There are just SO many songs to choose from…  How are we supposed to know which one is the right one?

Do you find that you and your spouse-to-be are having this very concern while you’re trying to plan your reception?  Have the two of you sat and wondered just how you’re going to pull this off while keeping your guests from saying that the music at your event sucked?  Trust me when I say that you aren’t alone.  With very few exceptions, the couples that I have taken care of over the years have had little to no idea about the special moments included in a wedding celebration and the songs that may be most appropriate to serve as the soundtrack.  That’s where I come in.

This is the first in a series of blog posts (referred to as The Spotlight Dance Songs Series) focused on the music chosen for special events included in a wedding celebration.  Everyone knows that the music is a fairly important part of the festivities; guests may not always remember if the chicken that they had for dinner was a little dry or if the flowers serving as the centerpieces were possibly wilted – what EVERYONE tends to remember is if they enjoyed their time at these events, ESPECIALLY once the dancing began.

Today’s focus is on a particular moment that was VERY near and dear to me at my wedding: the Mother & Son Dance.  Around Mother’s Day last year, I suggested that any grooms getting married should take the initiative and surprise their moms (where it applies) with a song and dance during the reception.  As a self-professed Mama’s Boy, it was the one event that I personally HAD to have when I got married.  The vast majority of the grooms that I’ve worked with have left their spouses-to-be or their mothers to make that decision for them.  I personally think that it has much more impact if the groom takes that ball and runs with it without being prompted.  We’ll call it Scoring Brownie Points.

But I’m getting a little sidetracked.

Yeah, Steve, you are.  Can we get to the songs?

Bear with me.  I need to get your creative juices flowing a bit first when it comes to zeroing in on the song that’s best for YOUR situation.

With that in mind, I started this post with a question: How ARE we supposed to know which song is the right song?

The answer is really dependent on the groom and his relationship with his mother.  There are a number of things that he should consider as he contemplates what song would feel just right for that moment:

Is there a song that Mom sang to him frequently when he was growing up; a song that takes him back to his childhood whenever he hears it? Trust me when I say that, if this IS the case, it’s going to REALLY catch Mom when she hears it on his wedding night.
Is there a song that makes him immediately think of Mom whenever he hears it? Pretty similar to the point above, if there is, it’s going to be impactful for him. For extra Umph! for Mom, inform your DJ of the significance; (s)he can explain that significance while introducing this special dance.
Is there a song that Mom has specifically hinted (or outright suggested) that she’d like to dance with her son to on his wedding day? If she’s been vocal about it, this is pretty much a no-brainer.

Once their song is chosen, follow the K.I.S.S. rule: Keep It Simple, Son. Don’t overthink it, don’t put yourself into the position of constantly changing the song and stressing yourself out over it. This is for a moment that will take somewhere between two-and-a-half and five minutes of your wedding night. In an ideal situation, he’ll be able to completely surprise Mom with his selection on your wedding night, giving it the most impact. However, it’s okay to attempt to do some digging to be sure that it’s a song that Mom likes.

Now, I’ll give you my current list of the Top 5 Mother & Son Dance songs (keep in mind that they’re ranked primarily based on my personal preferences, rather than popularity and are subject to change as new songs are released):

5) Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd or Shinedown
The telling of the advice given by his mother has always held my attention.  Moms (the name I used for my mother) OFTEN gave me advice about making my way in the world; that’s always appealed to me about this song.  After witnessing a past client’s stepfather and uncle play this song live during a reception a couple of years ago, it’s held more of my attention.  Keep in mind that it’s a bit on the long side, though; you may want to consider having your DJ shorten it in some way.

4) You’re Gonna Be by Reba McEntire
I think that Ms. McEntire voices what most every mom thinks when it comes to their children.  While researching for this piece, I revisited the video.  Being the sentimental guy that I am, I wiped a couple of tears away, especially during the chorus.  I’ve witnessed the moms in the crowds at a few events wiping tears away, as well.

Mother and Son Dance

Photo Credit: Angela Divine Photography

3) Days Like This by Van Morrison
If you’re interested in something that may not leave you a blubbering mess while you’re dancing with Mom, this one may be a good one to go with.  A little more upbeat in tone and feel, this speaks to the advice that Moms give to their children.  If you and Mom used to dance when you were growing up, you can even turn back the clock a bit and do the same dance at your wedding.

2) Stand By Me by Ben E. King
This one is a classic; most people recognize it on the opening notes.  It’s not uncommon for people in the crowd to break out and sing along; can you imagine dancing with your Mom with most everyone joining you in singing the chorus (and how many of you would resist singing it yourselves)?

1) A Song For Mama by Boys II Men
Mama…  Mama, you know I love you…  As alluded to earlier, long before I met my wife and ever seriously considered the possibility of getting married, I KNEW two things: that I wanted Moms at my wedding and that I was going to dance with her.  I was fortunate enough for both of those events to come to pass at my wedding and it happened with unashamed tears shed on my part.  For me, this song was a perfect tribute to honor her and explain what she meant to me.  My eyes are sweating as I type these words; I usually warn any of my clients that there’s a very real possibility that the same will probably happen during THEIR moments.

Interested in seeing other songs that I’d suggest for a Mother & Son dance?  Check out my Spotifly Playlist.

For a more comprehensive list of songs that can be used for a Mother/Son dance, check out THIS LIST from My Wedding Songs.