Even in 2016, formal dancing still reeks of gender divides (even Dancing with the Stars has yet to feature two partners of the same sex), but modern, feminist brides should feel absolutely free to dance with the woman who raised them instead of their father or next male of kin as tradition usually dictates. There’s absolutely no reason why a bride can’t dance with her mom for the parental wedding reception dance instead (or split a song so both parents can take a turn). So here are eight song suggestions to inspire the moment you cut a rug with mom.
Here’s how I decided on these eight: the song can’t be insanely popular for other traditional wedding dances (e.g. mother-son dance) – sorry Van Morrison, they have to bring something unique to the dance floor and its theme of love could be interpreted platonically. I also tried to pick out songs sung by women to keep with the pro-women theme too. The song had to be danceable (i.e. wasn’t shoot-yourself-too-slow or awkwardly fast) and wasn’t horribly cheesy (like some of the boy band and country songs about mamas were just too much or too sad). I also wanted to pick out songs that would required more than the typical back and forth dancing of a middle school student, maybe a dance lesson or two for mom and the bride as a nice bonding opportunity and could be choreographed to something truly memorable.
1. I’ll Be There by Jackson 5: Sure the bride is forming her own new family, but a mother’s love is always constant, making this song a great fit for the occasion. It’s also a little slower and softer making it a better slow dance. Mariah Carey also covered this song, if you’d prefer to stick with a woman-powered ballad.
2. Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys: This is my wild card suggestion but I think a great mother-daughter anthem to celebrate two strong, independent women coming together, whose strength should not be underestimated. Imagine the powerful choreographed dancing that could be done – I’m thinking a modern dance number/waltz!
3. In My Daughter’s Eyes by Martina McBride: Alright, I snuck in one tearjerker dance, but how more feminist bride can you get with the lyrics, “In my daughter’s eyes, everyone is equal”? This one is for sure a dance floor tearjerker that speaks powerfully to a mother-daughter bond.
4. You’re My Best Friend by Queen: Here’s something a little more light hearted and perky to create a fun choreographed dance for two gals who want to celebrate being each others best friend in a fun way.
5. My Mother’s Eyes by Ella Fitzgerald: Yet another song that hits it on the nose, but this one needs a contemporary and more upbeat tempo version to make it the perfect dance song so hopefully you can find a good cover of it or hired a band to work some magic with it.
6. I’m Every Woman by Chaka Khan or Whitney Houston: This is a great song to celebrate being a strong woman; it’s also a great song to dance a swing to. I also like it because while the mother-daughter dance may (unfortunately) be a little unorthodox still at traditional weddings, the song title and lyrics imply that this dance and its duel women dancers are as everyday and common as any other duo. Sweet.
7. XO by Beyonce: It’s almost too much of a hip contemporary song, but the lyrics could be applied to a mom’s undying dedication to her daughter and always being there making it a beautifully symbolic song to dance a sweeping waltz to.
8. When You’re Smiling by Billie Holiday: Why not kick it old school – like way old school with this happy little ditty? It could be an adorable swing dance for mom and the bride.