Wedding Brainstorming: First Dance

The first dance can be one of the most memorable...or most nerve-wracking...parts of your wedding. Photo by Laura Yang.

If you’re a spotlight-loving performer, your first dance will be a few moments of pure bliss.

But if you get stage fright, know you’re a weak dancer or just plain don’t like being the center of attention, well, you’ve got a problem on your hands.

There’s no law that says couples must have a first dance.  As far back as I can remember, though, I’ve only attended one wedding that didn’t have one. If you’re having dancing at your reception, it really does make sense for the couple to kick things off — especially if the bride and her father want to follow up with a father-daughter dance.

No matter whether you’re giddy with excitement or queasy with nerves, brainstorm how you want your first dance to go and you’ll feel a lot more confident once all eyes are on you. Use these simple questions to get started.

1.) Do you want to use a sentimental song (“your” song, song you remember from your first date, etc.) or choose a romantic standard or a piece of classical music?

2.) What sort of tone do you want to set/how do you want to feel during your first dance (lighthearted, romantic, joyful, etc.)?

3.) Would you like your dance choreographed, either to look fancy or give you a basic roadmap?

4.) Do you know any formal dance styles? Would you like to learn before your wedding so you can aptly waltz, swing, or foxtrot your way around your reception?

5.) Think back on first dances you’ve witnessed. Which did you, as a guest, enjoy? Were there any you thought looked embarrassingly bad or overly theatrical? Figure out what you did and didn’t like, and plan accordingly.

6.) Would having your bridal party or parents join you midway through the music add to your enjoyment of your first dance?

In the weeks leading up to our wedding, D and I practiced well into the wee hours of the morning on several occasions. And, amateurs that we are, we still fumbled during our first dance. But it was a lovely few minutes of feeling all alone together — yet still surrounded by the people we loved most. No matter whether you glide with perfection or trip on each other’s toes, I hope you enjoy your magical moments, too!

~ Laura

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