When you first start planning your wedding, you don’t really think that the music is going to be one of the hardest parts to nail down. But it is! Especially the parent dances, and that includes the mother son dance songs.
I remember when we were planning our wedding I knew exactly what song I wanted for the dance with my dad. I chose Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” and truth be told I had actually picked out that song back when I was a little girl and saw it in a movie.
My husband, on the other hand, wasn’t really sure what to choose. So the search for the perfect mother son dance song began. We both went through a list a hundred songs trying to find the best one.
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While my husband ended up picking “Lucky Man” by The Verve (which I love) there are so many great options that made our list.
I’ve included the top ones, below, as well as some new choices for ALL musical tastes and genres. Hopefully there is one that is perfect for your wedding.
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And by the way! Don’t think that you have to go with anything traditional at your wedding. Feeling really adventurous? You could do what this mother/son duo did at the Myers Park High School talent show. They choreographed a hilarious “History of Dance” with top songs from every decade.
No matter which song you choose, just remember that the parent dances are a sweet opportunity to thank your mother or father for everything they do. I kind of wish there was an equivalent for the bride’s mother or groom’s father as well.
When Should the Mother Son Dance Happen?
Before we get into the mother son dance songs, there are a few key things to know first.
Timing: Traditionally, the mother son dance takes place after the father daughter dance. So the timing would go:
- First Dance with couple
- Father Daughter Dance
- Mother Son Dance
How Long Should the Mother Son Dance song be?
When picking a song for your first dance or parent dances, keep it around 3 minutes or less. Your band or DJ can shorten the song. If you need to split the dance (more on that below), try to pick a song that’s 5 minutes long.
Sharing Your Mother Son Dance
Sharing your dance is a great way to honor those relatives or friends who are important in your life. My husband split his dance with his mom and stepmom. He started the dance with his mom, and then halfway through the song he danced with his stepmom. Because the song was close to 5 minutes, the transition was smooth and the timing was perfect.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re dancing to a traditional song, you don’t necessarily need to choreograph it, but it never hurts. Dance lessons are also a great idea if you’re not comfortable on the dance floor. We took them and even though our dance wasn’t perfect, it made us MUCH more comfortable. It gave my husband and I a few moves to fall back on. Otherwise we would have just swayed back and forth!
How to Pick the Right Song
One of the best ways to pick a mother son dance song is to look for one that has meaning. Whether you choose one from mom’s favorite artist or that you grew up listening to, ideally you’ll have a connection to it. If you can’t find one that fits the bill, don’t worry! Start your search by using lists like this. Once you find one you like, you’ll want to Google the lyrics to see if they resonate with you. After that, talk to your mom and share the idea with her. If she’s on board, you have a winner!
The Best Mother Son Dance Songs
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best mother son dance songs you can use at your own wedding. Whether you’re looking for a slow or upbeat song, modern or traditional, there’s a pick here for every style.
“What a Wonderful World,” by Louis Armstrong
This song always makes me weepy, which means it will pull the heartstring of every wedding guest you have. Try not to cry when you hear the lyrics, “I hear babies cry/I watch them grow/They’ll learn much more/Than I’ll never know/And I think to myself/What a wonderful world.”
“Unforgettable,” by Nat King Cole
You could easily use this version or the virtual duet his daughter, Natalie, did in the 90’s. Lyrics mom will love: “Unforgettable/In every way/And forever more/That’s how you’ll stay.”
“The Way You Look Tonight,” by Frank Sinatra
I’m pretty sure every mom loves Frank Sinatra. Plus, it’s a sweet way to tell your mom she looks beautiful, with lyrics like: “Some day, when I’m awfully low/When the world is cold/I will feel a glow just thinking of you/And the way you look tonight.”
“You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” Stevie Wonder
I think this song is a perfect mother son dance song because it’s a bit more upbeat than others on this, which makes it fun to dance to. Lyrics mom will love: “You are the sunshine of my life/That’s why I’ll always stay around/You are the apple of my eye/Forever you’ll stay in my heart.”
We had to include at least one Elton John song on this list! I think it’s one of his sweetest song, and has a great tempo for slow dancing. Lyrics mom will love: “I hope you don’t mind/That I put down in words/How wonderful life is while you’re in the world.”
“God Only Knows,” by The Beach Boys
At 2:53 minutes long, this classic is the perfect length for a mother son dance song. Lyrics mom will love: “But long as there are stars above you/You never need to doubt it/I’ll make you so sure about it/God only knows what I’d be without you.”
This is one of those tearjerker songs that will make every guest hold their loved ones a little closer. Lyrics mom will love: “Though I know I’ll never lose affection/For people and things that went before/I know I’ll often stop and think about them/In my life, I’ll love you more.”
“Have I Told You Lately,” by Van Morrison
While my #1 Van Morrison wedding song is “Into the Mystic,” this song is probably a better choice for a mother son dance. Lyrics mom will love: “For the morning sun and all it’s glory/Greets the day with hope and comfort too/You fill my life with laughter and somehow you make it better/Ease my troubles, that’s what you do”
“Beautiful Boy ,” by John Lennon
Even though this song is written from a father’s perspective, the sweet lyrics can definitely work for moms, too: “Before you cross the street/Take my hand/Life is what happens to you/While you’re busy making other plans.”
“Here Comes the Sun,” by Nina Simone
The lyrics of this song are pretty neutral (Here comes the sun, little darlin’/
I say/It’s all right, little darlin’) which makes it a great choice if you’re looking for a classic tune that is easy to dance to.
This song is all about changing and growing older, and being strong enough to face the challenges along the way…something mom will appreciate! Lyrics mom will love: “Well, I’ve been ‘fraid of changin’/’Cause I’ve built my life around you/But time makes you bolder/Even children get older/And I’m gettin’ older, too.”
“High Tide or Low Tide,” by Bob Marley & The Wailers
I haven’t heard this song at a lot of weddings, yet it seems perfect for a first dance or parent song. Lyrics mom will love: “In high seas or in low seas/I’m gonna be your friend/He said, “I’m gonna be your friend”/And, baby, high tide or in low tide/I’ll be by your side.”
“I Hope You Dance,” by Lee Ann Womack
Your mom will completely relate to these lyrics, which are so sweet and uplifting: “Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens/Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance/And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance/I hope you dance.”
“God Gave Me You,” by Blake Shelton
One of Shelton’s biggest hits might have been for his ex, but it’s still a sweet sentiment! Lyrics mom will love: “Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs/God gave me you for the days of doubt/For when I think I’ve lost my way/There are no words here left to say, it’s true/God gave me you, gave me you.”
The lyrics to this song are EVERYTHING: “My wish, for you, is that this life/becomes all that you want it to/Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small/You never need to carry more than you can hold/And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to/I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too.”
Even though I will always love Faith Hill’s voice, this song would sound so beautiful from a wedding band! Lyrics mom will love: “Well, you showed me how it feels/To feel the sky within my reach/And I always will remember all/The strength you gave to me/Your love made me make it through/Oh, I owe so much to you/You’re right there for me.”
“A Coat of Many Colors,” by Dolly Parton
Any excuse to play Dolly Parton is a good one! This would play especially well at a rustic, outdoor wedding. Lyrics mom will love: “My coat of many colors/That my momma made for me/Made only from rags/But I wore it so proudly/Although we had no money/I was rich as I could be/In my coat of many colors/My momma made for me.”
“Sweet Child Of Mine,” by Luna
This cover of the Guns N’ Roses classic is probably the most indie selection on this list. It’s slower and more danceable than the original, which is why we also love it for your first dance song. Lyrics mom will love: “She’s got a smile that it seems to me/Reminds me of childhood memories/Where everything was as fresh/As the bright blue sky/Now and then when I see her face/She takes me away to that special place.”
My husband use this for his mom dance, and I still think it’s a great choice nearly 10 years later. Lyrics mom will love: “But how many corners do I have to turn?/How many times do I have to learn/All the love I have is in my mind?/Well, I’m a lucky man.”
“Stand by Me,” by Florence & The Machine
This is an ethereal cover of a classic song. It would also make a gorgeous first dance song. Lyrics mom will love: “If the sky that we look upon/Should tumble and fall/Or the mountain should crumble to the sea/I won’t cry, I won’t cry/No, I won’t shed a tear/Just as long as you stand, stand by me.”
Coldplay is one of the biggest bands in the world now, but when this song first came out from the relatively unknown band, it was my favorite. Lyrics mom will love: “Look at the stars/Look how they shine for you/And everything you do/Yeah, they were all yellow.”
“Over the Rainbow,” by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
This song is crazy popular, but for a good reason. His interpretation of the lyrics are a mix of Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World,” also on this list. Both are perfect options for a mother son dance.
“93 Million Miles,” Jason Mraz
This sweet song is very cinematic, but you might want to think about choreographing a dance to it. Lyrics mom will love: “Oh my beautiful mother/She told me/Son in life you’re gonna go far/If you do it right/You’ll love where you are/Just know that wherever you go/You can always come home.”
Sure, everybody plays this band’s song, “Marry Me,” at their wedding. But we think this is an even better choice for your wedding. Lead singer Pat Monahan says he wrote the song after his mom passed away and it came to him in a dream. “It’s a story about my mother coming back after like swimming through the planets and finding her way through the universe, and coming back to tell me that heaven was overrated and [to] love this life, you know? That’s what that was about,” he told Buzzfeed.
“Sweet Creature,” by Harry Styles
Would it surprise you that your mom probably knows *and loves* Harry Styles? Even if she doesn’t, this song might be enough to win her over. Lyrics mom will love: “Two hearts in one home/It’s hard when we argue/We’re both stubborn/I know, but oh/Sweet creature, sweet creature/Wherever I go, you bring me home.”
“Two of Us,” by Louis Tomlinson
This song is Tomlinson’s tribute to his mother, who passed away in 2016. The lyrics are a beautiful tribute: “I could feel your blood run through me/You’re written in my DNA/Looking back in every mirror/I know you’ll be waiting, I’ll see you again.”
“A Song for Mama,” Boyz II Men
“You were there for me to love and care for me/When skies were gray/Whenever I was down/You were always there to comfort meAnd no one else can be/What you have been to me you will always be/You will always be the girl/In my life for all times.”
Need we say more?! This song was MADE for weddings.
Looking for a dramatic mother son dance song? Bill Withers is your man. Lyrics mom will love: “Lean on me, when you’re not strong/And I’ll be your friend/I’ll help you carry on/For it won’t be long/’Til I’m gonna need/Somebody to lean on.”
2pac always had the most amazing lyrics, and this song is no exception. “Dear mama/Don’t you know I love you?/Dear mama/Place no one above you/Oh mama, I appreciate you/Although my shadow’s gone/I will never leave you.”
This is one of the most underrated wedding songs. We had our wedding DJ play this during dinner (which had a classic rock vibe), but it’s also one of the best mother son dance songs. It’s over 5 minutes long, so have your DJ or band trim it. (Or leave it full length if you’re splitting the song with a stepparent.) Lyrics mom will love: “And be a simple kind of man/Oh, be something you love and understand/Baby, be a simple kind of man.”
“The Wish,” by Bruce Springsteen
OMG this song makes me cry! Bruce Springsteen pays homage to all moms with lyrics like, “Well I found a girl of my own now, ma, and I popped the question on your birthday/She stood waiting on the front porch while you were telling me to get out there and say what it was that I had to say.”
“Teach Your Children,” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
The lyrics might be a little sad (“And you, of tender years/Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by/And so please help them with your youth/They seek the truth before they can die.”) but this classic rock song will have guests swaying in their seats.
“Love is Everywhere,” by Wilco
Mom might not know Wilco. But if you’re a fan you can convince her that this song is a great option. Lyrics mom will love: “Right now, right now/Love is everywhere.
A little bit country, a little bit rock. Tom Petty is one of the best, and if your mom loves him as much as we do this song could be the perfect choice. Lyrics mom will love: “You belong among the wildflowers/You belong somewhere close to me/Far away from your trouble and worries/You belong somewhere you feel free.”