Brit Beat

Jul 13, 2011 at 5:00 am
Brit Beat

"Confetti and classics"

Wedding season is now in full swing, and marching up the aisle with the bride and groom — alongside the sugary sweetness of the lovey-dovey stuff — comes the fear of choosing a wet whisper of an entrance tune or, worse, a totally naff first dance. Yes, if music be the food of love, then the pressure is most definitely on. All of us married folk have been there: trawling anxiously through our CD collections until the early hours of the morning, faux-waltzing around the lounge and trying to find something original yet non-threatening (no one likes a preacher in a sulk).

My husband and I were released from much of the music anxiety couples are faced with because, being a pair of secular humanists, we didn’t have to follow any rules or select somber dirges fitting to a pious occasion in a religious building. Instead, we chose a journey in sound. Our parents walked up the aisle to The Beatles’ “In My Life,” the bridesmaids shimmied up to the front to Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend,” while I was cheered on to meet my man with my favorite song of all time (please accept my apology), A-ha’s “Take On Me,” whipping the guests into raucous giggles. In my excitement at such musical freedom, I forgot that the last line of the chorus is, “I’ll be gone in a day or two,” which is perhaps not the romantic commitment a groom wants to hear from his betrothed as he takes her hand. What can I say? My love for Scandinavian ’80s-synth pop overwhelmed me.

Our first dance was to a wonderfully random tune, by English folk singer Newton Faulkner, called “I Need Something,” a track from an album we fell in love to. (Check it out on YouTube if you don’t know him yet.) It was an awkward choice, though — a bit too slow and quirky — and a few seconds in, I pleaded with my new husband to “do something quick!” He saved the day by performing a robot dance on his own in the center of the circle while I clapped.

This was, however, not as awkward as the wedding I attended in New York City last year, where the couple (and by couple, I mean the groom) chose to sashay in front of family and friends to “White Lines (Don’t Do It),” completing his performance with a perfectly executed splits.

I went to a wedding a decade back where the bride chose a spectacularly inappropriate song, “The Lady in Red,” by Chris de Burgh. Wrong on many levels, but mostly reprehensible because she was wearing, as brides tend to, a huge white meringue. As if rebelling against the color discrimination of her record choice, she swung her arm skywards, as soon as the music stopped, to release the bouquet onto a thirsty gaggle of single women, and her ivory gown split from top to (her) bottom, revealing a pair of frayed, turquoise panties, her something old and blue. Sacre bleu, indeed.

No need to worry too much, though. Such missteps are rare. According to, common sense does prevail, and America’s top 10 classic first dance songs are faultlessly romantic … with a small grating of cheese:

• “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole
• “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra
• “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
• “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley
• “At Last” by Etta James
• “It Had to Be You” by Harry Connick Jr.
• “A Kiss Is Just a Kiss” by Michael Feinstein
• “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers
• “A Whole New World” by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle
• “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie

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