You’re getting married but you don’t want to go out for your first dance and just do the “high school sway”. How can you make sure that your dancing is the least stressful thing about your big day?
#1. Give yourself enough of a head start
Nobody likes the stress of a deadline, so we recommend getting in touch with us six months to a year before the wedding. This way, you have plenty of time to decide on a song, learn your choreography, and practice your dance enough times to feel totally comfortable on the big day. If you only have a few weeks until the wedding, does that mean you can’t have a nice first dance? No! It might not be as intricately choreographed, but you’ll be able to move together comfortably.
#2. Choose a song that means something to you as a couple
What was the song that was playing during your first kiss? Or on your first date? Or your secret guilty pleasure song you blast on road trips? Your first dance is meant to be a reflection of who you are as a couple and your guests will love it when they see you dancing to a song that means something. Have fun with it! If you want to break out into Gangnam Style, do the Floss, or just end with a beautiful dip, go for it!
Make sure to let your teacher know the vision you have for your dance, no matter how crazy or unusual! Don’t worry if you think the song will be perceived as “too fast, slow, or weird,” your Arthur Murray instructor will be able to work with it. The first dance is for the bride and the groom, not for the audience.
If you’re having trouble getting started, here are some great ideas for a first dance song (and if you like a song but want to add a twist, find a fun cover of it):
- Sugar – Maroon Five
- Stand by Me – Ben E. King (or Prince Royce)
- I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
- Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
- Canon in D – Johann Pachelbel
- Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – J.S. Bach
- The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
- What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
- Dream A Little Dream of Me – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
#3. Think about the other dancing at the wedding
As tempting as it is to get totally wrapped up in the perfect first dance, don’t forget that there will be more dancing at the wedding! Invite your parents to come in for a lesson for the mother/son dance or the father/daughter dance (stay tuned for a separate post for this!). Bring in your wedding party for some lessons to make sure that they don’t embarrass you with their “end of the night” dance moves. And finally, don’t forget that you might want to get out there and have fun as a newly married couple, too, so save some time in your lessons to work on other dances to get you through the reception. Ask your instructor about which group classes to attend to help learn some new steps.
#4. Perform the dance before you get to the wedding
Would a show ever go on without doing a tech rehearsal? When your first dance is ready to be performed, your instructor will recommend that you do a run-through in front of a loving and supportive audience at one of our practice parties, so that the first time you put it out in front of people is not during your big day. Everyone is scared of this step, but do not skip it! Every couple that has done it has thanked us afterwards.
#5. Set aside time to practice but make sure to…
In the living room, the kitchen, before or after personal lessons, wherever and whenever you can! Even if you just put on some music at home and move with your partner, getting up and dancing the basics will get you more comfortable your dance, too. Dancing is dancing no matter what, so any time you are moving to music, you are making your first dance better.
#6. Enjoy the process!
(One of the couples we helped out with their dancing!)
At the end of the day, this dance is about the two of you as a couple, so why not use your lessons as a way to escape the craziness of living and working and planning a wedding. Spend some quality time together laughing, moving, and having fun, and you’ll find that as you get down to the last few weeks, you’ll be more relaxed, less worried, and more invested in the time that you’ve spent crafting a perfect first dance as a team. And, don’t forget, if you’re enjoying your time, why not keep dancing after the wedding and start your life together with a shared hobby!