First Dance

May 20th, 2013
It looks as if they enjoyed their first dance.   Photo by hannahelaine photography (hannahelaine.com).

It looks as if they enjoyed their first dance. Photo by hannahelaine photography (hannahelaine.com).

I have noticed two distinct schools of thought among brides and grooms on the subject of the first dance at the wedding reception.  There are those who say, “Hooray, we get to dance together on our wedding day!”  And then there are those (probably in the majority) who say, “I just don’t want to embarrass myself.”  If you are in the first camp, you probably don’t need to know the rest of what I am going to say.  This is for the non-dancers.

First, let me remind you that the traditional first dance is completely optional.  If you don’t dance in the rest of your life, there is no requirement that you dance at your wedding.  It is the traditional way to let the guests know that the dance floor is open, but if you have a good DJ or dance band, they will find a way to get your guests onto the dance floor.

If you do opt to dance, there are ways you can manage to enjoy it.  Dance lessons are a good start.  At the very least, they will give you some confidence.  A good instructor can also help you with various dance moves and with feeling comfortable on the dance floor.  If you like, you can choreograph the steps to your dance (with the help of a professional, if needed) so you can practice it and feel sure you know what you are doing.

Another thing you can do is make sure that the song you choose for the dance is reasonably short.  Two or three minutes is plenty of first dance.  Actually, this is good advice for almost everyone.  Unless your dance skills are at a professional caliber, the point of the first dance is not to entertain your guests but as a moment for the two of you.  But since all your guests will be watching, keep it short and sweet.  Everyone will enjoy it more that way.

Also, be sure to pick a song that you like and that has a good dancing beat.  Not every song is meant for dancing, so choose carefully.  Your DJ or band leader can help you, as can a dance instructor.

You should be able to enjoy all the elements of your wedding and reception, so if you’re nervous about dancing, find a way to make it fun.

First Dance

March 11th, 2011
One kind of first dance.  Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

One kind of first dance. Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

If you are getting married this summer, you might be starting to think about your First Dance.  It’s an important wedding tradition for a lot of people and sometimes it takes some planning.

Of course, it’s not important to some people, at all, and I’m not saying you have to do it.  If you’re not dancers and you don’t want to dance, I say skip it.

But for those who are going to dance together at their wedding reception, here are some thoughts.  The first dance is usually a bit of a performance.  You don’t have to announce it to the guests, but if you do, then everyone will be watching.  Be prepared for the extra pressure and be sure you are both comfortable with the music and the moves you choose.

A different kind of dance, but they are having just as much fun.  Photo by hannahelaine photography (hannahelaine.com).

A different kind of dance, but they are having just as much fun. Photo by hannahelaine photography (hannahelaine.com).

I’ve seen all kinds of first dances, everything from a simple slow dance to an elaborately choreographed tango.  (The tango was done so well that the guests insisted on an encore!)  There’s nothing you can do that is “wrong.”  But if you want to make sure it is interesting for your guests–and easier for you–choose a song that is three or four minutes long.  It might be a mistake to have a ten minute first dance, especially if you are not an accomplished dancer.

Despite what I said before about performance pressure, try to remember that the important thing is that the dance is for the two of you.  It’s the first time in your married life that you’ll dance together and it ought to be a special moment.  So, if you lose the rhythm or forget a step, don’t sweat it.  Enjoy the dance.  It’s the first of many.