For some couples even the thought of the ‘first dance’ induces a state of blind panic whilst for others the whole world’s a stage. Of course the majority of couples fall somewhere in between but whatever your attitude to this time-honoured tradition may be, a little planning in advance can go a long way.
1. Choosing the first dance song that’s right for you
You may already have a favourite song – perhaps one that was playing when you first met – or it may be that neither of you have a clue which song you’re going to choose. If so, don’t worry – all you have to do is Google ‘first dance songs’ and you’ll find plenty of suggestions. One word of warning though – be sure to check the lyrics before reaching a final decision. The song ‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police sounds like ideal first dance material – until, that is, you realise it’s about a stalker! Give some thought also to the kind of tempo you’ll feel comfortable with. If you’re both competent dancers then you probably won’t mind whether it’s a foxtrot, a rumba or a waltz – but if you’re not too clever on your pins, or your partner has two left feet, then a slow song may be your safest option.
2. To choreograph or not to choreograph – that is the question
Some couples hate the idea of learning a specific routine for their first dance whilst others welcome the chance to put on a bit of a show a la Strictly Come Dancing. At the very least it makes sense to have a practice at home. You may be surprised at just how long the average song lasts and no-one wants to look (or feel) awkward during their first dance.
Should you wish to wow your guests with a stunning display then there are plenty of dance teachers out there who can help you to develop and practise a properly choreographed routine. Again, Google is the place to head.
3. Liaising with your wedding band or DJ
If you’ve booked a band to play at your reception then you’ll need to check whether they’re able to play a live version of your chosen first dance. Because modern pop songs are often produced solely within a computer it can sometimes be hard for a band to do the song justice, particularly where the band’s line-up in terms of instrumentation doesn’t lend itself to the song in question. In which case the band may suggest that they play the song via their CD player instead – or you may prefer to pick a song from the band’s existing set-list.
Bear in mind also that the first dance song you’ve chosen may have been covered by a number of different artists – so it’s worth checking with your band or DJ that they’ll be playing your favourite version.
4. First dance timings and lighting
There’s nothing wedding guests like more than taking pictures of the happy couple during the first dance. So make sure you know in advance exactly who will be announcing your first dance and at what time. Often it will be the band or DJ as they’ll be the one’s responsible for playing the music but alternatively it could be your Toastmaster (if you’ve hired one) or the father of the bride. Either way your guests will need to be given sufficient time to gather round with their cameras. Give some thought also as to whether you want your band or DJ to encourage your guests to join in – perhaps half way through.
Don’t forget to liaise with your photographer too – he or she will need to be ready to capture your special moment and may also want to speak in advance with the band, DJ and/or venue to get the right lighting.
5. Don’t forget to enjoy it!
After all that organising it’s important not to lose sight of what your first dance is all about – a celebration of your feelings for each other. This is yours and your partner’s special moment at your Reception so make sure you enjoy it to the max. You never know, you might even get a perfect 10 from Craig Revel Horwood darling!
The author is a member of 24-7, one of the leading party bands & wedding bands in Kent.