Ok, you have the ring. You’ve set the date. You’ve ordered the flowers, found the caterer who can work with your budget. You’ve booked the hall and are on the hunt for that perfect dress.
You’ve even hired that high energy, “Interactive DJ” who says he/she can keep your reception party really hoppin’ by teaching you and your guests the Electric Slide, the YMCA, Boot Scootin’ Boogie AND the Funky Chicken. But what if you want to dance together with your new spouse. Or what if you have you have guests (especially older guests) who would enjoy some nice dancing together as a couple? Have you considered and planned for your “First Dance”?
Dancing is a part of almost every wedding, and it should be especially special for your First Dance. Unfortunately, dancing is rarely planned and prepared for in advance like the other important aspects of your wedding and reception celebration. Often, dance is an afterthought, if thought of at all….. until the Big Day, and that First Song when all eyes and cameras are on the two of you for that expected “First Dance“. Now what? !!
Well, it’s not the end of the world, but there will be a lot to do in a short time. A short, very simple dance can be put together that will work for you. The important thing is that you will need to make time to work on your dance in the short time you have. Make sure you can do that before you take on the task. If you can do that, then a simple First Dance is very possible.
Start early – six to twelve months early if possible!
Make dancing for the fun of it part of getting ready for your Big Day. That way, you will become an accomplished dancer who is comfortable and confident on the dance floor beforehand and then have a lifetime of dancing enjoyment after your wedding is done.
Start by getting into as many Group Classes and attending as many Social Dances as you can before your Wedding. The more, the better. Again, make dancing and learning how to dance a priority! Group Classes are the most affordable way to start dancing. Group classes and Social Dances expose you to the wide variety of dance rhythms and music which help you to have a nice variety of dances to pick from. One dance will not fit all music, so the more dances you know, the less you will be sitting. Furthermore, the more you dance, the more comfortable you become. So again, regularly attending Social Dances is an important piece of your learning curve.
If you spend 6-12 month first learning how to dance, then preparing for your First Dance will be much easier, more fun and less stressful. Private lessons are something to consider about 2-3 months out from your wedding. That’s when you start looking for that special piece of music you will use for your First Dance. That is also when you will decide if you want a simple “lead-follow” dance or a more fully choreographed dance routine.
The sooner your start getting use to moving and dancing in your “costumes” the more comfortable you will be on you big day at the time of your big “performance”. If possible, please bring the following to your classes or private lessons
* Your shoes, or something similar to what you will be wearing.
* Brides, your underskirt or petty coat, if your gown has one.
* Of course, your music, if you have selected it. Have at least two song selections.
* A great, attitude, willing to learn and have fun!
If you have not danced before, there are several things that are not even on your radar screen
when it comes to dance in general, and especially for your Wedding.
1) Time Line:
Don’t wait until the last minute. Would you plan your flower arrangements or room décor one month before you wedding? Of course not. Your First Dance needs to a part of your wedding plans right from the beginning. Adding “Learning How to Dance” to your To Do list the month before your wedding is a recipe for frustration, embarrassment and disaster.
Don’t depend on your Coordinator, DJ or even your Musicians to pick your dance music. Just because they play music, doesn’t mean they know diddly about dancing. Unfortunately, many of them don’t. Use a professional dance instructor to help your pick appropriate, danceable pieces of music for you and your guests.
3) More About Music:
The music determines the appropriate corresponding dance you do. So, if you don’t already dance, you probably don’t know what music goes with which dances. “Slow Music” could be Ballroom Foxtrot or Waltz, Latin Rumba, Slow Swing or Night Club 2-step. It could also be just nice song to listen to, but not dance friendly. There is just some music you can’t or shouldn’t dance to. That is why having more than one selection to choose from is important.
4) The Space:
Most event spaces are not designed for or arranged with dancing in mind. Therefore, it is up to you to make sure your reception site is set up to accommodate your dancing. Access to and from the dance floor should be included in the planning of your total space. We can help your map this out.
5) The Dance Floor:
How big is the floor? How big is big enough? Many event sites consider a 16×16 dance floor large to be a “large” floor. Really?? Think about it. Your living room is probably bigger. Would you try to put 100 people in your living room? What is the dance surface? Hardwood, plywood, concrete, grass, brick or cobble stone? Portable Dance Floor? Laid over what? Yes, it does make a difference. You may not be able to do anything about the surface, but knowing ahead of time will help you prepare for dancing on it.
6) Your Shoes:
Platforms, five-inch spikes, open toed, slip on sandals? Are you use to walking, let along dancing, in the shoes you will be wearing? And remember ladies; you are backing up a good amount of the time when dancing. Are your shoes going to stay with you? What about the Groom’s shoes?
7) Your Attire:
Brides – straight-lines dresses with no slits, puffy skirts with hoops and/or petty coats all affect how well you are able to move, let alone dance.You want to make sure you can move comfortably without using your hands to hold your dress out of the way.
Grooms – unless you regularly wears a suit and tie, a tuxedo feels more like a straight jacket. Neither you or your bride probably regularly wear these kinds of clothing, it can be real distraction. If you can get used to something like you will be wearing before you need it. that is a big advantage and stress reliever.
8) The Wedding Gown:
In addition to the points in #7 above, your wedding gown cannot be touching the floor if you want to dance in it. The hem line needs to be at least a couple inches above the top of your feet or you and/or the groom will be stepping on it. That “Cinderella” look, where your gown “puddles” onto the floor, is very beautiful for pictures and romantic for standing at the alter, but not practical for moving or dancing. If you are stepping on your hem, you won’t be dancing. At best, you will be rocking in a circle.
9) What comes next?
Your wedding is kind of like a theater production for your guests. Provide them with a simple program of your wedding ceremony and reception celebration. That way, they know what to expect, and when. It will also help the caterer, musicians, and event coordinator stay on track.
10) Dance Protocol:
Also Known As, dance etiquette and floor craft. There is a wrong way, a right way, and a better way to do things regarding dance.
You should put together a separate emergency kit for both the Bride and the Groom that includes everything
and anything that you might possibly need. Here are some suggestions. Some items are the same for both.
Some are not. This is a list in progress. Your experience and suggestions are welcomed !!