This fabulous article is by Somerset wedding photographer Simon Biffen Photography

groom epic lift of bride during first dance, image by Simon Biffen Photography

It can be some people’s idea of a nightmare, but for others a chance to cut loose and go wild. The first dance is a wedding tradition that’s not going away anytime soon. There are so many ways that you can tackle this particular moment on your wedding day that I thought I’d share some of the wonderful first dances that I have witnessed, and why they are all perfect in their own way.

So let’s begin with the why. Where did this tradition come from? Turn the clock back a few hundred years and imagine the scene: a grand ball in a fancy stately home, guests from high society gathered and after a sumptuous meal the music begins and two distinguished guests are invited to open the evenings entertainment with a dance. Fast forward to weddings today and the newly married couple are the most important people present and they have the honour of opening the evening proceedings, which has now become a feature of weddings the world over.

Genius documentary photography telling the story of a Yorkshire wedding - York Place Studios on the English Wedding Blog (33)

A guest article by Jon Beck at RedLine DJs and Entertainment

Photo credit: York Place Studios

You’ve said your vows, the wine’s flowing and the speeches have been a success… step up the all-important first dance. At Redline DJs and Entertainment I spend a lot of time talking to couples about their first dance, and have seen everything from choreographed three-song extravaganzas to no first dance at all. Neither are right or wrong – a wedding is a highly personal thing, no part more so than your first dance as husband and wife.
Some couples have a song that they consider ‘theirs’ but a lot don’t –and that’s OK! Either way, this isn’t something you should be nervous about. The below steps will help you plan the perfect first dance… one that you genuinely enjoy.

1. Brainstorm (without each other)

When people ask me for first dance recommendations I can always give them a list of suggested songs, but first I recommend that they have a think about it, away from each other. It sounds silly, as this is something so personal to you as a couple, but if you have an independent sit down, it will trigger songs that perhaps you hadn’t previously considered.


Are you nervous about your first dance? Don’t be. I have a little secret to share today… and by the end of this feature you’ll realise it’s really no secret at all but simple common sense. So many couples agonise over the first dance! Let’s face it: unless you’re happy on a podium in a club you won’t be comfortable strutting your stuff in the middle of a circle of everyone you know… it’s a pretty unusual situation to be in, right?

Cripps Barn Wedding – Sam Gibson Photography

But forget all that. There are ways to get over first dance nerves:

  1. Pretend you’ve forgotten all about it until the big day, try and get out of it if no one remembers, or brief your band or DJ that it just isn’t going to happen!
  2. Sign up for dance classes and learn a spectacular routine to amaze and delight your guests!

The ceremony… the rings… the speeches… I think every bride and groom has a different expectation of what the most amazing moments will be when the big day finally comes around. I met up with fabulous Kent wedding photographer Benjamin Toms recently, and we got to chatting about the best moments. Ben surprised me, and talked so passionately about the best wedding moments as seen through the eyes of a photographer… and I think I’ll see every real wedding on the blog a little differently now.

claire gould calligrapher signature

Real UK wedding images by Kent photographer Benjamin Toms (6)

“As a documentary wedding photographer I will spend a full day shooting a wedding. This means I live through the nerves and excitement with my couples – and it’s such an incredible privilege. I usually arrive two or three hours before the ceremony, which gives me time to capture images of the bride getting ready.”

Real UK wedding images by Kent photographer Benjamin Toms (5)


A recent wedding blog post had me chuckling – fondly! – at the mention of an awkward shuffle in lieu of a flashy, choreographed or extrovert first dance. I’d be an awkward shuffler, and quite happily. But I’d still be nervous as the centre of attention. So when today’s guest blogger Amy got in touch with her secrets of a confident first dance, I was so pleased. I’m sure plenty of you will find these tips inspiring and useful. Enjoy…

First dance 2012

Photo credit Phil Bourne www.e-motionimages.co.uk

The secrets of a confident first dance

As with most things in life, a little confidence goes a long way, but if the thought of your first dance fills you with dread, finding your confidence is easier said than done.

Why is a first dance so nerve-wracking?

Dancing badly, being embarrassed and feeling a fool are all typical concerns. It’s completely understandable seeing as there will be eyes staring, cameras poised, camcorders at the ready and the possibility of an unwelcome YouTube appearance….

First dance wedding blog by Geoff Reardon
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.