The Most Popular First Dance Songs of 2021


Your first dance on your wedding day is an important part of your big day; it’s personal and romantic and reflects the new unity of you and your partner. Often the first dance kick starts the rest of the evening, typically followed by dancefloor classics including the likes of ABBA, Stevie Wonder and the “YMCA”.
Choosing your first dance song can be difficult; you and your partner could have different musical tastes, one of you might want to slow dance while the other is looking for something to get the party started, or you simply have too many songs to choose from.
So, to help you choose the perfect song to begin your marriage together, we decided to ask what makes a perfect first dance song?

The formula for the ideal first dance song

We spoke to Ryan Mackenzie, a professional musician who has worked with the likes of Pixie Lott and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and came up with the perfect formula for the most romantic songs.


  • Time signature: 4/4
  • Release Date: 2017
  • BPM: 110


The most popular first dance song 2021

With the help of Spotify data we analysed over 1,000 songs from wedding and romance playlists to calculate the most popular wedding songs that couples can dance the night away to.
The most popular first dance song 2021

Most Played Wedding Songs



  1. Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  2. Say You Won’t Let Go – James Arthur
  3. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  4. Shallow – Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper
  5. All of Me – John Legend
  6. Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
  7. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
  8. Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
  9. Meant to Be – Bebe Rexha, Florida Georgia Line
  10. Halo – Beyonce
  11. What Lovers Do – Maroon 5, SZA
  12. A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
  13. Adore You – Harry Styles
  14. She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
  15. Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol
  16. Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls
  17. Best Part – Daniel Caesar, H.E.R.
  18. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
  19. 10,000 Hours – Dan + Shay, Justin Bieber
  20. Make You Feel My Love – Adele

Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ tops the list with a staggering 1,825,446,875 plays on Spotify, closely followed by James Arthur’s ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’.
With lyrics like “And darling I will be loving you ’til we’re 70” and “But I wanna stay with you until we’re grey and old”, these songs emphasise the longevity of love, making them suitable candidates for a newlywed’s first romantic gesture together.

Individual Songs That Best Match the Formula



  • Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  • Eyes on You – Chase Rice
  • Perfect Duet – Ed Sheeran, Beyonce

Released in 2017, with a time signature of 4/4 and a BPM around the 110 mark, these songs are our formula’s best match, ideal for fans of ‘country’ music and Ed Sheeran.

Are Male Voices More Romantic? The Gender Imbalance in First Dance Songs

Whilst conducting our research it became apparent that there was quite an imbalance between how many male artists appeared in our lists compared to female artists.
Only 5 singles in our top 20 most played songs are performed by women and from the entire data analysed, 65% were male, 24% were female and 12% were duets or collaborations.
So, is there something about the male voice we find more romantic?
It has been suggested time and time again that we prefer the sound of low, “masculine” voices, as it supposedly exudes physical strength and power, but can this be true in music too?
According to some studies, the gender differences in music preferences are based on gender-role socialisation in male toughness and female emotionality.
“Female listeners typically use functions that contain affective and contemplative elements more extensively than men, choosing to listen to music that has a romantic appeal as it relieves them of a sense of loneliness.”
Therefore, is it less to do with male voices, but rather the romantic genre having a predominantly female audience, or is it simply down to the lack of female musicians in the industry?
In 2020, Statista revealed that during the time period from 2012 to 2020, females represented only 32 percent of the pop music genre, and just 13.1 percent of songs in the alternative genre.

Most Romantic Year For Music

Our study has revealed that the most romantic year for music was 2017, closely followed by 2018 and 2019.
In a year where Donald Trump became president, musicians were continuing to top the charts with love songs, with many becoming the perfect first dance selection.
Most notably, Ed Sheeran released his record-breaking album ‘Divide’ with its array of love songs in 2017, whilst Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper dominated the chart with the single ‘Shallow’ from the Oscar winning film ‘A Star is Born’.
Ryan MacKenzie weighed in:
“My work as an arranger has meant I’ve worked with a wide array of artists from all genres. A large proportion of this work is still romantic songs. I believe this largely comes down to the aesthetic of the artists – at the minute, people are exploring such a wide range of styles and pushing things in different directions, which I find really exciting.”
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We analysed over 1000 songs across Spotify’s wedding and romance playlists, including their most popular playlist, to determine the most popular first dance songs.
We looked at the number of plays each song received, the gender of the musician, release date and BPM to refine and develop our list.

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