Wedding Wednesday: The First Dance

Typically the Bride and Groom have their first dance at a point during their wedding reception that then begins the dancing portion of the evening. Occasionally, the first dance will be followed immediately by other special dances, such as a father-daughter/mother-son dance, but tradition isn’t tradition anymore. Now, there is a wide range of approaches to fit many personalities. What’s yours?


Choreographed Dance:

Slow dancing (see Jr. High Shuffle) for the first dance kind of got the boot a few years ago when couples began to perform fully choreographed dances. Since then, it has become almost common for a bride and groom (and in many cases, their bridal party) to perform a choreographed dance for their first dance. I’m not talking about learning 4 steps of the waltz and repeating them while the music plays – I’m talking about upbeat, precise, timed and choreographed to specific music. Some feel that this has been overdone, others can’t wait for their own wedding to come along so they can show off their moves! It’s your day, you get to decide!

Exploring Cultures:

There are some fun traditions in other cultures that you may want to include in your first dance. In some cultures the bride and groom start the first dance together and then after about 30 seconds are cut in by the bridal party. The bridal party offers money to take a turn with the guests of honor and this continues until the song ends. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your guests for money they can offer other tokens – such as a flower or candy lei (that is provided), a kiss on the hand or a slip of paper with wedding advice on it.

The More The Merrier:

For the bride and groom that don’t like the spotlight, it is popular to invite guests or select groups of guests to join in for the first dance. You may choose to invite your family only, your bridal party or include anyone who wishes. The DJ or MC will help make this clear in an announcement. This way, you still get your moment with your new spouse but don’t feel the pressure of “all eyes on you”. Do what is going to make you and your sweetheart the most at ease.


(Me and my sweetheart Darrell)

What We Did:

Although I have been dancing my entire life and even graduated in college in dance, my sweet husband isn’t comfortable on the dance floor – at all. I am the extrovert and have danced on a stage my whole life and he is very comfortable in the audience – no where near the dance floor. So, we compromised (as any good wedded couple does). We danced a traditional slow dance and invited anyone who wanted to join us in it. We danced to “You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain – the words described us so perfectly. About 1/2 way through we split up and danced with other important people – our parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews. It was perfect for us. We got to have our first dance moment along with our guests and then got to spend special one on one moments with our loved ones.AA7_0177

(Me dancing with my grandpa)

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