Mother-Son Wedding Dance Tradition (Meaning and History)

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Do you have questions about the mother-son wedding dance tradition?

If so, you’re in luck because we have the answers.

I have personally photographed over 500 weddings and have seen hundreds of mother-son wedding dances.

Let’s get right to the Q&A…

A mom hugging her son after the mother-son dance. This is for the article called mother-son wedding dance tradition

What Does The Mother-Son Dance Symbolize At A Wedding?

The mother-son wedding dance is a special tradition that gives the groom a chance to share a meaningful moment with his mother.

This special dance represents a couple of things…

  • It is a way for the groom to thank his mom for raising him and guiding him all the years leading up to the wedding day.
  • It shows that while the groom is heading into a new phase of life with his wife, he is not losing or replacing his mother’s love and importance.

Mothers often feel proud and emotional during this dance. They realize their little boy is now a grown man starting his own family.

The dance marks a transition, but it also affirms that a mother’s love and special relationship with her son will continue. This is the start of a new phase of life.

When Did The Mother-Son Wedding Dance Become Popular?

The mother & son wedding dance became popular in the 1980s and early 1990s as weddings started including more personal touches.

While not an ancient tradition like many other wedding events, the mother-son wedding dance has become very popular at most modern weddings (out of the 500 weddings I have photographed, less than 20 did not include a mother-son dance).

But remember…just because it has become popular/common, it’s certainly not required or considered absolutely necessary. If it is not something you want to include, go ahead and leave it out.

A mom dancing with her son at his wedding

What Is A Good Song For The Mother-Son Dance At A Wedding?

I have photographed over 500 weddings and have witnessed over 400 mother-son wedding dances.

I made a quick video that shows you how to use ChatGPT or Google Gemini to come up with a personalized list of songs that you and your mom can use for the wedding dance (it’s completely free to use):

How to use ChatGPT or Google Gemini to find the perfect mother-son wedding dance song

The 10 most common/popular songs that I have seen used are:

Check out this article for over 200 more mother-son wedding song ideas.

A mother and son dancing together at his wedding. This is for the article called mother-son wedding dance tradition

Mother-Son Wedding Dance Tradition FAQ

Here are a few more questions about the mother-son dance that we wanted to answer…

Who picks out the mother-son wedding dance song?

Typically, the groom picks the song for the mother-son wedding dance, or the groom and his mother choose the song together.

It’s a personal decision, and the song often reflects their relationship or shared memories.

If you are having trouble picking out a song, ask your wedding DJ for recommendations, or check out our article here: 200 songs to use for the mother-son wedding dance.

Is it traditional to have a mother-son dance at a wedding?

Yes, the mother-son dance has become a pretty common tradition at most weddings in The US.

Most weddings I photograph include a mother-son dance at the reception.

Remember, just because some things are traditional or common at weddings does not mean you must include them.

One of the nice things about modern weddings is that you get to make them your own.

If there are a few wedding traditions that you do not want to do, leave them out.

Start your own traditions.

Is it ok not to do a mother-son dance at a wedding?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to skip the mother-son wedding dance.

Every wedding is unique, and couples can decide which traditions to use and which to leave out. There are no set rules.

Some couples leave out of the mother-son dance for personal reasons, and some leave it out to allow for more open dance floor time.

A groom hugging his mom after the mother-son wedding dance

How long should a mother-son dance be at a wedding?

The mother-son dance typically lasts between 2-3 minutes.

If you want to make it even shorter, you can have your wedding DJ fade the song after a minute.

If you are going to shorten the song length by fading it out, let your wedding photographer know ahead of time so they can get all the photos they need.

Does the groom dance with his new mother-in-law?

While it’s not a typical wedding tradition, we have seen quite a few weddings where the groom dances with his new mother-in-law (or the bride with her new father-in-law).

This can be a separate dance or incorporated into the traditional parent dances.

We have even seen a few weddings where the bride and groom start doing their first dance, and then all of the parents join them on the dance floor.

Everybody dances with everybody.

Then they invite everyone else out onto the dance floor for a 10-minute upbeat dance set.

It’s a great way to start the wedding reception.

This typically happens right after announcements (just before dinner).

When does the mother-son dance take place at a wedding?

The mother-son wedding dance typically happens just after the father-daughter dance.

While there are no set rules with the order of dances, the dance order that we see the most looks like this:

  • First dance
  • Father-daughter dance
  • Mother-son dance

Sometimes the parent dances and the first dance are done one after the other right after announcements, and other times the parent dances happen later in the reception (just after dinner)

More Wedding Planning Tips and Resources

Here are a few more articles that you might find helpful while planning your wedding:

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