One wedding step that is constantly left to a last-minute decision is the reception music, especially the chosen songs for the traditional dances that take place. One particular dance that can be difficult to choose a song for is the father-daughter dance. Depending on the type of relationship you have with your dad, some of the traditional choices could be considered cheesy or out of character. If you're on the hunt for a sweet and sentimental song to dance with your father to play at your wedding reception, use this list of favorites to help you narrow down your decision.
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This song from Ray Charles is a traditional father-daughter dance song because of its sweet and timeless lyrics.
Favorite Lyric: If you ever (If you ever) ever need a friend. I'll be with you (be with you). Yes, until the end.
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This sweet and sentimental song takes the listener through a father's viewpoint of his daughter's life throughout the years. It's a touching and emotional song that is ever popular for weddings, leaving guests without a dry eye.
Favorite Lyric: There's two things I know for sure: She was sent here from heaven and she's daddy's little girl. As I drop to my knees by her bed at night, she talks to Jesus and I close my eyes, and I thank God for all of the joy in my life.
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"Child of Mine" is a great song for a father-daughter dance because it gives a sweet take on what parents experience while watching their child grow and offers advice for living a happy life.
Favorite Lyric: You don't need directions, you know which way to go. And I don't want to hold you back I just want to watch you grow. You're the one who taught me you don't have to look behind. Oh yes sweet darling, so glad you are a child of mine.
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"Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman is a lovely sentimental song for the dads who are softies. It tells the story of a dad who dances with his daughter throughout her life from the age of a little girl to a bride on her wedding day, reminding the listener that life is short and you should always choose to dance.
Favorite Lyric: So I will dance with Cinderella, while she is here in my arms, 'cause I know something the prince never knew. Oh, I will dance with Cinderella, I don't wanna miss even one song, 'cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight and she'll be gone.Continue to 5 of 40 below.
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"Daughters" by John Mayer has turned into quite the popular father-daughter dance song. It reminds us all that a father makes a big impact and impression on his daughter and their relationship can shape all others that she has in the future. That's pretty deep stuff.
Favorite Lyric: Fathers be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do. Girls become lovers who turn into mothers. So mothers be good to your daughters too...
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"Father and Daughter" by Paul Simon spells out the father-daughter relationship in a perfect way: No one can love a girl like her father. This fact is made clear within the lyrics.
Favorite Lyric: I'm gonna watch you shine. Gonna watch you grow. Gonna paint a sign. So you always know. As long as one and one is two. Ooh ooh. There could never be a father. Love his daughter more than I love you.
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"Forever Young" serves as a prayer or series of wishes from a father to his children. It is a simple and beautiful sentiment for a father and daughter to share a dance on her wedding day.
Favorite Lyric: May God bless and keep you always. May your wishes all come true. May you always do for others. And let others do for you.
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"Here Comes the Sun" is a song of hope and joy, in finding the good in every new day. It's a perfect message for a father to share with his daughter through song during their dance at her wedding.
Favorite Lyric: Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting. Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear. Here comes the sun do, do, do. Here comes the sun. And I say it's all right.Continue to 9 of 40 below.
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"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" by James Taylor offers up a sweet message for a father to share with his daughter: that his life has been made sweeter since she came into it.
Favorite Lyric: But you brighten up for me all of my days, with a love so sweet in so many ways. I wanna stop and thank you, baby, I just wanna stop and thank you baby, oh yes
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"I Will Walk With You" by John Fogerty expresses the love and companionship a father offers to his daughter sweetly and simply.
Favorite Lyric: I will walk with you every step of the way. Love you all my life. Love you every day. No matter where you wander. No matter what you do. Come what may I will walk with you. I will walk with you. And treasure every smile. No matter what the fashion. You'll always be my style. My pretty little princess. An angel dressed in blue. Come what may I will walk with you.
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"If It Wasn't For Your Love" by Heather Headley is an expression of a daughter's feelings of love and gratitude for her father in such a beautiful way. It's a nice twist on the typical male-narrated father-daughter songs.
Favorite Lyric: Would I be standing here. After all these years. Among the stars above? Maybe not. If it wasn't for your love.
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"Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder is a popular father-daughter dance song due to its sweetness about a father when he first meets his baby girl.
Favorite Lyric: Isn't she pretty? Truly the angel's best. Boy, I'm so happy. We have been Heaven-blessed.Continue to 13 of 40 below.
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"My Girl" is a classic by The Temptations for a father-daughter dance. The lyrics are tame enough that they could just as easily be used for romantic love or fatherly type love, so no embarrassment here.
Favorite Lyric: I've got sunshine on a cloudy day with my girl.
I've even got the month of May with my girl.
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The lyrics from the Rascal Flatts hit "My Wish" are perfect for a father's wishes for his daughter as she begins her new life in marriage.
Favorite Lyric: I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow, and each road leads you where you wanna go, and if you're faced with a choice, and you have to choose, I hope you choose the one that means the most to you. And if one door opens to another door closed, I hope you keep on walkin' till you find the window, If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
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"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" first found fame in the movie classic The Wizard of Oz, and this version by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole is legendary in its own right.
Favorite Lyric: Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, and the dreams that you dream of, once in a lullaby.
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This classic song, "The Way You Look Tonight," by Frank Sinatra is an excellent choice for a father-daughter dance as it strikes the perfect notes of love and admiration.
Favorite Lyric: Lovely, don't you ever change. Keep that breathless charm. Won't you please arrange it? 'Cause I love you, just the way you look tonight.Continue to 17 of 40 below.
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"To Sir With Love" by Lulu is a song from the daughter's point of view rather than the father's, so if you've got big love for your pops, then consider this sweet tune.
Favorite Lyric: But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume. It isn't easy but I'll try.
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Another absolute uplifting classic, "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong is a consistent favorite for wedding dances, including the father-daughter dance.
Favorite Lyric: 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.
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"You Are the Sunshine of My Life" is a heartfelt song by Stevie Wonder and a perfect short choice for the father-daughter dance. Aren't these lyrics just the sweetest way for a dad to express his love for his daughter on her wedding day?
Favorite Lyric: You are the sunshine of my life. That's why I'll always be around. You are the apple of my eye. Forever you'll stay in my heart.
The father-daughter dance can last up to four minutes, but two to three minutes may be best. If the song you choose feels too long, it's perfectly acceptable to play a shortened version.
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"You've Got a Friend," a sweet song by James Taylor, is another classic choice for this important moment that cements the next phase of life—the bond of friendship between father and daughter.
Favorite Lyric: Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call, and I'll be there, yes, I will. You've got a friend.Continue to 21 of 40 below.
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A bride who wants to communicate a message to touch her dad's heart will choose "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler. It's a daughter's way to tell her dad that she appreciated the love and support he gave her as a child.
Favorite Lyric: Did you ever know that you're my hero, and everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle. For you are the wind beneath my wings.
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"My Little Girl" by Tim McGraw is a slow and heartfelt song about a father's fierce love for his little girl.
Favorite Lyric: You're beautiful baby, from the outside in. Chase your dreams but always know, the road that will lead you home again. Go on, take on this old world but to me, you know you'll always be my little girl.
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"I Loved Her First" by Heartland is a popular choice made by dads who choose the father-daughter dance. It's a beautifully written song for dads who can’t believe their little girl has grown up so fast.
Favorite Lyric: From the first breath she breathed. When she first smiled at me. I knew the love of a father runs deep. And I prayed that she'd find you someday. But it's still hard to give her away. I loved her first.
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"When My Little Girl is Smiling" by The Drifters is a song from the father's perspective about how much joy and love his daughter brings him.
Favorite Lyric: When my little girl is smiling, there's nothing more I can say. I see those big bright eyes, and then I realize, that girl is gonna get her way.Continue to 25 of 40 below.
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"Have I Told You Lately" by Rod Stewart is a love ballad, originally sung by Van Morrison and written as a prayer. The song has a slow and mellow tempo perfect for the father-daughter dance.
Favorite Lyric: Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there's no one else above you? Fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness. Ease my troubles, that's what you do.
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"Sweet Pea" by Amos Lee has a folksy, vintage feel to the song that's about the love a father has for a young daughter.
Favorite Lyric: Sweet pea. Apple of my eye. Don't know when and I don't know why. You're the only reason I keep on coming home.
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"Unforgettable" is a slow and elegant classic duet sung by father-daughter crooners Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole.
Favorite Lyric: Unforgettable in every way, and forever more. That's how you'll stay. That's why, darling, it's incredible, that someone so unforgettable, thinks that I am unforgettable, too.
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"Daughter" by Loudon Wainwright III is a heartfelt country ballad that tenderly expresses the humbling experience of parenthood from a man's perspective.
Favorite Lyric: Everything I say, she takes to heart. Everything she takes, she takes apart. That's my daughter in the water. Every time she fell I caught her, every time she fell.Continue to 29 of 40 below.
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"Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison is a classic hit fit for a bit of a fast dance between dad and daughter, especially if the blushing bride has brown eyes.
Favorite Lyric: So hard to find my way. Now that I'm all on my own. I saw you just the other day. My, how you have grown. Cast my memory back there, Lord.
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"I Turn to You" by Christina Aguilera is often chosen for the wedding reception dance because it's a love song from a daughter to her father.
Favorite Lyric: For a shield from the storm, for a friend, for a love to keep me safe and warm, I turn to you. For the strength to be strong, for the will to carry on. For everything you do, for everything that's true, I turn to you.
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"Lean On Me" by Bill Withers is a classic song that talks about the strong bond that will continue between father and daughter even after the wedding.
Favorite Lyric: Lean on me, when you're not strong, and I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on. For it won't be long, 'til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on.
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"There Goes My Life" by Kenny Chesney has many meanings behind the title, but it was written as the songwriter became a dad to a little girl that quickly becomes his whole world. It's a beautiful and slow ballad for a father-daughter dance.
Favorite Lyric: Sleep tight, blue eyes and bouncing curls. He smiles. There goes my life. There goes my future my everything. I love you, daddy goodnight There goes my life.Continue to 33 of 40 below.
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"When You Need Me" by Bruce Springsteen is a boss of a slow song with sweet lyrics that speak directly to a dear loved one.
Favorite Lyric: 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.
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"I'll Always Be Your Baby" by Natalie Grant is a slow tune and a heartwarming tribute to a father from a daughter on her wedding day.
Favorite Lyric: I'll always be your baby, no matter how the years fly by. The way you loved me, made me who I am in this world. I'm a woman now, not a little girl. Wherever this life takes me, I'll always be your baby.
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"Daddy's Little Girl" is a classic song about all the wonderful things a daughter means to a dad. Michael Bublé's smooth-as-silk voice gives this slow song a modern twist.
Favorite Lyric: You're the end of the rainbow, the pot of gold. You're daddy's little girl to have and hold. A precious gem is what you are.
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It's tough to keep this popular and classic song by Joe Crocker off a father-daughter dance card list. These simple, clear words are a beautiful love song to a daughter.
Favorite Lyric: You are so beautiful to me. You are so beautiful to me. Can't you see you're everything I hoped for. You're everything I need. You are so beautiful to me.Continue to 37 of 40 below.
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"Fathers and Daughters (Never Say Goodbye)" by Michael Bolton is a tearjerker of a slow ballad with emotional lyrics about the never-ending bond between father and daughter.
Favorite Lyric: When times are hard I know you'll be strong. I'll be there in you heart when you'll carry on. Like moonlight on the water, and sunlight in the sky. Fathers and daughters never say goodbye.
Many of these songs, including "Fathers and Daughters," are also perfect for brides paying tributes to their fathers who may not be physically present at the wedding.
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For Beyoncé and R&B fans, this song with its real-life lyrics is perfect for a dad and daughter dance. It's a grown-up daughter's love song and tribute to her father.
Favorite Lyric: Because you loved me I overcome, yeah. And I'm so proud of what you've become, yeah. You've given me such security. No matter what mistakes I make you're there for me. You cure my disappointments and you heal my pain. You understood my biz and you protected me. I treasure every irreplaceable memory...
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"Forever" by The Beach Boys is a slow song about a dad's wish to make his daughter happy forever.
Favorite Lyric: Let the love I have for you live in your heart, and beat forever (together my love). Forever. Forever. I've been so happy loving you.
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"Never Grow Up" is a sweet, slow love song filled with memories from a dad to his daughter, sung beautifully by Taylor Swift.
Favorite Lyric: Your little hand's wrapped around my finger, and it's so quiet in the world tonight. Your little eyelids flutter 'cause you're dreamin', so I tuck you in, turn on your favorite night light. To you, everything's funny, you got nothing to regret. I'd give all I have, honey, if you could stay like that.