10 Classic Father-daughter Dance Songs

father and his daugther, the bride
Honor Dad with a special dance on your wedding day.

As you and your groom plan your big day, take the time to honor another special man in your life -- your father.

The father-daughter dance is an important tradition in many weddings, and it offers you a chance to show Dad just how much he's meant to you over the years. Choose a song that fits your relationship and that matches the tone you're trying to set for your wedding. Think carefully about whether you want a sentimental ballad or simply a song that makes you laugh. These TLC favorites let you show the world how much Dad means to you.


10: Sunrise, Sunset - Fiddler on the Roof

Topol in "Fiddler on the Roof"
Topol played the most unforgettable Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof."
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Anyone who's seen "Fiddler on the Roof" will remember this classic tune from the wedding scene. The song's lyrics express the parents' disbelief at how quickly their daughter has grown as they reflect on her wedding day. There's a sense of pride and bittersweet emotion that's universal to all parents, particularly those preparing to give their children away.

This old-fashioned favorite is popular in the Jewish culture, but the lyrics are versatile enough for any type of wedding. It's appropriate for a father-daughter or a mother-son dance, so your groom can get in on the action if you want to share the spotlight. The slow tempo makes it easy to dance to, even for the uncoordinated. You can take a traditional waltz approach or simply sway to the beat.


9: Forever Young - Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart singing on stage
Rod Stewart's "Forever Young" is a popular choice for the father-daughter dance.
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"Forever Young" shows the softer side of rocker Rod Stewart, making it the perfect compromise for brides who want to avoid the sometimes sappy songs associated with this dance. The lyrics are heartfelt, but not overly sentimental, and the upbeat tempo means you can skip the shuffling and really show off your dancing skills.

Best of all, this song works for almost every type of father-daughter relationship, and it even allows you to celebrate other father figures who've played an important role in your life. The feel-good lyrics are all about wishing someone well and supporting their choices, regardless of their relationship to you. It's appropriate for dads and daughters who may not have the closest relationship but still want to take part in this ceremonial dance. And of course, if the song represents a special memory or moment between you and Dad, it's also a beautiful way to share your bond.


8: Through the Years - Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers is quite the crooner.
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Kenny Rogers' classic '80s love song remains a popular wedding favorite for the traditional father-daughter dance. It's a soft ballad with just enough of a beat to work with any type of dance style -- even a simple sway. Rogers' voice carries a touch of country twang, which allows country music fans to pay homage to the genre without breaking out the cowboy boots. The song's lyrics celebrate the many shared father-daughter experiences over the years, but they aren't so specific that they can't apply to many different types of relationships. Despite its relative simplicity compared to other popular wedding tunes, this song remains a tearjerker due to soaring melodies and bittersweet lyrics. Don't be surprised to see Dad getting misty-eyed, and make sure to provide plenty of tissues for your guests.


7: Daughter - Loudon Wainwright III

Loudon Wainwright
Folksy singer Loudon Wainwright has a huge hit with "Daughter."
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For the woman who still has Dad wrapped around her little finger, this song is perfect for the father-daughter dance. While it's fairly new, the song has a vintage feel reminiscent of Wainwright's '70s folk-rock hits. "Daughter" offers a quirky, upbeat alternative to the classic ballad, with a mid-tempo beat that's easy to dance to. The lyrics describe the wonder, humor and joy of fatherhood, combined with Dad's knowledge of just how vulnerable he is to the whims of his little girl. Because of the truly heartfelt feeling behind the song, it's best for brides who share a solid history with Dad. It's unique but appropriate for any type of wedding.


6: The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra
Anything by Old Blue Eyes is a crowd-pleaser.
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Skip the sappy ballads and saccharine lyrics in favor of classic cool Frank Sinatra. The lighthearted tone of this song reflects any type of father-daughter relationship. "The Way You Look Tonight" has a timeless quality that can match the tone of a formal wedding or a modern, casual ceremony.

The faster tempo of this song allows you to show off your dancing skills, whether that's in the ballroom or swing skill set. This song is a particularly good choice for brides with older fathers, or those looking to avoid emotional moments while still maintaining a sense of tradition.


5: Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong
For a short and sweet number, you can't go wrong with Louis Armstrong!
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Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World" is quite possibly the most versatile song you could choose for the father-daughter wedding dance. This '60s classic has a timeless quality that makes it just as appropriate at a formal ceremony as it is for a casual backyard wedding. It's also short and sweet, clocking in around 2 minutes. If you or your Dad suffer from stage fright or a lack or rhythm, this song will let you share a special dance without lingering out there in the spotlight for too long. It's slow-paced enough that all you need to do is sway to the music, and your guests will have no idea of your true dancing skills (or lack thereof).

The lyrics are touching and joyful, but you won't find the soaring, syrupy melodies of other popular wedding songs. Best of all, the song is appropriate for any type of father-daughter relationship, from the true Daddy's girl to dads and daughters who are just getting to know one another again (or for the first time).


4: Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder sang "Isn't She Lovely" about his own daughter.
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In this '70s pop favorite, Stevie Wonder sings straight from the heart about his joy and love for his new daughter. The words are simple and secular; universal lyrics like "isn't she lovely?" will apply to every bride on the day when she's most beautiful. Its upbeat tempo allows you to have some fun with your dance steps, but the song isn't so fast-paced that it will challenge those with only basic dancing skills. Your guests are likely to recognize the song, and even those who don't know it will stay engaged throughout the dance listening to the fun, classic melody. No matter how close you and your father are, this song is a solid choice that will allow you to share a smile with Dad on your big day.


3: Unforgettable - Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole
The father-daughter duet that Natalie sings with Nat is truly unforgettable.
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Through the wonder of technology, Natalie Cole was able to transform her legendary father's signature song into a true testament of father-daughter love. The lyrics and delivery reveal the affection she feels for her father, just as your dance will reveal the love between you and yours. Despite the simple lyrics, the song is filled with emotion and works best for brides who truly are close to Dad.

Though this duet version of the song is fairly new, it still has an old-world feel, making it perfect for both modern and traditional weddings. Best of all, its slow pace is perfect for non-dancers. Simply away to the music as you forget about your lack of rhythm and enjoy this moment with your father.


2: My Girl - The Temptations

The Temptations
The Temptations have got to be on your Motown playlist.
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This Motown favorite from The Temptations features simple, sweet lyrics that reflect father-daughter affection without going overboard. The up-tempo beat means you can have some fun with your dance steps, while the well-known lyrics will have everyone singing along. Skip this song if either you or Dad lack rhythm, as this is not a stand-and-sway song.

Unlike many other father-daughter dance songs, "My Girl" won't leave you or your guests crying. It's the perfect choice for modern or casual weddings and sets a solidly secular tone. Because the lyrics aren't overly fraught with emotion, it's also a good choice for dads and daughters who may not have the closest relationship.


1: Butterfly Kisses - Bob Carlisle

This bittersweet ballad from contemporary Christian artist Bob Carlisle is custom-made for the father-daughter wedding dance. The lyrics describe the beauty, imperfection and inevitable changes that come with fatherhood, from a little girl's bedtime prayers to walking her down the aisle. Its gentle melody is perfect for slow dancing or simply swaying to the beat, so no fancy dance skills are required.

Before you head out on the dance floor however, you may want to break out the tissues. This song is super-sentimental, and it's likely to leave you and many of your guests in tears. Because of the heavy emotions involved in this song, it should only be chosen by brides who share a strong, heartfelt relationship with Dad. Its obvious Christian influences mean that it's the most appropriate for traditional religious ceremonies.