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Weddings so poignantly illustrate the delicate father-daughter relationship, especially during their designated dance. Never have I been at a reception and not teared up at this part, so in planning my own I've often thought about the song I'd choose. My dad is a man of few words and enjoys quiet time in his deer stand, on the couch with his books and what I can only assume is some place far away in his headphones. We're opposites in many ways, as I'm constantly yapping with friends, enjoying city life and always taking on ambitious shopping trips. While we have an easy and comfortable relationship, I wouldn't say we're incredibly close, but one thing that has always bonded us through the years is music.
I come from a family of music lovers. My dad, brother and uncle all play guitar incredibly well and have a great knowledge of the classics; my mom sings in the choir; I'm a music journalist. So you can imagine when Ian and I announced our wedding date, my dad's first question (aside from "can I wear jeans?" -- honestly) was "What music will you play?" He made it clear early on that I need to expand my palate to not only include "rap and dance music the whole time."
This week, I emailed to ask him a few questions about music at our wedding. He took a few days to get back to me, saying he'd "already started a short list of songs at home" and needed a little time to think about it. It was obvious he'd been waiting for me to consult with him on the reception playlist (further proving every family member needs a task in the planning to feel involved). This exercise is something I'd recommend for any bride and her parents, and the answers might surprise you -- turns out my dad doesn't actually mind rap music. It's also good so you can vet questionable song additions like The Dukes Of Hazard theme song. Really.
JEN: Dad, what kind of music do you think we should play at the wedding? What would make for a great evening of music?
DAD: You can't make all of the people happy all of the time, so you have to make some of the people happy some of the time. Try for variety, mix it up.
What do you think of father/daughter mother/son dances? Have you thought about what you would like to dance to?
Your sister said that you were thinking of "Always On My Mind" by Willie Nelson and that would be OK with me. I also like "Love And Happiness" by Mark Knofler and Emmylou Harris, but Mom says she can't understand the words.
What is the absolute worst song you could think of someone playing at our wedding?
"The Thrill Is Gone" by BB King. Great song, but not for a wedding.
Do you think the old folks will leave early so we can play a few rap songs later?
I would play a variety to try to keep everyone interested. The old folks could rest while you play rap songs. Some of them might even like it. You might be surprised.
What 5 songs do we absolutely have to play?
This one is hard. I tried to think of songs that everyone would know, and are easy to dance to. Mom and your brother don't like my choices (too cliche), but here they are:
1. Roll Over Beethoven, Chuck Berry
2. Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison
3. Twist and Shout, Beatles
4. Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash
5. Unchained Melody, Righteous Bros. (You have to have a couple slow ones for people like me who can't dance, but can shuffle around.)
Alternates: Straight On, Heart / My Best Friends Girl, The Cars / Theme from the Dukes of Hazard, Waylon Jennings / Fun Fun Fun, Beach Boys / Can't Help Falling in Love, Elvis /... and of course there's always The Stones, Bob Seger, Led Zeppelin, Creedence, Eric Clapton, and the Allman Bros.
Love you, dad. Thanks for being your shy, quirky, musically-inclined self.
The Blithe Bride
Jen Boyles on Twitter
Kara is a communications manager at U.S. Bank. See her engagement story.
Taylor is a magazine editor at MSP Communications. See her engagement story.
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