Have you and your fiancé sat down to talk about your first dance? If you’ve already decided on the perfect song to share on your special day, great! However, if you haven’t, you may be running into a few issues in doing so.

Life is, undoubtedly, different for modern couples than it was for previous generations. This concept is seen in so many ways—how we pick someone up for a date, how we give gifts, how we say “I love you,” and so much more. A huge way that romance and relationships have changed over the years is in the way we listen to music. Let’s look into why you may be struggling to lock down the music for your wedding, as well as provide some helpful tips for making this important wedding day decision.

When people dated in the 80’s, it seemed like they were predestined to love the music that they did. That’s because they had far fewer options. At their favorite hamburger joint, they had the choice of a few CD’s from the jukebox and the radio played generally the same genre of music for much of the time.

They may have even had a special song for their senior prom—which is a concept very foreign to millennials that grew up after this era. There was such a fixation on specific songs because there were simply fewer music options but also the mutual and collective love for that song to back it up. Because of these reasons, society lent itself to developing “prom songs.”

This, of course, made for a heartwarming tradition of using this song for the first dance when high school sweethearts got married. However, not a lot of high school sweethearts make it to the altar anymore.

There’s no question as to why some millenials feel disconnected from the music that we hear on the radio today. In fact, many millenials have traded in live radio for on-demand alternatives such as Spotify or Pandora. In other words, we tailor the playlists that we prefer to hear as we go about our day so music is a far less connecting experience than it was for generations past.

We don’t have the same sense of unity that our parents had when they turned on the radio in the 80’s. No one collectively “loves” any particular song like our parents did and instead, our society tends to vilify the top 40 radio in favor of “oldies” or independent “indie” music. For many millenials and younger generations, the lyrics mean a lot less than they did to our parents. This is reflected by the pop music industry and further alienates those who still place value in truly connecting with the words of a song.

You’ve heard of the Netflix sensation called “Stranger Things,” but have you ever stopped to consider why people love it so, so much? It’s because of the nostalgia. You have two very distinct demographics who watch this show: the parents who are seeing their childhoods and teenage years recreated for the younger generations to watch and the younger generations that are wishing that they had lived like that as children. In addition to the music of the 80’s, millenials are bringing back 80’s fashion, tape recorders, Polaroid cameras, cartoons and videogames. There are teenagers and young adults that find themselves in a strange place of feeling nostalgic for a time before they were even born.

In many ways, millenials are trying to take pop culture back to the way it was when our parents were young. It’s apparent in so many of the things we enjoy.

In addition to this, music is less “in love” than it was in the 70’s and 80’s. There are fewer love songs being played on the radio and therefore, fewer songs for couples to hear and think “this song is SO US.”

So, I know what you’re asking: “Why are you talking about this on the Dream Weddings blog? What on earth does the changing music industry have to do with my wedding?” Well, truth be told, the music and wedding industries are very closely related.

Have you and your fiancé discussed what song you’ll choose for your first dance? Likely, your parents didn’t even have to think about it but you do. Maybe he likes to listen to alternative rock and you’re more into folk music. Just because you love him, doesn’t mean that you love his taste in music—and vice versa. If you haven’t already considered this as a potential difference in opinion, maybe it’s time to start planning for some damage control.

Due to the vast spectrum of music genres to enjoy today, you and your fiancé may find it challenging to arrive at a perfect first dance song, let alone choose the rest of the special music that you’ll need to include in your wedding day.

This being said, you do not need to have a first dance. If this is becoming a point of tension between the two of you, just cut it! You shouldn’t force yourselves to disagree over a wedding tradition that you don’t even need to celebrate. It’s up to you!

However, if having a first dance is still important to you, there are a few other things to consider that will help narrow down the choices for you.

Since we’ve already established that the 80’s are universally adored, then maybe you could consider one of the classic love songs from this era of music. Maybe you’ll want to dance to the song your parents chose for their first dance.

If you want to choose a more current song, the next thing you can consider is choosing the song based on the lyrics. A quick internet search can reveal a lot of options for love songs with great lyrics. You might find a song that’s completely new to both you and your fiancé but because of what the song conveys, it’s the perfect choice for you!

You can also use this exciting age of social media to your advantage! Post a status asking your friends and family for their suggestions: “What song do you think of when you think of me and my fiancé?” You may get some really fun suggestions and also have the option to include a song that is important to someone you love.

Just because we live in an age that doesn’t produce as many love songs, doesn’t mean you can’t find a song that perfectly sums up your relationship and gives you great music to play while you dance with your spouse for the very first time. Get creative, do some research and ask around. You’re going to find something that’s perfect for you, even if you have to work harder than your parents did back in the day. Even though the world is changing, it’s as good a time as ever to be in love.

Image by Whitcomb Photography