By nature, father-daughter dance songs are a little bit sappy. But you don't have to choose a trite song that your guests have heard at every wedding. Here are dozens of non-cheesy father-daughter dance songs from every genre.
Folk and Indie Father-Daughter Dance Songs
Father and Daughter – Paul Simon
I almost included this song in the "classics that might be overplayed" section, but I think it's still fresh enough that your guests will enjoy it.
The lyrics make me cry a bit when I think about my dad.
Daughter – Loudon Wainwright III
You may already know this quirky sweet song from the "Knocked Up" soundtrack. I like it because it's not too fast, not too slow, and it honors all the things dad has taught you.
Gracie – Ben Folds
The sweetness of Ben Folds love songs make several of them work as father-daughter dance songs, but this one was written for his little girl.
Classic Rock and Modern Rock Father-Daughter Dance Songs
Sweet Child o' Mine – Sheryl Crow
You may get a few chuckles when people realize that this is a cover of the Guns n' Roses classic hit, but for rock and metal lovers, this is a great way of including GnR in your wedding without alienating the grandparents.
When You Need Me - Bruce Springsteen
This is a lovely way for a dad to say he'll always be there for his little girl.
Wildflowers - Tom Petty
The lyrics say both that "You belong where you feel free," but also, "You belong somewhere close to me."
Thank You – Led Zeppelin
The dads of today's brides are more likely to be Led Zeppelin fans than swing music fans.
Appeal to your dad's music taste with a little classic rock.
To Make You Feel My Love - Bob Dylan
If your dad would do anything to let you know how much he loves you, this is a good choice. For whatever reason, the Billy Joel cover is a more popular choice for weddings than the original. And recently the Adele cover has become popular for mother-son dances.
You're My Best Friend - Queen
Pop Father-Daughter Dance Songs
Daughters – John Mayer
Particularly good for daughters who haven't always had smooth relationships with their fathers, Daughters tells fathers to be good to their daughters, and mothers to be good to them too.
How You've Grown - 10,000 Maniacs
I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders
Brown-Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
This is an awesome and fun song to dance to, as well as a nostalgic look at childhood.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
If you were a rebellious kid, or you had a rocky relationship with your dad, check out this amusing '80's song. If it's too irreverent for you, you might choose Ben Gibbard's (Death Cab for Cutie) cover of it.
You Got It – Roy Orbison
I Turn to You - Christina Aguilera
Dancing on Daddy's Shoes - Leon Redbone
It's hard to say exactly what genre Redbone's music belongs to.
His interpretations of early 20th-century music cover rock, folk, jazz, and bluegrass. It's old fashioned while being just a teensy bit modern too.
R & B Father-Daughter Dance Songs
That's How Strong My Love Is – Otis Redding
Otis always makes me swoon, and this is a particularly great song for fathers and daughters.
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Sunshine of My Life – Stevie Wonder
Daddy – Beyonce
Ain't That Love - Ray Charles
This is not only a really fun song to dance to, but it repeatedly celebrates the love of a father and daughter.
Jazz Father-Daughter Dance Songs
Waltz for Debby – Johnny Hartman
Bill Evans wrote this Jazz piece for his niece, Debby, then Gene Lees added poignant lyrics. Though the song without vocals is beautiful, make sure you get an arrangement that includes them.
They Can't Take That Away From Me – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Another song that's written about a romantic love, yet whose lyrics work for a father-daughter dance.
Over the Rainbow – Ella Fitzgerald
I love Ella Fitzgerald's vocal version of this movie classic.
Country Father-Daughter Dance Songs
I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
This New Country song captures the best of a parent's advice to their child.
Through the Years – Kenny Rogers
Do I Make You Proud – Taylor Hicks
There'll You'll Be – Faith Hill
When you listen to the lyrics of this song you'll see it has a touching sentiment. It might be about a father who has passed away but that message is far from overt. The lines that repeat - "And everywhere I am there you'll be" and "You were right there for me" make it a good choice for a father-daughter dance.
I Loved Her First – Heartland
Country-western artists seem especially good at writing lyrics that are perfect for this moment in a wedding. This song expresses how hard it is to give his little girl away, while still acknowledging that he wanted her to find someone to love.
Walk With You - Edwin McCain
Though it's a little slow, the lyrics for this song are perfectly made for the father-daughter dance.
Classic Father-Daughter Dance Songs
These are tried and true songs for the Father-Daughter Dance that are a bit cliché, but are still well-loved.
Unforgettable – Nat King Cole & Natalie Cole
Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof – Louis Armstrong
My Girl – The Temptations
Butterfly Kisses – Bob Carlisle
The Way You Look Tonight – Tony Bennett
Isn't She Lovely – Stevie Wonder
What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
To Sir With Love - Lulu
"How do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume?"