Here’s how popular first dance songs at weddings have changed over the years

A couple's first dance is one of the musical centerpieces of many weddings.

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A couple’s first dance is one of the musical centerpieces of many weddings.
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The Washington Post/Contributor/Getty Images

There are lots of musical choices to make when planning a wedding – what song to walk down the aisle to, what the band should play in the background during the cocktail hour, and which tunes will get people onto the dance floor.

But one of the musical centerpieces of many weddings is the couple’s traditional first dance before the floor opens up to the rest of the guests.

The Black Tux surveyed over 900 married couples about the song they chose for their first dance and broke the results down by three generations: baby boomers, Generation Xers, and millennials. Some songs appear in more than one category, a testament to their timeless melodies.

Here are the most popular first dance wedding songs through the years.


The third-most popular song baby boomers danced to was “At Last” by Etta James.

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Etta James poses for a portrait circa 1962.
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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The song was written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren for the film “Sun Valley Serenade” and recorded by Etta James for her album “At Last!” in 1960.

Listen to “At Last” here.


“The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra was the second-most popular first dance song for baby boomers.

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Frank Sinatra in the studio.
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William Gottlieb/Redferns via Getty Images

Frank Sinatra’s version of “The Way You Look Tonight” was released in 1964. The song originates from the movie “Swing Time” and won an Oscar for best original song in 1936.

Listen to “The Way You Look Tonight” here.


“Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers was baby boomers’ favorite first dance song.

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Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers.
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Gems/Redferns/Getty Images

The song “Unchained Melody” was written for the 1955 movie “Unchained” and was recorded by The Righteous Brothers in 1965. 10.9% of baby boomers chose this song for their first dance.

Listen to “Unchained Melody” here.


Generation X’s third most-popular first dance song was “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith.

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The members of Aerosmith.
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Gems/Redferns/Getty Images

“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” was Aerosmith’s first and only number one hit, written by songwriter Diane Warren and released in 1998.

Listen to “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” here.


The second-most popular first dance song for Generation X was “At Last” by Etta James.

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Etta James recording at Fame Studios circa 1967 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
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House Of Fame LLC/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

The song has since been covered by the likes of Celine Dion and Beyoncé, who sang it at President Obama’s 2008 inauguration.

Listen to “At Last” here.


Generation X also danced to “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers as their number one first dance song.

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Righteous Brothers circa 1965.
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GAB Archive/Redferns/Getty Images

The movie “Ghost” helped reinvigorate the song’s success in 1990. 7.3% of Generation X members chose this song for their first dance.

Listen to “Unchained Melody” here.


Millennials’ third-most popular first dance song is “Amazed” by the country group Lonestar.

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Lonestar arriving at the 38th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
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Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images

“Amazed” was written by Aimee Mayo, Chris Lindsey and Marv Green and released by Lonestar in 1999. Mayo and Linsey married after writing the love song together.

Listen to “Amazed” here.


Millennials also love Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” as their second-most popular first dance song.

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The members of Aerosmith.
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Kevin Winter/ Getty Images

The song was nominated for an Oscar for best original song in 1999.

Listen to “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” here.


The song most chosen by millennials for their first dance is “All of Me” by John Legend.

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John Legend.
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Rich Polk/Getty Images for The Art of Elysium

John Legend wrote “All of Me” with songwriter Toby Gad for his wife (then-fiancée) Chrissy Teigen and released it in 2013. The song won a Grammy for best pop solo performance in 2014. It was the first dance song for 7.6% of millennials surveyed by The Black Tux.

Listen to “All of Me” here.