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Wedding planning is stressful. There are so many choices of wedding dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, wedding locations, DJs and bands. It's possibly the largest party you've ever planned in your life, and everyone who is special to you will be there. The choices that you and your spouse-to-be make reflect who you are and what's important to you and nothing says more about you than your choice of music.

The bridal dance is one of the centerpieces of the reception and an opportunity for you and your spouse to send a message to each other and your guests about yourselves and how you feel about one another. That's why picking a song can be incredibly difficult and often creates a great deal of stress. You may think one song is perfect, while your fiancé may have something entirely different in mind. How can you possibly reach an agreement?

The truth is that a week after the wedding, no one but you (and maybe your spouse) will remember the song, so although it may seem like an incredibly important decision as the wedding approaches, in the long run, it's really not crucial. What truly matters is how you feel about each other, and that's something that will last long beyond your wedding day.

Keeping that bit of wisdom in mind, the most important element in choosing the song for your bridal dance is to find one that you both enjoy dancing to. If the song has a message about life or love that particularly speaks to you, even better, but it's not essential. For the sake of your guests, especially the older crowd, it's best to avoid anything with overly suggestive lyrics. Also, you should stay away from songs that send a really incongruous or disturbing message, such as the first-time groom and second-time bride who entered the reception hall to Madonna's "Like a Virgin," inducing a group cringe that registered on seismometers from Cherry Hill to Morristown.

While you may feel confident that you can avoid picking a truly inappropriate song, you may still feel overwhelmed with the vast array of music you have to choose from. You may be wondering, "Where do I start?" There are several approaches you can take.

Is there a particular song that reminds you of your first date or another special time in your relationship? If so, and it's not in the cringe-inducing category mentioned above, you're all set. But if you're in the other 99 percent, read on for more suggestions on how to find, if not the perfect song, at least a perfectly good song, for your first dance.

First, narrow the field. Chances are you don't both have the same exact musical tastes. Start by agreeing on a type of music you both like, whether it's pop, reggae, classic rock or show tunes. Next, see if you can focus on a few artists or shows that you both really like. Pull out your music collection and start scanning the song titles for ones that you particularly like. Play a few of them out loud and start dancing. Pretty soon, you'll find several potential choices. If one doesn't pop right out at you, make a note of your short list and keep playing those songs over the next few days or weeks. It's likely that pretty soon one of them will strike you as being a keeper.

Another option is to talk to your DJ or band leader. These folks have worked at tons of weddings and have seen and heard it all. Tell your music provider a little bit about your musical tastes, and he or she is bound to have some good suggestions. You may also be able to find a list of popular choices in a bride magazine. Again, play those songs, try dancing to them, and see if any of them works for you both.

If neither of these approaches leads you to a clear decision, it's time to bring the element of chance into the game. Presumably, by this point, you have a list of songs that you like pretty well, and the only thing left is to choose one of them. Start by agreeing that you'll play all of the potential songs at some point during the reception, and then just choose one at random, whether by closing your eyes and pointing your finger at the list or by putting all the choices into a hat and choosing one blind.

Remember, no matter which song you choose, what really counts is the partner you've chosen for the dance.