Royal weddings don’t leave a lot of room for creativity. You can hardly expect the Queen to go along with a destination wedding at some Playa del Carmen resort, or break it to the Archbishop of Canterbury that, thanks, but a random Suits actor already got ordained online.
That’s why the first dance is so special. It’s a rare opportunity for a royal couple to indulge in something that is personal to them—well, them and every other person who thinks "At Last" speaks to their soul. And because Her Majesty typically doesn’t stick around for the evening party, newlyweds are free to let loose with the tracks they actually like—or literally anything that isn’t "God Save The Queen."
Read on to see what royal couples have awkwardly swayed to in the past, and which performers are lining up to serenade Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle
Let's start with the obvious: Harry and Meghan. The couple pretty much have their pick of musicians when it comes to their May 2018 wedding, but a few big names have already volunteered as tribute. Stormzy has offered (opens in new tab) to do "a little acoustic for young Harry," while Sam Smith said (opens in new tab) it "would be a dream" to perform at the reception—provided he can wear a dress and crown. Fellow British ginger Ed Sheeran is also an option, but if the royal couple don’t want to be the 10 billionth bride and groom to bust out "Thinking Out Loud," they could draw inspiration from Meghan’s playlist. According to a post from her since-shuttered lifestyle blog The Tig (opens in new tab), she’s got a soft spot for Janelle Monáe, Dragonette, Maggie Rogers, Flight Facilities, and Mr. Littlejeans. Still: If marrying a prince doesn’t get you a private performance from Beyoncé, what is even the point?
Prince William & Kate Middleton
Honoring a British subject—er, singer—is a good look for the crown, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge managed to kill two birds with one stone by tapping Ellie Goulding to sing Elton John’s "Your Song" for their first dance in 2011. While we’d like to think that Will and Kate are just huge Moulin Rouge stans, the song choice may have actually been inspired by a commercial. Goulding’s cover appeared in a popular 2010 holiday ad for British department store John Lewis just a few months before the wedding.
"I did their first dance and like, talk about scary," Goulding later said (opens in new tab) of the experience. "I was so nervous, my hands were shaking."
Meanwhile, The Beatles' classic hit "She Loves You" was reportedly the last song of the night, capping off a playlist that included Stevie Wonder’s "Superstition," The Killers' "Mr. Brightside," [edit note: OH MY GOD, YESSSSS], "You’re the One That I Want" from Grease, and King of Leon’s "Sex on Fire." Which, 👀 .
Zara Phillips & Mike Tindall
The Olympic silver medalist daughter of Princess Anne went for an old-school classic when she wed rugby player Mike Tindall in July 2011—just three months after her cousin William’s nuptials. The couple danced (opens in new tab) to Frank Sinatra’s "I’ve Got You Under My Skin," possibly at the groom’s insistence. The sportsman once named Ol’ Blue Eyes as a dream dinner party guest—after Samuel L. Jackson and Nelson Mandela, mind you.
Prince Charles & Princess Diana
American bandleader Lester Lanin and his orchestra played (opens in new tab) jazz standards like Irving Berlin’s "They Say It’s Wonderful" at Charles and Di’s 1981 wedding reception. Lanin appears to have been the go-to for big-deal society affairs; he also entertained the well-heeled guests at the engagement party for Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco. Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley also booked him for their 1985 nuptials.
Princess Sofia & Prince Carl Philip
Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden chose a simple waltz (opens in new tab) for their first dance, sung by Per Bredhammar. But fear not—there was also plenty of familiar hits—like a Swedish version of Rihanna's "Umbrella (opens in new tab)." Even more amazing, Icona Pop and Avicii performed (opens in new tab) at the reception.
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