Your First Dance, YOUR way! With Matthew Stephens acoustic wedding singer
A guest blog by acoustic wedding singer Matthew Stephens
I decided to write a little piece detailing the potential options for couples during their first dance. Aaaaand, I’m starting to wish I hadn’t! There are so many options that you could honestly write a book about it. So, I’ll look at some of the main ones I cover as an acoustic wedding singer and I’ll try to branch off into other areas as I go and cover as much as possible.
The first dance is usually the last ’set piece’ for a couple on their wedding day. The ceremony is out of the way, the speeches are done and all that lies between them and total relaxation is the first dance. Most (but, far from all) couples are quite nervous about it and just want it out of the way. I can’t think of many people, except professional dancers, who like a room to stop and for everyone to gather around and watch them dance. But, it doesn’t have to be that bad! And afterwards, a lot of couples wish they could do it again. It’s a great bit of fun and one more chance for the couple to put their musical stamp on the day. It can be a lovely and touching celebration of their love as a couple also.
But, let’s touch on some of the options –
1. The most simple and common approach….
Pick a song that means something to you, have the DJ play it and get everyone up half way through.
Even though I do custom versions of first dances, if a specific track has special meaning to a couple, it’s always my advice that they should have it. And, most couples want their guests up to join them as soon as possible!
I usually leave long enough for the photographer to snap the pictures they need and then invite everyone onto the dance floor. So, even if you are nervous about your first dance, you won’t be up there by yourselves for too long anyway. Before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by family and friends and the evening reception will be well and truly underway.
2. Have a live musician play your song…
I do this A LOT. And I love to! For many reasons. The main one being that once everyone gets up for the first dance, I go straight into my first set and I hit the floor running with a packed dance floor. It’s usually quite early, so you won’t always keep all of your guests dancing all night, but it’s still a perfect starting point to get a party started.
The options for this approach are never ending too, so I’ll just touch on a few:
- I can just play the song through.
- I can play the song in a mashup style with another song.
- I can do the first half slow, get everyone up and do the second half fast to get people dancing and kick the party off (this one is VERY popular once I suggest it to my couples).
- I can do half of the song live and half with the track.
There are so many options that this blog post could just end up as one massive list! Those are the most popular approaches in my experience and just within those options, you’d still be spoiled for choice!
3. Have a custom song written or recorded…
I’ve done this for weddings quite a few times. Sometimes, couples pick a song they like and have me change the words to fit relevant details about their history as a couple. The song can be a bit funny and a bit soppy! And, it’s always a great thing to break the recording out on anniversaries!
Or, you could have a custom recording made of a song that is particularly special to you as a couple. Lots of people I’ve worked for over the years have gone for this option. For example, I’ve done acoustic-style recordings of tracks like Chase and Status’ ‘End Credits’, and the Game Of Thrones theme song. Songs that really meant something to the couple, but wouldn’t generally fit a typical first dance.
4. Don’t think it must be a slow ballad…
This is more of a piece of advice, I suppose. But, it’s one that I repeat to customers over and over. I always tell people, ‘Don’t get caught up in what you think fits, or what other people have had. Don’t get bogged down in romantic ballads if that’s not your vibe. You guys pick a song that means something to you – anything it all. It’s MY job to make it fit.’
You can have rock, 90’s dance, country, pop – anything at all. A good wedding musician will take that piece of music and tailor it to the situation. Getting the most out of a piece of music for you and your guests is the aim of every wedding musician worth their salt.
5. Go non-traditional and be yourselves!
Many couples do this too… Throw the rule book out of the window and do whatever you fancy! We’ve had dance-offs, choreographed routines, flash mobs, traditional dances from certain cultures, everyone up at once, first dance as the last dance of the evening, dance on the grass, big entrances – ANYTHING you can think of!
If this is your vibe, I say go for it. It’ll be fun, memorable, unique and most importantly, it will make for amazing pictures and videos to look back on!
Well, I think I’ve outlined a lot of options for anyone considering what to do for their first dance. As you can tell, the possibilities are endless. Above all, my aim was to free up couples from boundaries and make sure that one of the most personal parts of their most personal day is actually personal to THEM. Nothing else matters. So, go wild with it all. Or really tear the script up and… don’t do a first dance. That’s what my wife and I did. Enjoy!