For the first time in seven years, Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" hit was bumped from the No. 1 spot
Ed Sheeran has been dethroned by the king of rock 'n' roll!
As part of its annual Real Weddings Study, The Knot surveyed couples to rank the most popular first dance songs for brides and grooms in 2023. For the first time in seven years, Sheeran's "Perfect" was bumped from the No. 1 spot — by none other than music legend Elvis Presley, whose "Can't Help Falling in Love" ballad is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
Esther Lee, deputy editor of The Knot, tells PEOPLE that the recent release of two major Elvis-related films, Elvis and Priscilla, has likely contributed to the "All Shook Up" singer being included on couples' wedding playlists. For the Elvis biopic, country music star Kacey Musgraves recorded an emotional version of the timeless song.
The 1961 hit also made an appearance in the popular 2018 movie Crazy Rich Asians via a new rendition by Kina Grannis.
"Beyond that, the lyrics and musical composition of the song, which was released in November 1961 [as part of] Presley's Blue Hawaii album, remain timelessly romantic for couples who want to convey the sentiment of falling — and staying — in love," Kang notes.
Behind "Perfect," Taylor Swift took the No. 3 spot on the list with "Lover," off her 2019 album of the same name.
"Calling all Swifties!" Lee says. "If there's anything we learned about the power of fandom this year, it's that followers of an artist will pull their favorite songs into special occasions, be it a milestone birthday party, engagement moment and, of course, the first dance. Music is a powerful way to connect with the senses and one that speaks to pop culture history."
Swift has been everywhere this year — most notably, traveling the world for her Eras Tour and cheering on boyfriend Travis Kelce at NFL stadiums across the country — so it's no surprise that couples had her on their mind when choosing their first dance song.
"If we reflect on this past year, we've seen Taylor Swift experience breakout professional and personal successes. Naturally, fans continued to include her chromatic song 'Lover' on their wedding playlists, including one to commemorate their first dance," Lee tells PEOPLE.
The fourth-most popular first dance song was "Growing Old with You" by Restless Road, followed by "Thank God" by Kane and Katelyn Brown, "Joy of My Life" by Chris Stapleton and the Etta James classic "At Last."
Notably, eight of the top 10 songs are by Grammy-nominated/winning artists.
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According to The Knot, couples continue to make music a key part of their weddings. Forty-four percent of couples surveyed in the Real Weddings Study said they incorporated unique musical choices into their ceremony, including bagpipes and rock music.
A last dance is a growing trend. The survey found that 26 percent of couples savored one final turn on the dance floor together after all of their guests had left the venue.
DJs also remain a popular choice. More than 70 percent of brides and grooms hired a DJ to spin their wedding playlist, while 13 percent brought in a live band.
The Knot's 2023 Real Weddings Study captured responses from 9,318 U.S. couples married between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2023.
To help bring their weddings to life — including the music — couples can use The Knot Vendor Marketplace to find and connect with DJs and live bands, as well as all types of other vendors.
Additionally, entries for The Knot's second annual Win a Wedding are open, which covers the cost of up to 10 U.S. vendors and up to $50,000 for weddings taking place between March 28 and March 28, with entries open now until Feb. 28.
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