We asked seasoned wedding planners—who have witnessed hundreds of mother-son dances—to suggest their favorite numbers, and then tapped Apple Music to rank them in popularity.

With the right song, the mother-son dance at your wedding can be one of the most touching, joyful parts of the day. Choose wrong, however, and this cherished parent-child moment can be dull and lackluster, or—even worse—memorable for all the wrong reasons. Avoid any awkwardness with these tips from expert wedding planners who've heard it all: the good, the bad, and the (weirdly) romantic.

Choose a Meaningful Mother-Son Dance Song

"It is easy to fall into the trap of picking a song that makes the audience happy, but your parent dance song should be one that reminds you of your parent, of happy times, of childhood, and of the special bond you share together," says Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events. "Think of your happiest memories with your parent, find the song that makes you both smile, and don't worry if it is not slow or traditional. If it makes you both happy go for it!" 

Opt for a Fun, Upbeat Hit

This is not the time to lean into the idea that the groom is leaving his family. "A great mother-son dance is clever—maybe a bit humorous—and never, ever maudlin or mournful," says Marcy Blum of Marcy Blum Events. "The idea that this person is 'losing' their child is one that can really put a pall on the festivities."

Ultimately, the mood should be celebratory and festive, so save the tears for the toasts. "This is a time for rejoicing!" says Alia Wilson of Firefly Events. "I usually guide families to bring in more of the sentimental moments, if they wish, into their speeches, and let this moment be a bit more about the joy."

Select a Song with an Appropriate Message

Songs that celebrate the love between a mother and son—without drifting into romance—are better choices than those that tend toward the passionate. "I would leave anything that could easily be read as romantic off the table. Like so many things in life, you know it when you see it—or in this case, hear it!" says Wilson.

Instead, look for mid-tempo classics to keep the party moving. "I think emotional, slow songs might be best reserved for the newly married couple," says Wilson. "Make sure it's a song that you both feel familiar with and are comfortable dancing to." (One firm rule from all our experts: Skip anything with explicit lyrics and unsavory references.)

Make It Personal

Don't hesitate to infuse your own personality into this moment—even if you choose a well-known song. "One of our grooms started his mother-son dance with a popular slow song, 'A Song for Mama' by Boyz II Men, and then had the DJ switch it up to a line dance called 'Bikers Shuffle' that he and his mom love dancing to," says Yodit Gebreyes Endale of Favored by Yodit. "It was so fun and personal and everyone loved it because it really set the tone for the party. Any song that brings smiles as the groom and mother of the groom take the dance floor is a win in my book."

mother and groom hugging during wedding dance
Credit: Anna Kardos

The Best 48 Songs for a Perfect Mother-Son Dance

We asked our experts to recommend their favorite mother-son dance songs in a broad range of categories—the classics, the uptempo, the sentimental, and the unexpected—and genres, and then turned to the pros at Apple Music to rank their popularity over the last year. Let one of these vetted hits inspire your own dance-floor debut with Mom.

  1. "Landslide," by Fleetwood Mac  
  2. "Stand By Me," Ben E. King
  3. "Time After Time," by Cyndi Lauper  
  4. "Dear Mama," by 2Pac 
  5. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole  
  6. "Home," by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros  
  7. "Lovely Day," by Bill Withers  
  8. "In My Life," by The Beatles  
  9. "What a Wonderful World," by Louis Armstrong 
  10. "Respect," by Aretha Franklin  
  11. "I Hope You Dance," by Lee Ann Womack 
  12. "I Want to Hold Your Hand," by The Beatles  
  13. "Just to See You Smile," by Tim McGraw  
  14. "You're My Best Friend," by Queen
  15. "Get the Party Started," by P!nk  
  16. "Dancing In the Moonlight," by King Harvest  
  17. "Hero," by Mariah Carey  
  18. "My Wish," by Rascal Flatts  
  19. "Raspberry Beret," by Prince  
  20. "Born to Be Wild," by Steppenwolf  
  21. "It Takes Two," by Rob Base  
  22. "A Song for Mama," by Boyz II Men 
  23.  "Forever Young," by Rod Stewart  
  24. "You Raise Me Up," by Josh Groban  
  25. "Two of Us," by The Beatles  
  26. "How Sweet It Is," by James Taylor  
  27. "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," by Stevie Wonder  
  28. "You've Got a Friend," by Carole King  
  29. "Teach Your Children," by Crosby Still and Nash 
  30.  "Days Like This," by Van Morrison  
  31. "Three Times a Lady," by The Commodores  
  32. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," by Cyndi Lauper  
  33. "Have I Told You Lately," by Van Morrison  
  34. "Mom," by Meghan Trainor (feat. Kelli Trainor)
  35. "Loves Me Like a Rock," by Paul Simon  
  36. "Nothing Can Change This Love," by Sam Cooke  
  37. "Take Your Mama," by Scissor Sisters  
  38. "Your Song," by Alessandro Safina & Ewan McGregor 
  39. "That's How Strong My Love Is," by Otis Redding  
  40. "You Are My Sunshine," by Johnny Cash  
  41. "Because You Loved Me," by Céline Dion  
  42. "Born At the Right Time," by Paul Simon  
  43. "I'll Always Love My Mama," by The Intruders  
  44. "Someone to Watch Over Me," by Amy Winehouse  
  45. "I'll Be There for You," by Boyce Avenue  
  46. "A Mother's Love," by Kem 
  47. "Sweet Child O' Mine," by Luna  
  48. "Higher and Higher," by Jackie Wilson


Be the first to comment!