzin' Songs.

My groom and I would like something sweet and peppy, and not too “classic.” Got any ideas?


This question is near and dear to my heart, because that guy I married and I wanted to do a waltz for our first dance. Only… we couldn't agree on which modern waltz song to use!


So here are a few of our favorite modern waltz choices:

Your turn! What are your favorite modern waltzes?

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Comments on 11 modern waltzes for your first dance

    • Iris actually swaps between 6/8 and 8/8 timing. You could still waltz to it, I think, but a waltz wouldn’t work for the 8/8 parts.
      I agree that it’s an awesome song, though!

  1. My Dad and I danced to Rainbow connection at my wedding, I recommend it because the 3/4 is really obvious!

  2. david bryan – netherworld waltz

    i’ve always dreamt to use this song for the wedding because it holds so much meaning for me and is just so breathtakingly beautiful

  3. We danced to “Can’t help falling in love” by Elvis Presley played in the Blue Hawaii movie. It was fitting because I grew up in Hawaii. I wanted “Eternity” by Dreams Come True but he won with Elvis’s song.

  4. I was so excited to see this topic! My fiancé and I big into ballroom dance and the waltz is our favorite. We were considering Kiss From A Rose– Seal, I Won’t Give Up– Jason Mraz, or Michael Buble’s version of Can’t Help Falling In Love. There are a lot of other great options if you search on ballroom dance forums (if you search mostly wedding sites, they often call all slow dances waltz regardless of the time signature).

  5. My partner knows how to swing and hustle (the partner dance not the line dance). I’m shootin’ for a hustle to Lady Gaga’s Disco Stick, but for some reason he’s not biting…

  6. I’m torn for what to do for our “first” dance. We’re getting weddinged on our 4th anniversary, but we met country dancing. Part of me wants a nice country song. Part of me wants “our” song (Calling You by Blue October). Part of me wants to lead a line dance to Cupid Shuffle, because that’s the very first thing we danced to. I have to admit the last option is pulling me the strongest. We’ll start it by ourselves, then cue friends and family to join us. Which also serves the purpose of getting everyone out on the dance floor at least once.

    • You could do “your” song, or a country song, then break out into the cupid shuffle.

    • We did this as our first dance! We didn’t choreograph purposefully; we both learned to waltz before we met (him for a musical, me for ballroom lessons) so we danced normally and went into a waltz at the chorus. It went well but it was hard to do in flip flops! (my shoes broke lol).

  7. Thank you for bringing my attention to “Here we go” – I really like that song, and I think I’m now totally going to try to do a cover just for fun.

  8. INXS as a waltz. ***INXS AS A WALTZ***

    I’m sorry. My mind was just blown.

    I’m following this post because this is phenomenal.

  9. I’m Sticking With You by The Velvet Underground. It does switch to 4/4 about halfway through, but if you’re looking for something a little lighter, it’s got that perfect cutesy/cheesy/adorable quality.

  10. By the Way They Dance, by Jump, Little Children. (I don’t know how to embed links. I lose!)

  11. Ooh!

    Iron and Wine- Flightless Bird, American Mouth
    Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane over the Sea
    She & Him- Christmas Waltz (bonus non-wedding waltz that I looove..unless Christmas wedding!)

  12. I have no idea if this is 3/4 but Rufus Wainwright’s song from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack is a beautiful waltz.

      • That is a lovely song, but in case it matters to you, be warned that the lyrics are about a poet falling in love with a feverish sex worker whom he never sees again.

  13. It’s a little up-tempo, but SYTYCD did a really pretty waltz to Vanessa Carlton’s Ordinary Day a few years ago. In fact, searching youtube for SYTYCD waltz comes up with a bunch of interesting options.

  14. Ok, I just wanted to point out that “You and Me” by Lifehouse is our song!!! AND WE’RE DOING A WALTZ TO IT!!!

    Just a little fyi, we’re doing to Viennese Waltz to it because it’s a REALLY fast tempo and that makes it a little easier to keep up with the beat. That probably holds true for a lot of modern waltz songs.

    We actually took up lessons for our first dance! It’s been amazingly fun and, if you have the budget, I completely recommend it. It’s something fun, that the FH and I like to do together. Plus, the fact that it’s a little exercise in my week doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

  15. Even though it’s technically in 6/8, “Getaway” by Train feels very much like a 3/4 piece. (It also appears to be in A Major, but I can’t confirm that since I don’t know the note it ends on. I just happen to love that key.) The same goes for “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues. (By the way, go for the radio edit with the. It’s shorter, and I think the extended version does change meter after the song most people will know.)

  16. It should be noted that even though I thoroughly enjoy Norah Jones, “Come Away with Me” is in 4/4 time.

    It’s not modern, but “So This is Love” from Disney’s Cinderella is a waltz. A song that I really, really like and I’ve never heard from a wedding. An instrumental version would be lovely.

    • I’m sorry to have to correct you, it’s an annoying habit of mine that I have to correct everything, especially grammar for some reason. But “Come away with me” is actually in 3/4 😉

  17. Nothing Else Matters – Metallica
    ^ Always imagined the looks we’d get for waltzing to it… 😉

    Waltzes aren’t my thing, but here’s a tip for anyone who’s looking for one:
    If you can say “rashers and sausages” in time with the beat (or be boring and count 1-2-3-4-5-6) it’s suitably waltzy!

    “Our song” is probably Ralph Wiggum by the Bloodhound Gang. Yeahhhh…….

    • 🙂 I’m actually highly considering Nothing Else Matters, but for my Father/Daughter dance.

    • I used the S&M version in my first wedding – highly recommend! Our friends even started singing along! I think we had a friend play with the tempo to speed it up a little.

    • Our wedding is offbeat-lite because my poor groom is quite traditional and we have completely different tastes in music, but we did agree on Nothing Else Matters performed on cellos by Apocalyptica. It’s the perfect kind of surreptitiously offbeat that certain people will recognize, but mostly people will just think “what a beautiful instrumental piece”.

  18. I’m guessing that Ms. Finley meant to suggest ‘Turn Me On’ by Norah Jones, which strikes me as a wonderful rough-equivalent (in terms of mood) to the more common choice of ‘At Last’.

    When I saw this question, the first artist that came to mind was CAKE. They make a point of including a few songs in 3/4 (or 6/8) time on most of their albums, and the lead singer likes to lecture live audiences about 3/4 time’s waning popularity. Granted, their songs tend to be less than romantic (even their love songs), but here are a few worth mentioning:

    ‘Where Would I Be?’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v3OVDXZDf4
    ‘Mexico’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZItvCgsMMgI
    ‘Bound Away’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUSlBuEynQ4
    ‘Teenage Pregnancy’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAklPRS0HOg
    ‘Sad Songs and Waltzes’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK-DcAcQ-7Y

    And then there is the impossibly lovely ‘ Valse d’Amelie’ from the eponymous film – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD3WwM6l1J0

    More great suggestions here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-497789.html

  19. Cradle of Filth – Nymphetamine Girl. We’re putting that on our wedding play list for sure!

  20. I know that its older… almost 60 years old… but “Once Upon a Dream” from Sleeping Beauty is a VERY obvious waltz so if you want one that’s super easy to follow… its what one of my friends taught me to waltz to.

    • The cover of this by Lana Del Ray for Maleficent is dark, haunting, and downright lovely.

  21. Our first dance was swing (Nat King Cole’s “Let There be Love), but my father-daughter dance was a waltz (Glenn Yarbrough’s “More I Cannot Wish You”).

    Our couples’ dance was a waltz version of Bruce Springsteen’s “If I Should Fall Behind.” We chose it because it’s my parents’ joint favorite – my mom is a huge Springsteen fan, my dad loves folk, and the version of the song blends a bit of both. I stumbled across it a few years ago and sent it to my dad; sometimes when my mom is really stressed, he’ll ask her to dance to this song with him. And to add to the romance, this version’s performed by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa (his wife). I get goosebumps when I listen to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrfIGgZeFXk

  22. In Denmark we have a traditional wedding dance called “Brudevalsen” (the bridal waltz). The melody is composed by Niels W. Gade. The guests form a circle around the bride and groom and clap to the music while the couple is dancing. All the guests move closer and closer to the couple, until there’s no more room for them to dance. Usually when the song is over, the men lift up the groom, take off his shoes and cut the tip off his socks, to prevent him from “making his hoses green” which is an expression for courting another woman. The women tear up the brides veil and the more it gets torn the more happiness she will have in her marriage. Every wedding guest may take home a little piece of the veil for good luck. Here’s a video that shows the wedding waltz of the crown prince and princess of Denmark (not that i’m particularly royal, but this is the best version of the melody I could find).

    Although the bridal waltz is a pretty big part of a danish wedding, I’ve always thought that Coldplay’s “Sparks” would be wonderful to dance to, so I might go with that for my wedding, when my boyfriend someday decides to propose.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmtpYAkYiX4&w=420&h=315%5D

    • Just a correction here: Adele´s cover of “Lovesong” is originally by The Cure, not Coldplay 🙂

  23. Our first dance was to Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet.” The time signatures alternate back and forth so it was a lot of fun changing up dance styles between waltz and foxtrot, or you could do swing in the 4/4 parts.

  24. I am a big fan of the Kentish Town Waltz by Imelda May – it’s a viennese waltz though, too fast to do a slow one.

    Here she is performing it with her husband, the album version is a bit faster still.

  25. We love teaching wedding couples to dance for their first dance, but you can ask any dance instructor and they will tell you that the worst thing a couple can do is show up with a fast waltz (over 110 bpm or so) and expect to master the dance by their wedding. We know people who have been taking ballroom lessons for 3-4 years who won’t even try it! Viennese Waltz is an advanced dance and will usually stress out the couple much more than they deserve during this fun and exciting time. So, please pare your list to only waltzes that will lead to a good outcome for everyone.

  26. All these songs are beautiful and have beautiful messages in their words, but pale in comparison to their spanish counterparts. Please listen to Tiempo de Vals – by Chayanne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3ObHjm1fAE and let me know what you think about the melody and the feeling behind the song.

  27. My FH and I met through our mutual love of social dance, and waltz is our favorite, so our first dance is most definitely going to be a waltz.

    Only The Music by Heather Alexander is going to be our first dance, since it’s both a gorgeous waltz and a dancers’ love song. And here are a few more of our favorite waltzes that will probably be on our wedding music list:
    Take It To The Limit by the Eagles
    Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore by The High Kings
    So She Dances by Josh Groban
    A Thousand Years (instrumental cover by The Piano Guys)

  28. As for modern waltz (6/8) the GREATEST song that would be an appropriate and memorable and tear-jerking masterpiece Edwin McCain “I’ll Be” takes the CAKE

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