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Father and Daughter Songs

Sentimental Songs for the Father/Daughter Dance at Your Wedding


The father-daughter dance is a long-standing tradition that is still part of most wedding receptions today. For a bride who enjoys a close relationship with her father, a sweet and even sappy father and daughter dance song is a great choice. The wedding planner should be sure to instruct the photographer to get some close-ups of the emotion that's sure to come (and should also have tissues ready!)

Here are 10 special songs for fathers and daughters who want to make the most of this tradition. (For brides who aren't especially close to their father, or are sharing a dance with another family member, see this list.)

1. The Temptations: "My Girl"

Father Daughter Wedding Dance
Ivy Reynolds / Getty Images

From the opening line of "I've got sunshine on a cloudy day," this Motown classic is instantly recognizable -- perhaps because it was a number-one hit in 1965!  The slightly swingy, upbeat tempo and sweet lyrics are a great choice for Daddy and his little girl.

2. Jimmy Buffett: "Little Miss Magic"

This folksy, gentle song from Buffett's 1981 "Coconut Telegraph" album is a warm rush of nostalgia, and is a unique choice for a father and daughter who want something a little off the beaten path.

3. Steven Curtis Chapman: "Cinderella"

Written about a father dancing with his daughter, first when she is a little girl and later when she's a bride, this emotional song is as tender as Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses," but much less overplayed.  (Warning: Many people, including Chapman himself, associate this song with his daughter Maria Sue, who died tragically in 2008.)

4. Natalie Grant: "I'll Always Be Your Baby"

This 2003 song from Christian artist Natalie Grant sends a special message from a young woman to her father: "You are my hero and that will never change."

5. Harry Belafonte: "Turn Around"

Telling the chronological story of a toddler growing into a young woman getting married herself, this 1959 Belafonte song was later covered by a variety of artists, from the Kingston Trio to Sonny and Cher to Kenny Loggins. Paul Arnold's version was also part of an iconic Kodak commercial in the 1960s.

6. Trace Adkins: "Then They Do"

Practically all parents can relate to this 2003 hit by country artist Trace Adkins. A musing on how quickly kids grow up, this song is appropriate for both a father and daughter dance and for a combined father/daughter and mother/son dance.

7. Stevie Wonder: "Isn't She Lovely"

Another sweet, upbeat tune in a similar vein to the Temptations song, this song appeared on Wonder's hit album "Songs in the Key of Life" and was written in honor of his daugher Aisha.

8. Harry Connick, Jr. "A Wink and a Smile"

Connick's easy, swinging style and sweet, simple lyrics are sure to bring a (wink and a) smile to father and daughter alike.  This song was also featured in the 1993 hit film "Sleepless in Seattle."

9. Tim McGraw: "My Little Girl"

Released in 2006, this country hit seems to have been custom-made for a sentimental father and daughter dance at a wedding -- it even mentions the father's plans to make sure his daughter's husband-to-be is good enough for her!

10. Van Morrison: "Have I Told You Lately

The famous Irish songwriter's song was released in 1989 and became a hit, but was quickly eclipsed by Rod Stewart's cover, which is the more widely known version today.  Both performances evoke a sentimental love that isn't necessarily romantic, so the song works well for a father/daughter dance.

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