A Father-Daughter Wedding Dance That Won’t Make Everyone Gag


(Reprinted from NPR’s All Songs Considered)

Célèste Brott writes: “I’m trying to pick a father-daughter dance song for my wedding, but most of the suggestions I come across make me gag. They fall mostly into the category of ‘What an angel she is’-type songs, or are too sentimental about ‘What a great dad he was.’ I want it to be something we both love, and that we can dance to. Something that hits the right sentimental note, sure, but isn’t sappy or impersonal. Any ideas?”

Picking any music for a wedding is weirdly fraught, particularly if you’re the sort of person whose taste in love songs — or taste in love, for that matter — runs toward the complex and compromised. Weddings are about absolutes, and love songs that express absolute emotions (permanence, certainty) have a tendency to come off as mawkish or excessively sentimental. Throw in the unconditional love between a parent and a child, and … hoo boy, that narrows down the options. I’ve been taking my daughter to “daddy daughter dances” since she was barely old enough to run around, and have yet to hear anything there that conjures up images of her future wedding day. (THANK GOD.)

That said, since before she was born, I’ve had the exact right song picked out for this very occasion, should it arise — a song that has been laying waste to my defenses since I first heard it almost exactly 10 years ago. I’ve been playing it for my kids since way before they can remember, and my 8-year-old daughter still listens to it as part of our bedtime ritual virtually every night.

“Find Love”

With apologies to those who’ve heard me prattle about this song before, Clem Snide’s “Find Love” is, in all seriousness, perfect; I have listened to it hundreds if not thousands of times, and if anything, it’s only grown on me. Heard in the context of a parent’s love — of deeply humane advice and wishes for a child, regardless of his or her age — it says everything. Take chances. Put yourself out there. Face the world with a generous heart. Live your life. Make the world your own. “Find love, and then give it all away.”

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