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Wedding First Dance Advice

Your First Dance as a Married Couple


Your first dance at your wedding reception may be the most stressful moment of your wedding day but it doesn’t have to be. Although it should be a time of reflection, romance and love, many couples dread the first dance because you are fearful of dancing, tripping or falling, or perhaps you fear performing in front of your family and friends. Whatever the reason, your first dance does not have to be a stressful event but a memorable and fun time you share with your loved ones.
Here are some helpful tips to ease your mind and calm your dancing fears based on the hundreds of wedding we’ve seen.

1. Do some planning. You have been planning your wedding for months and months – why not plan your first dance as well? First decide what type of dancing you will be most comfortable with, and then practice it as much as possible.

2. Your dress. Think about the clothing you will be wearing before deciding on a dance type. Tight wedding dresses will make taking large steps difficult. An off the shoulder dress will not allow your arms to go higher than your head (making turning and dipping impossible).

3. Turn to professionals. Your flowers will be purchased from a professional, your photographs taken by a pro. Why not hire someone or join a group to learn professional dancing? Even if it’s just one lesson you’re sure to pick up something. Chances are you may not become Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, but you will at least learn a few simple steps to keep you twirling and having fun.

4. Expand your song options. You may have your heart set on a certain song, but if you cannot dance to it, what good is it? Expand your selection to a few favorite songs and practice dancing to them. Decide which one of your options flows the best on the dance floor. Give careful thought to choosing a first dance song which reflects your relationship. Listen to all of the words closely before committing to a song. You and your fiancé might have a favorite song that you both really like, but upon careful listening, the lyrics might turn out to be less than romantic! Also keep your guests in mind when making your song selection. The first dance is public after all, and any song with overtly sexy lyrics or a couple “F” bombs is going to be embarrassing for certain guests to hear (sorry, Grandma!). If you’re completely stuck then you can never go wrong with Sinatra…

5. Decide on a song version. Now that you know the song, decide which version you want played. Sometimes songs have different versions. Make sure you present the one you want to your band or DJ. This is especially true for bands that sometimes alter the speed of songs. The last thing you will want is to be slow dancing to a fast beat. BRING A BACKUP COPY OF YOUR FIRST SONG! Trust me this is great advice.

6. Think about where you will be dancing, and practice on a similar surface. If you plan on dancing outdoors on the grass, practice outdoors. If you will be having an indoor reception, practice on a smooth floor indoors. Also practice in an area of about the same size as the dance floor of your reception location.

7. Practice in similar clothing. If you are planning on a long flow-y dress, practice your steps in a loose dress or skirt. If you plan on wearing a tight wedding dress, practice in a pencil skirt. Also make sure both you and your Groom practice your dance steps in the shoes you will be wearing on your wedding day. (This will also help to break them in)

8. Do not expect perfection, and do not get down on yourself or your Groom. No one is perfect, not even professional dancers. You will just add more stress to the situation if you place undue pressure on yourself and your spouse. Take it one step at a time – literally! You are dancing as a team and you may have to carry the flow if your partner forgets a step. They in turn will also help you so relax and work as a team.

9. Less May Be More. If you are having a tough time remembering the entire routine, consider trimming down your first dance song. Songs can be trimmed, faded out, and blended into a different song. You only need a minute or two on the dance floor. Often times we suggest to the couples that REALLY hate to dance that you can just dance the first parts of the song and then have the DJ bring on the rest of the bridal party to dilute the attention.

10. Be Yourself. You know your comfort level; you know your spouse’s comfort level. This is your day and your dance, be happy and do what is going to make you the least stressful. If ballroom dancing just isn’t for you, try something which is YOU.

There is the question of the choreographed first dance to include lots of fun routines, think of something like the twist dance competition from Pulp Fiction with Uma and John. Sometimes it is just the newlyweds doing a choreographed dance, and at other times, the entire wedding party gets in on the act. They can be humorous, but choreographed first dances are more about the spectacle than true love. It’s all about your personalities and style.

We have seen the routine from Pulp Fiction and it was a big hit. We have seen the bride and bridesmaids do a wedding hula. We have seen the guys do a shirtless hula to the girls… this was a big hit!

A note about logistics: Make sure to tell your wedding videographer and photographer that you are going to do a special dance. It’s important to communicate this with us since we need to know how best to capture it for you. Even if it’s going to be a surprise for your spouse, let us know and we’ll promise to keep your secret and capture the moment.

We hope this helps, Happy Dancing!

RHS Photo