So you want to have a first dance at your wedding. You start scouring Spotify for sweet love songs that suit your musical taste, Googling lyrics to find the song that speaks uniquely to your relationship, and texting your fiance every two minutes or so with a new song to “yea” or “nay”. You settle on a couple of top contenders only to realize...you know nothing about dancing, let alone dancing in front of 200 people! What should a first dance look like? What should it feel like? When does the first dance happen during the reception? Yikes! But, look no further. We’ve got your back with the 10 things that all 1st dances must have to help guide you into a glorious first dance.
1. A Song that Speaks to Your Style
When we don’t have experience with a given topic, it’s natural to take to the internet to see what others have done before us, but don’t just settle for the most popular first dance songs you find on The Knot’s blog. You’re more special than that! Are you and your fiance particularly romantic, playful, cute, or adventurous? Pick a song that shows your personality as a pair! Your friends and family will be more likely to connect with this moment if it’s unique to you. Plus, you’ll feel much more natural and relaxed moving to a song that speaks to you!
2. A Confident Intro
If you start the dance feeling awkward, it will be much harder to relax and enjoy the rest. Instead, make a plan! How will you enter the dance floor? We recommend collaborating closely with your DJ or band to ensure a smooth transition. Have the music start while you’re on the edge of the dance floor, and walk out to the center holding your fiance’s hand while the music is playing. Don’t forget to decide how you’ll hold one another while actually dancing, too! A sweet moment can turn into a ninja arm battle quickly if you and your partner go for different arm positions. (We suggest opting for a basic dance frame seen to the right, rather than the Napoleon Dynamite prom hip hold.)
3. Moves That Are Fun to Watch & Perform
You’re right. This moment is about you, but don’t forget your lovely friends and family who are watching you dance! Similar to the rest of the entertainment, food, and decorations you’ve chosen for the evening, each detail is there to ensure you have a beautiful day and also to ensure your guests have a blast celebrating with you. To make sure you don’t put your guests to sleep at this crucial moment of getting the party started, seek out some dance lessons and learn some moves that will make this moment more enjoyable for everyone! A little spinning goes a long way.
4. A Time Limit
In the age of internet memes, smart phones, and 30-second youtube videos, attention spans are shorter than ever! Even if you have a gorgeous, fully choreographed first dance, you’ll only hold your guests’ attention for the first two minutes. (Dancing With The Stars dances are only one minute and forty seconds max, and those are quite impressive). So, keep your guests engaged and make sure your dance is no longer than 2:30. Most wedding DJs are willing to cut a song for you free of charge and wedding bands will create shortened versions to suit your needs. However, if you’re in need of song cutting services, we can help you out too!
5. Ease, Confidence & Comfort
You’ve felt like King & Queen of the ball all day long. Why stop now? Your first dance should be just as graceful as your walk down the aisle, your custom written vows, and elegant cocktail hors d'oeuvres. We all know the only road to confidence is practice, and that’s also true for dancing. Try dancing together in the living room one evening and see how it goes. If you feel great, congratulations! You’re ready to dance! But, don’t be surprised if it’s totally awkward (you are not alone). Don’t be afraid to seek out first dance lessons for some pointers or even a fully choreographed routine.
6. Posture That Would Make Your Momma Proud
Your mom has been nagging you for years to “stand up straight!” and now is your time to shine. Even if you’ve worked out the kinks for how to sway, spin, and even dip your partner with ease, none of that will look great without excellent posture! Check out our blog about posture for more details, and avoid a future of “I told you so’s” from Mom every time you look through your wedding photos.
7. The Right Attire
You’ve picked out the perfect mermaid gown and 5” heels to look totally fabulous on your wedding day. But wait! You can’t breathe, sit down, or move your legs more than half a stride... If you plan to dance on your wedding day, make sure to choose a dress that allows your legs to move freely and that doesn’t have so much poof that you can barely reach your fiance. Comfortable shoes are also a must! We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but if you can’t walk in them, you probably can’t dance in them. Check out Angela Nuran’s (beautiful and functional wedding shoes designed by a former ballroom dancer). We also recommend that the groom takes off his suit coat for the dance to avoid shoulder pad poof, accidental tears, and inevitable sweatiness.
8. Smiles & Eye Contact
Your first dance is supposed to show how in love you are! Make sure your nerves don’t get in the way. If dancing in front of other people gives you the butterflies in a bad way, just gaze into your partner’s eyes, take a deep breath, smile, and give each other some words of affirmation, (i.e. “I love you.” “You’re an awesome dancer!” “I’m so happy to be dancing with you right now.”) and forget everyone else is there.
9. A Graceful Ending
There’s nothing more awkward than the song ending, giving your fiance a high five, and then walking off the dance floor in opposite directions. But you wouldn’t do that, right? Well, just to be sure, talk it over with your fiance before you hit the dance floor. Will you try to execute a romantic dip? A sweet spin out? Or just a cute hug and smooch? Regardless, make sure you walk off the floor triumphantly together, holding hands!
10. A Smooth Exit & Transition Into the Next Event
What’s happening after your first dance? If it’s your father/daughter dance, make sure you walk off the floor with your fiance and then walk back on with your dad. (Standing out there awkwardly waiting sounds well...awkward). If you want your guests to join you on the dance floor to kick off the party, make sure you talk to your wedding party and some select guests and have them agree that they will, in fact, join you! Once again, clear collaboration with your entertainers, friends, and family will ensure a smooth transition onto the next event.
So, there you have it! The 10 things all first dances must have. But, if some of your first dance questions are still unanswered, check out the rest of our blogs about wedding dance or just contact us, and we'll be happy to help you out!