How to Plan for Your First Dance

A bride and groom having their first dance under a canopy of lights.

The first dance commences the wedding reception festivities. While exciting, it can also be an overwhelming moment. After all, you’re the center of attention, while video and photography capture your every move and all eyes are on the newlyweds.

The first dance will likely be after dinner and kick off the entertainment portion of the evening. The first dance song and time will be detailed on the wedding itinerary. The DJ, band, or emcee is responsible for cueing the couple to come to the center of the dance floor.

Song Selection

A man and woman listening to must together on a pair of headphones outside.

Most couples have a few songs in mind to choose from for the first dance. Usually, the music is connected to a special memory or has sentimental value. The song may be a lifetime favorite, or the lyrics are particularly meaningful. Some couples like timeless ballads, while others prefer a song that is unassuming and less known.

Your music vendor can help discuss song options and provide suggestions. Weddingbee has a plethora of message boards and articles on song choices if you need a little inspiration.

Can’t choose just one song? Luckily it’s your day. Work with the band to incorporate your top choices and favorite songs throughout the night. An anniversary dance or the “last song” of the night, are great alternatives. Another option is to have a favorite song play during the ceremony, when guests arrive, or during a tradition such as lighting a unity candle.

Dance Time

A man and woman taking dance lessons in preparation for their wedding.

As the wedding day approaches, some couples want to brush up on dance skills. It’s common for some couples to partake in introductory ballroom dance lessons. Others may wish to thrill guests will a choreographed routine. Whatever you decide, there are convenient ways to refresh your moves.

  • Check out local community colleges or rec centers to see if they offer beginner dance classes.
  • YouTube has an abundance of teaching videos. Stream it to your television or tablet for an easy tutorial.
  • Subscribe to Groupon or LivingSocial deal sites. You might catch a special or discount on local lessons.

First Dance Advice

The average length of a song is about three minutes. It’s longer than you think. You may want to considerand advice I tookto cut the song.

Work with your music vendor to fade the song after a specific verse or allotted amount of time. Request a copy of the shortened version, so you and your partner have plenty of practice time and can get a feel for the music.

A shorter version can calm anxiety if one partner is nervous. It also helps move the agenda along and keeps guests engaged. I also did this with the father/daughter and mother/son dance music.

Once the first dance song is selected, couples should practice together with the music. Rehearsal is especially important if you want to coordinate turns, spins, or perform a dramatic dip. Trying impromptu dance moves during the first dance can lead to embarrassing blunders.

As you practice, it’s a good idea to test moving in your wedding shoes. Some brides break in their shoes, so they’re less slippery. Other couples change shoes entirely at the reception.

Most importantly have fun. The first dance is a chance for you and your new spouse to show some personality, embrace one another, and savor the moment.

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