It’s a momentous occasion. It’s complicated. It’s expensive. And, more than any event in a person’s life, getting married takes time; after all, there’s far more to getting hitched than simply walking down the aisle. Weddings are events made of individual moments – the cutting of the cake, the speeches and the toasts, the many things your uncle shouldn’t have said to the pastor; and, of course, there’s the first dance.
One of the most common wedding traditions in the West, the first dance is just one of several such oddities from around the world. The online gaming site 888poker collated some of the more interesting rituals into an infographic recently, revealing traditions like the cleaning-up of smashed plates (Germany), breaking a bell full of grain (Guatemala), and even trying to run away without being seen by guests (Venezuela).
Obviously, each distinct wedding tradition has its own background and symbolic meaning – the sawing of a log by the bride and groom in Germany represents the overcoming of obstacles while Jewish families might crush a glass goblet (representing Solomon’s Temple, which was destroyed in the Siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC) underfoot. In comparison, the first dance is a comparatively modern practice – but no less important.
So, whether it’s the first dance or simply an excuse to party with your favorites in the evening, here are four of our top R&B tunes for your big day:
Frank Ocean: At Your Best
A stunning tribute to the late Aaliyah/Islay Brothers song, Ocean’s version is a bold rendition of a classic. Slowed down and recorded an octave lower than Aaliyah’s, “At your Best” has Ocean at his most passionate. It’s a rousing, synth-driven love song that’s worth hearing if only because it’s so different to his regular foot-tappers like “Swim Good”.
D’Angelo and The Vanguard: Really Love
A slow burner, this one. Driven by bass and strings (and even a little Spanish guitar), “Really Love” by the Grammy-nominated D’Angelo and The Vanguard is a straightforward, subtly sexual, and soulful number from the Black Messiah album. It’s a genre-busting song (there’s a bit of funk in there) but it’s perfect for the dance floor.
Pharrell: Gust of Wind
The antithesis of Frank Ocean’s crooning love song, Pharrell’s “Gust of Wind” is an upbeat, funky song with the artist’s trademark light guitar laid over Hans Zimmer strings and percussion. It’s also got a cameo from French electronica act Daft Punk in the chorus. We’re not too sure about that Mountie hat though, Pharrell.
Monica: Love All Over Me
Monica met her husband, NBA star Shannon Brown, on the video shoot for this song. Do we need to say anymore? From the Still Standing album, “Love All Over Me” is a throwback to 1990s R&B and the stylings of Toni Braxton. It’s one step away from a gospel song (and all the better for it) but it might be a bit too self-indulgent for some.
It’s just a starter for your wedding playlist but there’s plenty contained within whether you’re planning to slow dance or groove.