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Indie & Alternative Wedding First Dance Songs

I’m currently working on a handful of blog posts about Alternative Weddings, so far we’ve covered alternative wedding readings, and alternative wedding photography. Tommorow I should have an interview with a humanist celebrant. Today is all about alternative first dance songs

We all know the standard wedding first dance songs. But what if you want something a bit indie or alternative for your wedding? Making a list like this makes sense to me, as being a bit of an alternative wedding photographer, I had several couples walking down the aisle to The Pixies Where is my mind? last year and several walking back up to the strains of Sigur Ros’s Hoppipola

I’m an alternative / indie junkie myself. I’m not claiming to know all the best tunes, but these are all ones that I think have something going for them. In fact, some may come off as bizarre and confrontational, but I know there’s couples out there who will share my sense of humour and pathos and love them.

I’m also going to be a bit off the beaten path. You won’t find Ho Hey (If you’re going to play the Lumineers, go for their cover of Talking Heads’ This Must Be The Place) , Taylor Swift or Video Games here (I’m really not sure that one’s about a healthy relationship). Not even Jose Gonzales Heartbeats (play the Knife version) Think of it as an alternative to the alternative with a couple of deep dives or choices that seem a bit odd until you really listen.

I will keep adding, and I’m always open to inspiration and suggestions so get in touch to let me know your ideas!

P.S. – I have a really immersive, alternative approach to wedding dancefloor photography. So if you want wedding dance photos that make you feel you were back in the thick of it please get in touch.

Bob Dylan – “I’ve Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You”

I’m a huge fan of Bob Dylan, but it still blows my mind that at an age when most artists have long since retired… Bob Dylan can write this. You’ve probably never heard it, but you will in a few years when someone else cherry picks it and makes it into a hit record. Remember you heard it here first.

Iron & Wine – “Such Great Heights”

I’ve always loved the Postal Service orginal but this one by Iron & Wine has a more romantic feel. Although if you want to get that dancefloor going, The Postal Service version is definately the way to go.

Bright Eyes – “First Day of My Life”

This one has been making my heart skip a beat for years. The line “I’d rather be working for a paycheck than waiting to win the lottery.” is such a realistic and perfect encapsulation of a relationship.

Elbow – The Everthere

You don’t see this one mentioned often, but it’s a beautiful When I’m 64 style ode to a life spent together from Elbow’s early days. And Guy Garvey has a voice that warms the soul.

“If I lose a sequin here and there
More salt than pepper in my hair
Can I rely on you when all the songs are through
To be for me the everthere?”

John Lennon – Oh My Love

Because you can’t beat a bit of Lennon. And this is such a lovely simple tune.

The Paper Kites – Bloom

Another lovely low key love song. I promise I’ll try to go a bit more upbeat on the next one!

Paramore – “The Only Exception”

Ok, we’re picking up a little more pace here (in parts at least!) “And up until now I had sworn to myself / That I’m content with loneliness / Because none of it was ever worth the risk / But you are the only exception”


Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place

I’m listing this version as I’m a huge Talking Heads & David Byrne fan, but there are also lots of great covers by this song by other artists (Lumineers, Kishi Bashi)

Angel Olsen – Chance

This has absolubtely broken me since the first time I heard it. “If we got to know each other /
How rare is that?/ All that space in between where we stand / Could be our chance”. The recorded version is perfect but this live version is even better.

Fiona Apple – Cosmonauts

I’m a sucker for songs that actually speak truthfully of relationships, but still, picking a song that opens with the line “Your face ignites a fuse to my patience” is probably going to be a step too far for most. But if you hear it out, it does have a lot to say about co-existing as a couple and married life

M. Ward – Fool Says

It’s cheesy and fun and romantic and you’ll be into the next song before you know it. And one of those deep dives that very few know. (And really included as something less emotionally heavy than the last two selections.)

Wilco – You and I

Maybe it’s because I’ve just been reading Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting book and am approaching his songs with fresh eyes – I felt there had to be a Wilco song in here somewhere. And although I’d personally go for ‘I’m the man who loves you’, this one’s a bit more chilled and not gender specific.

Cigarettes after sex – Apocalypse

I first heard this at a gay wedding and have loved it ever since. Such a swoony shoe gaze vibe of its own that fits perfectly.

The Replacements – Skyway

If you never came across this band, then go and check them out. Really underated 80’s college rock band (if you’re from the UK, anyway). You’ll have heard thier music being played more recently if you’ve seen The Bear (Fak’s favourite band, don’t you know) & Guardians of The Galaxy (I will dare)

This is just simple and gorgeous though. Give it a spin.

About me

I’m an alternative wedding photographer with a documentary style based in Derby. Check out my portfolio here and you can book me for all sorts of events, drop me a line and tell me your story.

As I said earlier, drop me a message if you want to add songs.