It's a difficult question.
You need something that sums up, in words or melody, the relationship that brought you to this point, as well as something that you can dance to. Sometimes it's decided subconsciously months or years in advance, but most people don't have that luxury.
For all that though, it doesn't need to be such a minefield. If music isn't a huge part of your life (or if you both have wildly different tastes) the music you choose can be purely functional; something that allows you to slow dance majestically about the floor amongst a circle of adoring peers, or a ludicrous show-stopping number to get your wedding on YouTube. It's really up to you.
So, where do I start?
If you are struggling, try looking for songs that suit your feelings lyrically. We played a wedding in the summer of 2015 at the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool, and for their first dance the couple chose 'Happy Together' by The Turtles, for which they choreographed their own dance routine. While the pace of the song didn't suit a traditional first dance, the words summed it up perfectly, and the extra touch of a preconceived dance was the garnish on the cocktail.
Our very own bassist Dan and his wife Katy chose 'Where Are You Going' by Dave Matthews Band. For them the choice was a bit easier as they were both big fans of the band, he says: "...both me and Katy loved it as it was Dave Matthews Band, which was a common interest at the start of our relationship. Our interpretation of the song is that nobody is perfect but we will be there for each other and we love to be around each other."
Where else can I look?
If you're looking to think outside the box, try thinking about any films and TV shows you both enjoy and check out the soundtracks. There might be a song in there from a pivotal moment that will fill the void, or the actual film score for an individual choice; some of the greatest musical pieces in the past fifty years have been composed for film, so it might be more of a reliable choice than you might have considered.
Other options can come from more personal places, for example if you've been on holidays or special trips together, what albums did you put in the car that reminds you of that time? Not to mention, if you're not typically a slow-dance kind of couple, what sort of first dance do you want to have? If you want a number that is more suited to getting your nearest and dearest on the dancefloor around you, go down that route.
We've found that "Have I Told you Lately" by Rod Stewart is a popular choice, and the number one first dance choice according to a survey on a popular streaming service is "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran, so there are some ideas to get the ball rolling. Don't be afraid of choosing something that's been used before; it's your wedding and no-one else's! (The second most popular choice on the survey was "At Last" by Etta James which is a glorious song in its own right.)
As a band we can offer you the service of playing your first dance; either an accurate reproduction of the original, or an adapted version to suit your requirements, giving you a unique wedding song that will be yours forever. Just let us know what you want and we can discuss your options. However if the original recording is what you want, we can have that played for you over the PA system (as long as you let us know in advance!).
For some couples, choosing the first dance is a case of choosing a song that will define that pivotal moment of their wedding and will be associated with that moment forever; but it's important to remember that it doesn't have to be "that perfect song", it can be there just to satisfy requirement. If it's taking too much deliberation then the chances are you're forcing it; choosing a song that is considered an unoriginal choice isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, it's your wedding, so don't let anyone else's opinion jade your selection process.
Thanks for listening.
You stay classy!