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First dance wedding blog by Geoff Reardon

Your First Dance – a 5 point checklist

First dance wedding blog by Geoff Reardon

“The First Dance” Photo credit: Geoff Reardon (click to see Jean-Luc & Liza’s wedding)

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.

TwentyFour Seven wedding band

Photo credit: TwentyFour Seven wedding band

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.

TwentyFour Seven wedding band

Photo credit: TwentyFour Seven wedding band

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.

TwentyFour Seven wedding band

Photo credit: TwentyFour Seven wedding band

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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12 COMMENTS
  • Richard Wynn-Davies
    8 years ago

    Having seen many a first dance, this is great advice Claire. One tip I would add (from our own experience when we got married) – if you do a choreographed dance, make sure you try the steps in your dress. We had the dance off to a tee (in jeans and t-shirt), but Caroline’s heel kept getting caught in the dress when we had a quick practice before our evening reception. Luckily one mother and a lot of safety pins later we managed to get through it in one piece!
    Richard x

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Great advice Richard – worth thinking about. I wonder if the companies who teach couples in preparation for the first dance take dresses into account? Any backwards steps in a long wedding dress could be more than a little awkward… I guess it’s all about swooshing the dress around in the right direction! Glad you had a mother with safety pins there to help (mums are ace!)
      Claire x

  • I think when you can tell couples are natural dancers and love dancing it is wonderful to photograph a first dance. On the other hand, when I got married my husband stood on my foot about 30 seconds in and we both ended up in hysterics in the middle of the dance floor not dancing at all! – I still end up in stitches when I think about it so these are great tips for the not so natural couples!

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Another great tip Tori – thank you for sharing.
      This falls nicely into the category of “if something goes wrong just smile”.
      Don’t suppose you had someone filming the wedding dance… fancy sharing?! (only kidding)
      Claire xx

  • Jenny McAvoy
    8 years ago

    I would say do what you want how you want it, but maybe if you are more of a slow shuffler then just throw in a twirl – its easy, looks great and keeps your feet away from each other if toes are likely to be trodden on 🙂

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Ooh nice pic with your comment there Jenny – beautifully done. And good advice too! x

  • Alison Hudspeth
    8 years ago

    Some great advice Claire – as usual! The first dance can be daunting for couples as it’s the last “formal” part of the day, so if it’s something you’re really worried about ask your DJ / band to invite your guests on to the dancefloor after a minute or so – that’ll give your photographer long enough to get the shots they need and you won’t start to feel awkward. As you said, some people love being the centre of attention and some don’t. Also, if you really don’t want a first dance, don’t have one – traditions are there to be broken 😀
    Alison x

    • Claire
      8 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Brilliant comment, thank you Alison! I think personally I’d shuffle uncomfortably… your first dance was lovely though, I remember! You’ve just reminded me about the mums & dads dance too, there’s a whole other blog post for another time!
      And yes, traditions are there to be broken – couldn’t agree more 🙂
      Claire xx

  • Hannah Webster
    8 years ago

    Good advice! The first dance can be so intimidating, but is often the cutest most intimate thing in reality. I love a good, romantic, snoggy first dance. Hee! x

  • Jackie Vintage Bridal
    8 years ago

    OK so you’re not marrying him for his dancing skills 🙂 but hey its a great opportunity for everyone to admire what a fab couple you make – if he’s a shuffler don’t force him into a ‘Dirty Dancing’ role!

  • Some great comments here and plenty of useful advice. I particularly like Alison’s comment about the DJ/Band inviting guests onto the dancefloor after a minute or so – that way the couple don’t end up feeling like goldfish in a goldfish bowl.

  • Rus
    8 years ago

    I do wonder how many brides and grooms could look good dancing to chore­o­graphed moves.

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