The father-daughter dance at a wedding is one of the most precious moments between a father and daughter that will live in their memories forever. Part of what creates that special moment is the song chosen for the occasion. Luckily, there are plenty of sweet and emotional father-daughter dance songs out there to choose from. Some brides and fathers may decide to go classic for their wedding dance -- like The Temptations' "My Girl," Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight," Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable," Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely," "You Are My Sunshine" (recorded by Gene Autry, The Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, and many more) or James Taylor's "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)."
There are more modern songs to choose from as well, like Amos Lee's "Sweet Pea," John Mayer's "Daughters" and Taylor Swift's "Never Grow Up." Other great options for father-daughter wedding songs include Paul Simon's "Father and Daughter," Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World," James Taylor's "You've Got A Friend," Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" Elton John's "Your Song," The Beatles' "In My Life," and many more.
While all these father-daughter first dance songs are non-country tunes, there are a wealth of songs in country music that are perfect for that special wedding moment when a bride and her father step onto the dance floor. Whether you're a current bride or dreaming about that special day, here are 10 of the best country father-daughter dance songs to put on your wedding playlist.
10. "There Goes My Life," Kenny Chesney
In this emotional song, Kenny Chesney assumes the character of a man who unexpectedly had a daughter, and while he first thought the birth of his child meant the end of his life as he knew it, he soon realized it was just the beginning. The song follows Chesney as he sings about his daughter growing up, and when she finally goes off to college, he sings, "There goes my life." Although the song does not go as far to mention the daughter's wedding, the message can still relate to a daughter getting married.
9. "My Wish," Rascal Flatts
In one of Rascal Flatts' biggest hits, "My Wish," the trio sing to a loved one about their "wish" for that person's life. While they don't reveal exactly who they're singing to, they leave it open to interpretation so the listener can apply the song to whomever they wish. The song could easily be applied to the situation of a father wishing his daughter the best as she moves into her new journey of marriage, and that is why "My Wish" would make a great father-daughter dance song.
8. "It Won't Be Like This For Long," Darius Rucker
In this 2008 single from Darius Rucker, he sings from the perspective of a new father to a baby. He mentions the long nights one has with a new baby, but then notes, "It won't be like this for long." That sentiment continues through the song and applies to all the cycles in the child's life. The tune is really about enjoying every moment of being a father. This song is another one that is not about a wedding per se, but it can apply to the wedding day.
7. "Then They Do," Trace Adkins
The Trace Adkins song, "Then They Do," from 2003 is another example of an emotional country song that finds a parent watching their children grow up. In the beginning of the song, Adkins sings of having small children and experiencing all the chaos that goes along with them. But then, as he sings in the chorus, they soon grow up, and he misses those chaotic mornings with kids. In the second verse, Adkins prepares for his daughter's boyfriend to soon ask for her hand in marriage, and he continues to marvel at how quickly his children grew up. "Then They Do" is another great father-daughter song from the perspective of the father.
6. "You'll Always Be My Baby," Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson included a sweet song about his daughters on his 2021 album, Where Have You Gone. In "You'll Always Be My Baby," Jackson sings about his three daughters and how they'll always be young in his eyes, no matter how much they grow up. Jackson wrote the song for his daughters' weddings.
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5. "Stealing Cinderella," Chuck Wicks
Most of the songs on this list are sung from the perspective of a father giving his daughter away at her wedding, but Chuck Wicks' 2007 hit "Stealing Cinderella" takes a different approach. In the song, Wicks sings from the perspective of the man asking a father for his daughter's hand in marriage. The song finds Wicks arriving at the father's house and seeing all the photos of his soon-to-be fiancée on the wall. This leads him to realize that he is, in a way, "stealing" the father's Cinderella, and it gives him an empathetic feeling towards his girlfriend's dad.
4. "The Man Who Loves You The Most," Zac Brown Band
Zac Brown Band released the ultimate father-daughter dance song in 2020 with "The Man Who Loves You The Most." In this acoustic tune, Brown shares all the hopes he has for his daughter. First, he is singing to his young daughter as he leaves her to go on the road. Then, he packs up his daughter for college. In the chorus, he mentions that his daughter will eventually get married, and he hopes her future husband knows that he's the man who loves her the most.
3. "Butterfly Kisses," Bob Carlisle
While Bob Carlisle's "Butterfly Kisses" topped the Adult Contemporary charts, the tune also made its way to charts of other genres, including country. The song is one of the most memorable father-daughter songs out there, as Carlisle sings about precious moments with his daughter, including exchanging "butterfly kisses." Throughout the song, his daughter grows up, and in the last verse, she's getting married. Carlisle's voice evokes emotion as he sings about sending his daughter into the next phase of her life.
2. "My Little Girl," Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw recorded one of the most famous father-daughter songs in country music for the soundtrack of the motion picture, Flicka. In this tune, McGraw sings about his daughter going out in the world to follow her dreams, but no matter where she goes, she'll always be his little girl. While the song doesn't mention his daughter getting married specifically, the sentiment rings true for a marriage.
1. "I Loved Her First," Heartland
One of the most famous father-daughter songs in country music is Heartland's "I Loved Her First." Released in 2006, this tune finds the group singing from the perspective of a father giving his daughter away at her wedding, but he reminds his daughter's new husband that he "loved her first."
Honorable mentions: Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" and The Shires' "Daddy's Little Girl."
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Editors Note: This article was originally published on June 19, 2021.
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