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The when, where, and look of a wedding seem to get all the attention, but don’t overlook the impact you can make with your song selections! Have you ever heard of those couples who make a pact to start swaying together whenever they hear their first dance song, even if it’s the grocery store? I have, and they always make me smile :)

At the same time, don’t despair if you and your fiance don’t have an obvious special song choice for your first dance — many of the Southern Weddings gals didn’t, either, but you can bet the songs we chose are special to us and our husbands now! Incorporating meaningful details from your relationship so far is one of the best ways to celebrate your love story, but your wedding day is also a great opportunity to make new memories.

If you’re looking for a totally fresh idea on the song front, we love the vintage warmth of Eamon’s new single, “Be My Girl” for a fun, upbeat option! Eamon was inspired by newlywed life with his new wife to write it – so sweet! “This is the kind of song that I’ve always wanted to write,” he says, “but it’s never come out of me. I think a lot of that has to do with being newly married and having my best friend as the love of my life.”

Photo by Rebekah Senter Photography from Rose Hill Mansion Wedding by Eventi Floral and Events

We’ve asked so many real brides to share their song selections over the years, and unsurprisingly, their inspiration has run the gamut: maybe it was playing during a pivotal moment in their relationship, it was popular when they were falling in love, or it’s the song they love to sing along to together most often.

Still others have chosen a new song they’ve fallen in love with specifically for their first dance to cement that memory in their minds (in that case, “Be My Girl” would be a perfect pick!). I also love the idea of borrowing a traditional song from your parents’ or grandparents’ first dances!


Photo by The Ganeys from Colorful New Year’s Eve Wedding by Ashton Events

Thanks to the great responses on this #SWFrontPorch post and a little brainstorming from our team, we put together this Spotify playlist for you to sashay around the kitchen to as you try out options with your beau! Here’s a cheat sheet of the tunes in store:

I’d love to hear: What first dance song are you leaning toward, or did you choose? I went with “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin (a classic choice for our seaside wedding!), but “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz was a close second!

This post is sponsored by Red Music. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar Kyla Fetzner reply

    Dillon and I chose ‘The Wedding Song’ by Matt Maher… The words were everything to us and our story!

  2. avatar Jessica Allendorf reply

    My husband Tucker (best friend of 26 years) picked me up from my college the first weekend of freshmen year (his sophomore year) and brought me up to his alma mater Clemson. Riding in the truck, windows down, he played Groovin’ Slowly by John Butler Trio. We’ve been dancing to that song for 8 years now, including our first dance 2 months ago today! 5/27/17

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    “She’s Like Texas” would be a PRECIOUS first dance song!!

  4. avatar Lauren reply

    We are going to dance to “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait for our first dance. We love George and we dance to that song in our living room all the time.

  5. avatar Meghann Richardson reply

    We actually chose “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice. My husband does not like to be the center of attention, but chose to dance in front of 200 because he knew it was important to me. I smile every time it comes on the radio.

  6. avatar Morgan Cox reply

    We danced to “In Case You Didn’t Know” by Brett Young… it said everything that we want to say to each other!

  7. avatar Brooke Foley reply

    My husband and I danced to From the ground up by Dan and Shay. It was absolutely perfect! We loved how it incorporated wedding vows and spoke of not only the hard work marriage takes but also the heritage and legacy it builds!

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Hey, newly-engaged friends! Have you moved on from that constantly-staring-at-your-ring phase? No? That’s okay, it’s a good one :) But when you do, you’re going to want to make sure you know exactly how to take care of that pretty sparkler so it stays in tip-top shape. We asked our friends at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, a company that specializes in protecting jewelry, for a few of their best tips, and here’s what they had to say…

Do regularly clean your ring at home. Jewelers Mutual recommends gently scrubbing your ring with a soft, baby-size toothbrush in a bowl of Dawn dish detergent and warm water. Dry it with a paper towel or regular cloth, being careful not to snag the prongs. Steer clear of open drains and floor vents – eek!

Do visit your jeweler twice a year for a professional cleaning and inspection. I only do this once a year, but I always do it in the month of my wedding anniversary so it’s easy to remember! My jeweler will do a cleaning and inspection for free for past clients — perhaps yours will, too!

Don’t wear your ring while doing certain activities. Jewelers Mutual recommends removing your ring before swimming, exercising, applying sunscreen and bug spray, gardening, and cooking with your hands. Which I’m sure is exactly what responsible people do. But can I tell you a secret? I leave my ring on for all of those things, mostly because I’m more afraid I’ll lose it by constantly taking it off than I am it will get damaged! If you’re going to go my route, be extra good about getting your ring cleaned and inspected regularly. And if you’re going to go the recommended route, choose one safe spot where you always keep your ring when it’s not on, like a pretty box or bowl.

Don’t pack your jewelry in a checked bag. Always wear it on your person or pack it in a carry-on, and handle your carry-on yourself. I’ve heard way too many sad tales of lost bags and airport mishaps to do otherwise!

Do turn your ring around if you’re traveling in a dangerous area. It’s a simple step to minimize exposure.

Do insure your ring. When I think about how much my ring means to me and how devastated I would be if I lost and couldn’t replace it, insuring it is a no-brainer. The cost is typically 1-2% of the value of your ring, and with Jewelers Mutual, you can choose your own deductible. They also cover replacement due to loss, theft, damage, mysterious disappearances (which, let’s be honest, most ring disappearances would probably be filed under “mysterious”), floods, and earthquakes. Many typical homeowners’ insurance policies only cover replacement due to theft.

For your own handy guide to all things cleaning and care for your engagement ring, download this guide from Jewelers Mutual today. While you’re there, get a quick quote to see how easy it is to protect your new sparkler. And now tell me (and be honest!): do you take your ring off or leave it on for things like swimming, exercising, and baking?

This post is sponsored by Jewelers Mutual, a company we’ve worked with for years. Thanks for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Ashley Seda reply

    So glad I found this blog! I had been having trouble working with my current insurance company to add-on my ring. So excited to try out Jewelers Mutual.

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One of the MOST common questions I receive from readers is what gift I gave my husband on our wedding day. And I totally get that – if there was ever a time to gift an heirloom, or something that will become part of your new family’s lore, it would seem like your wedding day would be the day! Exchanging gifts and letters to open before your first look (if you’re doing one) or your ceremony can be a wonderful way to reflect on what your wedding day is really about, celebrate your history, create a family heirloom for your future home, and build anticipation for seeing each other.

Sometimes coming up with a great gift idea that will tell the story of your relationship or surprise your fiance is easy… or maybe you need a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing, and that’s okay, too! Today, a few of our friends and readers are sharing what they gave their husbands as wedding day gifts, and they are as sweet, meaningful, and thoughtful as you could hope for. We would LOVE to hear from y’all in the comments, too, and really make this a helpful resource for the next gal who emails me! :)

P.S. I gifted my husband an original framed oil painting of a sand dune that reminded me of the area in Michigan where his family has a home. It now hangs in our bedroom!

Photo by Jen Fariello from Priya and Tom’s wedding

My husband and I actually conspired together and gifted ourselves a post-wedding day spa trip that was scheduled for IMMEDIATELY following the wedding! After changing out of our wedding clothes and driving off from the reception venue, we headed straight for a luxurious spa in downtown Atlanta and treated ourselves to some serious decompressing after a SUPER long day! It was SO needed and it allowed us to decompress and giggle about what just happened in the past 24 hours. CRAZY – yet super romantic!
–Lacoya Heggie of Hello Love Events, @HelloLoveWeddings

Throughout our engagement, I had been secretly writing in the Southern Weddings Memories of Us Journal, and this was part of my wedding gift to Rob. I’d chronicled our engagement and wedding planning journey, as well as writing and reflecting on all of our most vivid memories together, our favorite dates, when I knew he was the one, and so much more. I also gave Rob a pair of cuff links with an “S” on them, which were passed down from my maternal grandparents. My parents gave these heirloom cuff links to me last summer right after my grandma passed away and when they knew that Rob was the one. My mom’s maiden name began with an “S,” and our last name begins with an “S,” as well, so it was only fitting that Rob become the next owner of this treasured family heirloom.
–Stephanie Shaul of Stephanie Scholl Events, @StephanieShaul (See Stephanie’s wedding planning process!)

My husband’s Pawpaw died from cancer before we ever started dating, but I knew just how much his Pawpaw meant to him and how close they were. For our wedding, I wanted him to know that he was still with him in spirit. I got my husband a wooden cutting board with an elephant engraved on it. Elephants were his Pawpaw’s favorite animal, and he collected them. I got his Nanny to give me an old card from his Pawpaw, and I got his signature engraved on the board, as well.
–Katy Osborne

I got a huge custom wooden frame from Hobby Lobby with a thick mat, sized to fit a wedding picture in it eventually. On the mat I hand wrote our wedding vows! I filled it with an engagement picture for now, and it will eventually go over our bed. I just got married a month ago and still smile a ton every time I see it!
–Avian Nuckolls

Photos by Esther Louise from McKara and Brandon’s wedding

I got my husband an embossed Bible and a lapel pin of his Scottish family crest. Nothing major or crazy expensive, but they are very significant because the two most important things to the two of us are our faith and our families, and they are two of the things we want to carry into marriage with us.
–Pamela Bunten

My husband and I travel a TON (we move to a new city every four months!). When we travel, we each take on different roles – I do a lot of planning in advance, and then once we’re there, he is the directions guy. He is amazing with maps and has a great sense of direction, so he is always leading us around on our adventures. For his wedding day gift, I got him a Tiffany sterling silver compass. I had it engraved with our wedding date, our initials, and “Our Adventure.”
–Emily Yates

I ended up giving my husband a valet box filled with a few smaller, meaningful goodies. I designed the box myself, and asked my dad to build it using wood from some family land that I own. Then, I had a trophy shop make a plaque for the top with my husband’s monogram, and one for the inside of the lid with a personal note from me. I told my husband it was my way of bringing my past (family land) and present (my dad making it) together for something for the future (our marriage). My husband loved it and I’m hoping this will be something that will become a legacy piece that will be handed down to our children at some point.
–Christian Howell

Since I was fifteen years old, every month I have written love letters to my “future husband,” telling him about my life, my heart, how much I already love him, and how I am already praying for him. I continued writing throughout our courtship and engagement. The day of our wedding, I put the letters in envelopes and tied everything up with pretty ribbon. There was one he was supposed to open before I walked down the aisle, and the rest of the letters we read together on our honeymoon and are still reading today. He said it was the best gift he has ever received and that the letters are still so precious to him.
–Caroline Willis

I bought the vows print from the SW shop and had it framed for Bradley. It now hangs in our bedroom next to a huge canvas of our favorite wedding portrait and serves as a reminder of the vows we took that day.
–Jennifer Cantrell

Photo by Mandy Busby from Elise and Paul’s wedding

As my gift to Robert, I needlepointed a classic, black and white cummerbund. I designed the pattern before we were even engaged, and I spent our whole engagement year stitching in secret. It brought me so much joy to give a gift that I know my husband will treasure forever!
–Caroline Jones

I gave my husband a large, framed picture of a sunrise we watched together while camping on top of a mountain before we got engaged. It was a favorite memory of ours and a gorgeous image. The photograph had been stored on our laptop for years and would probably still be in a folder on our desktop if I hadn’t printed it as his gift!
–KJ Boyer

Joining our money was a topic of ongoing discussions throughout our dating life and engagement. (I’m a spender and he’s a saver.) For his gift, I had a money clip engraved with “The joining of bank accounts. Zachary & Olivia. April 28, 2017.” I filled it with some cash just for him, but I think he ended up buying souvenirs for me on our honeymoon! My dad always carried a money clip, and I thought gifting my new husband one was a sweet nod to my past and Zach’s new role.
–Olivia Denhoff

Friends, I’d love to hear: if you gave your husband a gift on your wedding day, what was it? Please chime in below!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Melissa Mackvick reply

    My husband and I LOVE to travel and have been to a number of places together, so I knew from the moment we got engaged that I wanted to give him something related to our travels but I had no idea what! After months of researching and gathering ideas, I ordered a large custom map of the world that said “World Travels of the Mackvicks” at the top. It also came with pins in different colors that you could put into the map to indicate your next destination, your favorite trip, where you’ve been together, etc. It now hangs in his office and surrounding the map are photographs and pieces of artwork we’ve taken or collected from our trips!

  2. avatar Kathryn Widman reply

    My husband and I would have never met if it wasn’t for Clemson University. We both went to college there, only a year apart, with a ton of mutual friends, but we never met. We didn’t meet until we had both moved to Washington, DC for jobs and were introduced at an Alumni Football Watching Event at a local bar, became friends, and months later started dating. I’ve had my Clemson class ring since before I even graduated, but he never got one. I’ve known for almost the entire 5 years of dating that I was going to gift him this on our wedding day. Almost all of his guy friends have one and Clemson is what brought us together, so I always knew. Over the years, I thought he would either buy one for himself or guess that he would get it from me eventually, but he was totally shocked (and emotional) when he opened it up at our First Look. It’s one of my favorite memories from our Wedding Day. Now we both have our Clemson rings. And our photographer got some great shots! {We also wrote each other notes for that morning to read and he gave me a lovely gold necklace from a family-owned jeweler in Charleston, SC where I’m from to remind me of home}. It wasn’t about the gifts, but what they meant to us.

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