First Dance, where to start?

First Dance, where to start?

Top tips for a memorable first dance

It’s traditional for the newlyweds to take the first dance at their wedding reception – so even if you have two left feet you are expected to step out with your partner in front of the assembled company.  In this post we give you some first dance advice on how best to do the honours

Do I have to?

Yes.  It’s a symbolic ritual and romantic spectacle that’s almost as integral to the event as cutting the cake.  Your guests will be hugely disappointed if you don’t take the first wedding day dance – not least because it’s the perfect photo and video opportunity.    

For couples who love dancing this as one of the romantic high points of their big day but for many others it’s something they approach with trepidation.  If you are in the second group you can take the pressure off by lining up a few other couples to join you after a minute or two in the spotlight alone.  What’s more, nobody is expecting you to treat them to a Strictly show – a short time swaying from side to side in a loving embrace should suffice!

Order of dances

Official wedding etiquette varies according to culture and religion but generally goes something like this.  After the first dance is completed the bride dances with her father while the groom dances with the bride’s mother.  Next the groom asks his mother fir a twirl, followed by the two sets of parents dancing with each other.  After this each of the groomsmen, starting with the best man, may dance with the bride, and the groom may dance with the bridesmaids.

If you decide to follow a traditional schedule of dances then make sure everyone is properly prepared otherwise it could be chaos!  However, if this is too complicated, just make up your own list of dances – the only essential one is that first dance with your partner.

Taking it to the next level

If you love stepping out you can have some fun on social media with a first wedding dance that’s either highly polished or a bit more creative and surprising. 

A lot of couples are now wowing their guests with a carefully choreographed ballroom dance that is the result of many hours of dance lessons and practice.  Others add a twist by starting off slow and romantic but interrupted by a sudden musical change - the bride and groom express mock surprise and then go into an up-tempo routine that has guests looking on in amazement or rolling about with laughter.  If you really want to go overboard get the bridesmaids and groomsmen to join you in dance lessons and put on an “impromptu” number that’s full-on Broadway.

Wedding First Dance Tips

Choose a number that you both love and which you feel reflects your special relationship.  Practice dancing to the song before the big day and maybe take some lessons to boost your confidence. 

Choose your shoes with care – stilettos may look stunning but can be murder for dancing.   Some brides change to lower heels or flats for the reception and dancing.  When you practice your routine be sure to wear the shoes you plan to dance in.

Try to fit in a practice session at your wedding venue.  It’s good to get the dance fresh in your mind and familiarise yourself with the space. 

First dance favourites

It’s your wedding, your way, but here’s a short list of songs that are regularly picked for the first dance.

Ed Sheeran, "Perfect"

Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, “Shallow”

Ed Sheeran, "Thinking Out Loud"

Paolo Nutini, “Loving You”

Etta James, "At Last"

John Legend, "All of Me"

James Arthur, “Say You Won't Let Go”

Ray LaMontagne, "You Are the Best Thing"

Jason Mraz, "I Won’t Give Up"

Elton John, “Your Song”

Just enjoy it!

We hope you find these first dance tips helpful - follow the advice and you’ll create a magical moment you’ll fondly remember for years to come. 

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