I’m periodically going to write about alternative wedding songs – new, independent artists, forgotten gems, lesser known cover songs, and quite a bit of Springsteen. If you’re an alternative bride and music aficionado and have suggestions, please e-mail me at natalie (at) nataliediener.com. I’m always looking for new music!
Some songs are timeless… which means that they will be popular first dance songs until the end of time. You cannot deny the appeal of those romantic melodies and beautiful lyrics. If you are planning a unique wedding in Philadelphia, finding an equally unique first dance song is crucial. But what do you do if you cannot tear yourself away from a classic song?
Case in point – Etta James “At Last”
This song has it all, from the sweeping string intro to lyrics that perfectly sum up all those wedding day emotions (“And here we are in heaven/ for you are mine/ at last”). So I would like to offer an alternative to all those alternative brides in Philadelphia.
Etta James may have set the bar for this song, but she was not the only musician to record it.
Eva Cassidy has a great acoustic rendition. I would recommend this version if acoustic guitars are your thing or if you’re looking for a version that would fit into a more rustic, country wedding.
If that’s not mellow enough for you, then check out Malene Mortensen’s dreamy cover. The soft piano, flute, and Mortensen’s voice are the only instruments creating the sound that will make you literally melt into your spouse’s arms. If you want male vocals, Elvis Costello teamed up with Marian McPartland on piano – this classic first dance song with jazz piano and Costello’s signature vibrato is a great combination.
Want something completely different? Stevie Wonder adds his touch to this song and creates the only up-tempo version in the bunch. For brides and grooms who want to show off more serious dance skills, this is your jam.
Last, but not least is Syrena Ryder’s powerful vocal-only cover of “At Last” – I couldn’t help imagine this simple song in the background of a slideshow… just a thought.
Are there other versions out there? Of course! Céline Dion has a smooth-jams synthesizer version if that’s what you’re into and of course Beyoncé covered “At Last” on the Cadillac Records soundtrack. I love Ms. Knowles but if you’re considering this version, I can’t help but recommend that you reconsider the original. Etta James could easily take Beyoncé in a sing off (in my humble opinion).
Know of any awesome versions I missed?