The Wedding Dance

Here is a tricky social situation, just right for navigation by sensitive baboons. The note comes from Jane Beauchamp – a former Morning Show listener, sometime Trial Baboon reader and permanently proud mother who is about to have an FTD moment.

FTD in this case means “Forced To Dance.”

My son is 24 years old and marrying his high school sweetheart in an outdoor garden ceremony July 21 at a local country club to which her parents belong. He’s my oldest and the first of any of his friends to get married. I’ve not been very involved in the planning but it appears that it will be an elegant affair; a champagne reception and formal dinner follows the ceremony, after which the dance begins.

The challenge, then, is to come up with exactly the right piece of music to make the obligatory mother/son wedding dance both memorable and painless.

My son and I agree that a) neither of us are great dancers of any genre and b) we do not want anything that is very sentimental/syrupy/pop culture type of thing that would leave his mother (me) weeping in a heap on the dance floor. In fact, if we could avoid the whole dance thing that would probably be better, but I’ve been advised that isn’t part of the program for the evening, and, honestly, I would likely regret it if we didn’t do it.

What is the solution? Jane says the tune should be “something classic but/and fun; short vs. many verses is better; and beyond that we’re open.” Here’s a little more background to help guide you as you sift through your musical back stacks.

When my boys were growing up, we’d listen to The Morning Show every morning on the way to school. I like many other of your listeners told them it was my way of supporting a part of their music education. It was my only chance music-wise, as they both are very competitive athletes and that’s where their interests were. The son getting married played high school and college soccer; since finishing college, he’s been in sales for a national insurance company and loves the different type of competition he experiences there. He and his fiance have a small dog, Jolie, who they love to pieces, and when they’re not planning their wedding they like to travel (France, US, Mexico) and cook.

Stories? Suggestions? Songs?

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77 thoughts on “The Wedding Dance”

    1. Okay so long as you DON’T do this song the way Peter Ostrushko did it at the end of the last Morning Show! I was listening to the stream and practically sobbing at my desk. “Coffee Tasted Better When You Were Here” was hard enough to get through, and Ann wasn’t milking every note the way Peter was, the bugger.

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      1. i think you do it exactly the way peter did it. thats the whole deal. nothingcould be more clear . i used to sing my kids to sleep with a guitar and different version of you are my sunshine every night when my first two were little collicky problems. i discovered the homeopathic fix for collick for the next ones and they missed out on you are my sunshine but i sure have fond memories.

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      1. Good morning. I agree with tim. I think Waltzing with Bears would be a good choice if it works for you, Jane. If it is too “corny” for the setting of the dance, just have them play the music without the lyrics if they have a live band. If you don’t know how to waltz, I think you and your son could learn to do a waltz with a little practice. I am not at all good at dancing and if I do a little practicing I can waltz.

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        1. “Waltzing with Bears” would be hilarious, but if that doesn’t pass muster, I’d say detour off the Trail and take a look at the Cole Porter songbook. I’m in awe of his best lyrics, and most of his songs manage romance without syrup (avoid “Every Time You Say Goodbye” like the plague, though!). “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “I Love Paris,” “You’re the Top,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Dream Dancing”–there’s a ton of possibilities. Remember, too, that schmaltz is as much in the delivery as in the original lyrics, and ask the band to make it bright and upbeat. Or, as Jim suggested, have them play the tune without lyrics–it’s not like that’s never been done with Porter’s songs.

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        2. I think CG is on to something – the Porter songbook is great. Or try some Gerswhin – again, with or without lyrics. You could do a slow fox trot (probably) to “Summertime”…

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  1. i have a 22 year old daughter who is getting married in aug this year. i have offered suggestions and ideas but it is her and her mother that are putting it together. an outdoor event hopes the weather will cooperate. invitations are going out this week. she is enjoying it but having the typical challanges. her husband to be is from kosovo and will have a friend who lives in new york there and we will see if anyone from his family can come. money and visa issues both present challanges. i am hoping all goes well they deserve it. both for the wedding and after. the ceremony… what a trip.

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        1. for my wedding the band guy called in sick and sent some other guys who had no knowledge of the list we agreed to have him play.my ex was pissed. he asked to be paid the same amount so he could pay the musicians who showed up. i said no.

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  2. Obligatory??????? I don’t think so. Don’t dance if you two don’t want to. If you feel you need to do something, maybe a special toast, but dancing is NOT obligatory! We didn’t have a mother/son dance at my wedding.

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    1. Andrea – my sentiments exactly. I know that I had a dance with my dad at my wedding because there are photos, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you what the song was after all these years. Enjoy the day and don’t worry about posterity!

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  3. Here is my first thought, but I’m not sure it is okay. The song isn’t sentimental . . . we’re cool that way. But I sometimes think there is a EWWWW factor with this song. It doesn’t help to know that the title was inspired by a dish Paul Simon saw on a Chinese restaurant menu, a dish combining chicken and eggs that was called “Mother and Child Reunion.” But you can figure that the wedding guests wouldn’t know that!

    And, hey, it is a nice dancing tune.

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  4. Morning-

    The Izzy version of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’? Can the band do their own version of ‘As Time Goes by’? Mind you, I’ve said before, I don’t pay attention to the lyrics so these might not even be appropriate. Oh well.

    Our wedding, we knew the band from other events and my only request was no Raisin Songs. We got married in 1992 and the California Raisins were big. While I can like the song ‘Heard it through the Grapevine’ I didn’t like it in connection with raisins. And so marketing ruined another song for me.

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  5. I think a good selection would be Turn Around by Malvina Reynolds, but the lyrics would haves to be modified to fit a son.

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  6. And if you’d like another option for a gentle waltz, “Ashokan Farewell”, also without words…

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    1. And a little story – my son thought we should practice dancing to the song before the wedding, so we did – in the itty bitty space between the couch and the refrigerator in their tiny NY apartment. After about 8 seconds of trying not to bump into stuff he said, “Ok, we got it.”

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  7. Neither of my daughters or their spouses really consulted with either set of parents as to what the dances would be. At both weddings the mother/son and father/daughter dances were at the same time, which took a little pressure off my husband who was quite nervous about his dances. There are a lot of good suggestions already – the main thing I know is that I don’t remember what either of the dances were. I’m SURE I would have remembered Waltzing with Bears!

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  8. I don’t remember what the song was when my son and I danced at his wedding. It could have been the Beer Barrell Polka for all I know. By the time the dance started, I was exhausted and relieved and ready to be finished with all responsibility.

    OT but weird-Today I have been receiving parts of an old time radio show out of the external speakers of my computer-even when the computer is not connected to the internet. It comes and goes, and always repeats the same scene-something to do with a Japanese Detective who drinks hot whiskey, a heroine who is really a robot, and the sound of an old airplane soaring through the air. Our IT guy says he has seen this happen before, and believes the speakers are picking up some radio signal in the atmosphere. Maybe Tom Keith is playing tricks?

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    1. It reminds me of that book “Why Should You Doubt Me Now” about a mysterious picture of the Virgin Mary that keeps appearing in the most unlikely places all over Ireland, places like right over the water dish of the dog belonging to a protestant resident of Dublin. It is a hilarious story.

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      1. sounds like august wilson who would write his plays and say he just sat down and copied down what the voices he had introduced in the play said. maybe you have entered a new side of awareness renee. take notes.

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    1. That tune would absolutely unleash a wellspring of tears! My bias for wedding dancing would be some good old-fashioned Motown 70s music (hint to Jim) because no other genre triggers people’s inner dancer more immediately than this. To have joy from dancing requires a sheer absence of inhibition and Motown seems to accomplish this.

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      1. baby love.my baby love ooh ooh ooh my baby love

        i got sunshine on a cloudy day when its cold outside i got the month of may
        i guess you say
        what can make me feel this way
        my boy… talking bout my boy

        i can see doing it with mowtown

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  9. Jane, whatever you end up with, let us know how it went, when you’re past the “exhausted and relieved” part Renee mentioned…

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  10. any waltz would do, but I like the Tennessee Waltz, but I neveer knew the lyrics so you better listen to the words first. My daughters had to listen to TMS also, and they picked Brandi Carlisle’s “did you ever?” for their couple dance, it is lovely and weaves a story around a great tune.

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    1. thats the story of a best friend who stole a guys wife. may want to pick a different one. or keep a close eye on the sons best friend

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  11. And you should get a structural engineer for a son in law if you want a wedding on a dock, we had 170 people on ours at Lake Superior, and had a great DRY wedding!!

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  12. Greetings! Cole Porter or Nat King Cole are great ideas. Personally, I like a lively Harry Belafonte tune like “‘”Dance Senora” — or whatever the title is. It’s a great, fun dance tune that encourages improvisation, so doing goofy dance steps won’t look out of place. Or get down with “Dey-O”. Plantation attire optional!

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    1. The song about Senora dancing is “Jump In the Line”. Love that one. Always makes me want to vacuum.

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  13. Thanks, Jane, Dale,and all the baboons for a lovely evening of listening. I’m still surprised that nobody suggested a mash-up of YMCA and the Chicken Dance.

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  14. Wow, everyone, thanks for the wonderful suggestions!! Great ideas and tonight I’m hearing that the kids will be using some of these songs for everyone to dance to. Any of these pieces would be fun. I’ll let you know what we (he) decides to do for our dance. Dale, thanks for coming to my rescue and posting my question. I knew this group would have some terrific ideas!!

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