Traditionally the bride and groom get to have the first dance of the evening solo on the dance floor in front of all of their guests, to the music played by their band or DJ. In modern weddings of today, this dance can be anything from a slow jam to a hip-hop dance battle. It’s a ceremonial and common moment for most weddings, but can be modernized and tailored to showcase each couples’ style on their wedding day.
The first dance at a wedding is a fun and romantic opportunity for the bride and groom to celebrate their marriage, and there are many ways to go about preparing for and executing a successful first dance.
If you are nervous about dancing in front of your friends and family, you may want to take a dance lesson or three prior to the big day. Even if you are a dancing machine, you may still want to sign up with your partner for dance lessons. Most dance studios offer drop-in classes that allow you to test the water before purchasing a package of lessons. If you are really trying to keep your budget down check out community forums relevant to the dance scene in your city or look up your local recreational center’s activity schedule to see if they have any free dance lessons coming up. Some studios also host open houses, which are nights when the lessons are free to the public. Peruse dance studio websites in your area and you are bound to find dance lessons to suit your needs.
If you do not know which style of music you want to play while you have your first dance as a married couple and still want to sign up for dance lessons, choose something that is easily transferrable such as ballroom dancing or salsa. These styles of dance lend basic dance moves that you can apply to most types of music, setting you and your significant other for a win-win situation. Forget about your two left feet and just relax, try not to take yourself too seriously, and enjoy the extra time you get to have doing an activity with your fiancé.
For those that are already confident in their dance skills and want to not only have a first dance, but a memorable one for their friends and family, some couples decide to choreograph their entire first dance routine together. Other brides and grooms individually choreograph first dance routines to surprise his or her new spouse, making for an entertaining wedding moment. A quick Google search of “surprise first dance” yields thousands of results, revealing that many young couples are using the first dance as both a moment to celebrate their marriage as provide their significant other (and all the guests) with some entertainment on the big day.
Another tip to ensure your first dance goes off without a hitch is to ensure both you and your partner are on the same page—if you want a quick song and they want a love ballad, seek common ground before your wedding party begins so that your photographs aren’t filled will an eye-rolling or stressed-looking dance partner. Plus, if you are comfortable during the first dance, your guests will be comfortable as well! On that note, it is advisable to keep your audience in mind if you decide to choreograph and surprise your guests during your first wedding dance. For example, you may not wish to have a song laden with foul language and R-rated dance moves if your wedding is a family-friendly event. On the other hand, if you plan to lip sync a twelve minute love ballad, your dance moves better be stellar and engaging, otherwise your guests will most certainly be crying by the end—and not out of tears of joy, mind you. If you decide to make your dance a performance, ask yourself if you would feel comfortable or happy if you were the guest, and if the answer is YES then you probably do not have anything to worry about.
Does the first dance as a couple just not appeal to you? That’s perfectly fine! Some couples opt out of the spotlight moment and invite all of the other couples in attendance join them on the dance floor for the first wedding dance. This is a great way to kick off the dancing portion of the evening while also avoiding any potential embarrassment if one or both partners are shy about dancing in public. As a pro-tip, dance lessons help ease folks out of this nervousness and can loosen you up in time to shine for the big day instead of dreading your first dance. Of course, each individual is different so set your first dance up exactly how you want to remember it and the rest is literally history.
Now for the final yet key ingredient to whipping up the most epic first dance of your life—the music. Truly almost any genre of music can be used for a first wedding dance, and it is up to the couple to decide what kind of music and what song they want for this moment. Some couples choose their “song,” which has been the soundtrack to their relationship so far and holds deep sentimental value. Other couples have a song in mind that they think is special for their wedding day (hello, every Ed Sheeran song ever). For those who decide to choreograph or create a custom dance routine to entertain the masses, it may not be so much of a sentimental tune but rather a song that sets the tone for their performance. If you just can’t decide what song you want for your first dance, ask your wedding band or the DJ for your wedding which songs they recommend. You never know, they could suggest a song you forgot ever existed and love the idea. Regardless of what music you play, how you dance, or what you look like doing it, do yourself a favour and enjoy every minute of it because it only lasts a few minutes.