It’s becoming more and more popular for couples to choose to have a last dance at their wedding. In the past it was perhaps more traditional to do the ‘wedding arches’ while you and your beloved leave the wedding reception. These days however, rather than being the first to leave, I find in more cases than not the bride and groom are the last left standing!

So, whilst the wedding arches are always good fun and a nice way to see you off into your new life together, if you are not going to be leaving early it might be nice to think about a last dance instead.

There isn’t really a set format for the last dance, so it’s up to you and your other half how you’d like the evening to end. Also, have a think about your wedding guests and how you think they would like to finish the festivities. Here are some options…

A Formal Last Dance

I’ve seen some beautiful last dances where the happy couple slow dance in the centre of the dance floor whilst their guests gather around them, joining hands to form a circle, which gives it a more formal feel. This is a lovely idea and creates a real sense of unity from all the guests, and I think it finishes off the evening with real sentiment.

Bride and Groom Slow Dance

I’ve suggested some songs below, but this is a good moment to have any song that is personal to you, and I don’t think you should worry about what anyone else thinks of the song. Just choose something lovely that means something to you both.

  • Time of My Life – Dirty Dancing. This has to be my absolute favourite choice for this moment!
  • Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton. It’s a classic, and the words are perfect.
  • I Knew You Were Waiting For Me – George Michael/Aretha Franklin – If you’re looking for a more up-tempo number, this one is great fun and again, lyrically great.

Some couples prefer to become part of the group rather than dancing in the middle, and that’s also lovely to see everyone coming together. For this, how about one of these songs?…

  • That’s what Friends Are For – Dionne Warwick. A lovely moment to embrace your friends and family after such an emotional day.
  • Hey Jude – The Beatles. A classic for getting everyone singing along.

A Smoochy, Romantic End

A lot of wedding bands tend to focus on getting everyone up and dancing to the up-tempo numbers, so you might find that (aside from your first dance) this may be the only time for a romantic slow dance for you and your guests. I love nothing more than seeing an audience full of happy slow dancers at the end of the night.

Dancing at Wedding

Song-wise, obviously you should choose a song that you love and is personal to you, but remember that if you want everyone dancing with you it should be something your guests will know.

Here are a few that work really well…

  • I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing – Aerosmith. Hugely powerful song to finish on.
  • Heaven (Candlelight Mix) – DJ Sammy. Just gorgeous.
  • Empire State of Mind – Alicia Keys. Ok, it’s not lyrically that romantic, but it’s a lovely song. Also, the great thing about this is that any singletons or youngsters that don’t want to slow dance can just sing along at the top of their voices instead.
  • Let’s Stay Together – Al Green. What a great song, and always gets everyone up on the dance floor.
  • Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Andy Williams. This is great because it’s a romantic verse, and then during the chorus everyone usually jumps around like crazy people. Another that’s great fun!

A High Impact Last Dance

I find that often couples want to keep things up-tempo and end their wedding on a high. This will definitely leave your audience wanting more, which is a great way to finish. Some bands or DJs will play a good three or four slow songs at the end of the night, but it does create a huge impact if they do the opposite and build their set to a huge finale.

Wedding Guests Singing

I’d say that if you’re going for a high-impact finish, try to choose the most epic song you can think of! You want to get EVERYONE up on the dance floor (if they’re not already) and get them to let their hair down. Something a bit rockier usually works well, or a huge sing along number…

  • Living on a Prayer – Bon Jovi. You can’t go wrong with this one. Whether you like the song or not, everyone seems to love it at the end of the night.
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns ‘n’ Roses. Ditto the above, and you can’t beat a bit of air guitar to get everyone going!
  • Don’t Stop Believing –  Journey. I have to admit this is my personal favourite to finish on. It’s so atmospheric and a really passionate song to finish on.
  • Sex On Fire –  Kings of Leon. Brilliant for getting everyone jumping around and singing!

To sum up, whatever you decide to do, having a last dance at your wedding will make the last moment of your evening hugely memorable. It’s therefore worth giving a bit of thought (and discussion with your DJ or Band) to what might work well. If you’re hiring a band they will have suggestions for songs they know will work well at this point, and similarly with a DJ. You could even ask your friends and family what they’d like to hear.

Guest post by Sera Golding of MIB Music

Images from…

Bride and Groom: Liga Stevenson Photography

Dancing in Front of Band and Wedding Guests Singing: Martin Dabek Photography