R&B music first appeared in the 1940s, and it has taken many forms since. Beginning in African American communities in the United States, R&B is a style of music that has transcended cultures and musical genres.
Each decade of R&B music offered something completely new. So, if you’re looking for some great first dance wedding songs R&B, then you won’t struggle to find a song that matches your personality.
This is a list of fifteen of our favorite R&B wedding songs. We’ve tried to ensure that we’ve selected a nice range of ‘genres’ across multiple decades. Don’t like any of these songs? That’s cool. Look for related artists/tracks. We guarantee you that there will be something there for you to enjoy.
The Best First Dance Wedding Songs R&B
You will also love these other popular play lists for the ultimate wedding songs collection for your big day:
1. ‘At Last’ – Etta James
Lyrics You’ll Love: At Last / My love has come along / My lonely days are over / and life is like a song
Yes. ‘At Last’ is an incredibly overplayed song at weddings, but for very good reason; it is amazing. It is the song that perfectly encapsulates the love that the happy couple share for one another. This is a song that celebrates love, and the future of that love.
Etta James is a beautiful singer, and this makes the perfect R&B wedding song for those that are looking to kick-start their wedding life with a slow dance.
Yes. Everybody at your wedding would have probably heard this song playing before but, you know what? They really won’t mind! It’ll bring a tear to their eye.
2. ¨’My Girl’ – The Temptations
Lyrics You’ll Love: I’ve got a sweeter song / than the birds in the trees / well, I guess you’d say / What can make me feel this way
If you are looking for something a bit perkier than ‘At Last’, then ‘My Girl’ may be just the ticket. It is much more of a bop, and you should have no issues bouncing around to it. However, it is still slow enough for those that still need that slow dance as their first dance.
Listen to the lyrics to ‘My Girl’ and the meaning of the song is very clear; the main character (the male) is incredibly happy because he is with the love of his life. He doesn’t need anything as long as he has his love close to him. This makes this one of our favorite first dance wedding songs R&B.
3. ‘Endless Love’ – Lionel Richie & Tina Turner
Lyrics You’ll Love: I want to share / All my love with you / No one else will do…
If we had to pick a couple of singers to sing us a duet, then Lionel Richie & Tina Turner would be at the top of the list. They are both brilliant singers, and they have complementary tones. When ‘Endless Love’ came out, it must have been a real treat to hear this pairing for the first time.
This slow (but not too slow) song is about a couple wanting to share their love with one another. How they are only complete when they are together. We love the fact that it is a male/female duet too.
A lot of first-dance wedding songs just have one point of view, which is fine. But, there are two people in love here, so two points of view work amazingly!
4. ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ – Michael Jackson
Lyrics You’ll Love: You know how I feel / This thing can’t go wrong / I’m so proud to say I love you/ Your love’s got me high
Michael Jackson is arguably one of the best male vocalists in history. Whether he was singing about love, the environment, or monster attacks, he has a voice that really pulls you in.
So, it makes sense that one of his songs would make our list of the best R&B first dance songs. Hint: It is not the monster attack one.
‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ tells the story of first love, the feelings that it conjures up, and how proud a person feels to be loved by their special somebody. This is another duet (with the lesser-known Siedah Garrett), so it is another song that really makes sense as a first dance tune.
5. ‘You Are My Lady’ – Freddie Jackson
Lyrics You’ll Love: I just want to show my feelings for you / There’s nothing that I’d rather do/ Than spend every moment with you / I guess you should know I love you so
We have always loved the music video to this song. Freddie Jackson since this beautiful ballad to somebody that he deeply loves. He is unloading on her all the feelings that he has had bottled up for. A proper outpouring of love, and the lyrics have a huge amount of depth to them.
‘You’re my lady. You’re everything you need and more’ is one of the best lines to have your first dance with your partner with.
6. ‘At Your Best’ – Aaliyah
Lyrics You’ll Love: ‘Cause at your best, you are loved / You’re a positive motivating force within my life
We are going slightly more modern with this song from Aaliyah. It isn’t your traditional first dance song, but we really think it works, especially if you are looking for something incredibly upbeat.
We won’t lie, a lot of the lyrics don’t make a huge amount of sense. This was clearly a song that was designed to be commercially successful, but you have the stunning voice of Aaliyah to take you on the journey.
Every so often, she will share a real lyrical zinger. When you listen properly, you’ll hear lyrics that talk about love and how, if the person they love ever wants to know, they will list the reasons why that love exists.
It is a beautiful song, and very ‘alternative’, so we can’t imagine too many people would have had this as their first dance song at a wedding.
7. ‘Never Felt This Way’ – Brian McKnight
Lyrics You’ll Love: How it takes my breath, starts a pounding in my chest / Makes me weak when I think about you
We once saw Brian McKnight’s ‘Never Felt This Way’ as the perfect song to convey romantic thoughts that you can’t quite articulate yourself, and this is a fantastic description of this song.
The entirety of the song is Brian McKnight just detailing every romantic thought imaginable, while also insisting that he cannot live without his partner. That he would never want to live with out his partner.
As the name suggests, he literally as never felt this way before. Another perfect one of the first dance wedding songs R&B. We can guarantee you that there won’t be a dry eye in the house after this track!
8. ‘Marry Me’ – Jason Derulo
Lyrics You’ll Love: How many girls in the world can make me feel like this? / Baby, I don’t ever plan to find out / The more I look, the more I find the reasons why / You’re the love of my life
Wipe that shocked expression off your face! We know that Jason Derulo is a bit of an ‘out there’ song for a first wedding dance, but trust us. It really works.
As the name of the song suggests, this is more of a song about a man pledging that he will marry a woman because there is no other person he could ever want.
Since you’re having your first dance, we imagine that you are already married (congratulations!), but the lyrics still work. It is about love. How there is nobody else out there that will work better than this couple.
We love this song for a first wedding dance song too. Jason Derulo is pretty upbeat, so you can show off your dance moves and not have to worry about that slow dancing.
9. ‘Lets Stay Together’ – Al Green
Lyrics You’ll Love: ‘Cause you make me feel so brand new / And I want to spend my life with you
Do you want your wedding’s first dance to have an awesome drum beat on it? Well, you’ll love ‘Let’s Stay Together’ by Al Green. This is a proper old-school R&B song.
The lyrics are about staying together through the good and the bad because the couple is perfect for one another. How the love makes the singer seem so refreshed. Another great song if you don’t feel like slow dancing for your first wedding song.
10. ‘All of Me’ – John Legend
Lyrics You’ll Love: ‘Cause all of me / Loves all of you
John Legend is a modern day crooner, and ‘All of Me’ has all the elements of R&B songs from the 1970s and 1980s, just with a bit of a modern spin. Of course, you’ll also get John’s stunning voice singing you through the whole of that first dance at the wedding.
The lyrics are deep. How that love will exist no matter what happens. Love sees through both the perfect and the imperfect. The couple are made for one another. This is a song that we are seeing played a lot at weddings nowadays, and it isn’t hard to hear why.
11. ‘No One’ – Alicia Keys
Lyrics You’ll Love: No one, no one, no one / Can get in the way of what I’m feeling
Alicia Keys is one of the best active female singers right now. We could have chosen a lot of songs from her catalog to include on this list, but we feel that ‘No One’ is the best choice.
Lyrics are simple, but carry a lot of meaning. Nobody can stand in the way of love. If you feel like a faster dance for your first wedding dance, then this may be perfect. Plus, everybody knows this song, so it won’t be long before others join in!
12. ‘You’re My First, My Last, My Everything’ – Barry White
Lyrics You’ll Love: You’re all I’m living for / Your love I’ll keep for evermore
This is another wedding song that we don’t feel gets played enough as a first dance track. We suppose because most people are looking for those soothing ballads rather than the deep, booming tone of Barry White.
However, we don’t lie. This song really works as a first dance track, especially if you’re looking for something a bit less conventional.
The name of the song gives the game away about what this song is about. The singer has found the person that completes him. No slow dancing to this tune. Just a bit of head popping and plenty of smiles on faces.
13. ‘Always’ – Atlantic Star
Lyrics You’ll Love: And I dedicate my life to you always / A love like yours is grand / It must have been sent from up above
We love the introduction to ‘Always’ by Atlantic Star. You can just imagine the happy couple walking and then embracing each other for the first time ever as a happy couple.
The song is about dedicating a life to their love. It is a duet, with both the male and female singers declaring their love for each other. By now, you already know that these are some of our favorite songs for first dances. It means each person gets to ‘share’ their love.
14. ‘You Send Me’ – Sam Cooke
Lyrics You’ll Love: I know you, you, you thrill me / Darling you, you, you, you thrill me
We do love ourselves a bit of 50s R&B, and Sam Cooke’s ‘You Send Me’ is one of our favorites from the era. The lyrics are incredibly simple (as most 50s songs were), but the story is beautiful. It is about developing feelings from infatuation from wanting that person in your life for the rest of your life.
This is another more unique first dance wedding song but works for those that do favor the less-traditional. It is a shorter song too, so ideal for those that probably don’t want to be dancing with leering eyes on them for too long.
15. ‘The First Time’ – Surface
Lyrics You’ll Love: Can’t you tell from the look on my face that I love you more today / The first time I looked into your eyes I cried
Last, but certainly not least, we have ‘Surface’. This beautiful song tells the story of happy moments a couple shares. Simple things such as the first walk in the park, and then more romantic feelings such as the first time the happy couple fell in love.
If you want a first dance wedding song that tells the story of everything the two of you have been together as a couple, then this may be it.
There you have it. We have shared fifteen amazing first dance wedding songs R&B. Whether you are looking for something old-school like Etta James, or more modern music from Aaliyah, or Jason Derulo, we are sure that you’ve found a couple of amazing tunes for you. Enjoy your wedding!
What is the best R&B wedding first dance song?
‘At Last’ by Etta James is one of the most popular R&B wedding songs. It has beautiful lyrics, and Etta James’ tones will carry you off into heaven.
Do you have to slow dance for your first wedding dance?
No. You can always choose a more upbeat song if you wish. The first wedding dance is about you. Choose whatever song you want.