It’s a moment that sparks one of two emotions from most Bride & Grooms; pure excitement or utter dread (or very often, excitement for the bride and dread for the groom). No matter how you are feeling about your upcoming First Dance, I thought with it being such an iconic moment of the wedding day, it warrants my two cents.
First of all, it is really not worth losing any sleep over your first dance. You may be thinking – easier said than done – but trust me, nobody is coming to your wedding with scorecards waiting to judge your dancing capabilities (or lack thereof). I believe this also goes for the other end of the spectrum too. So if you’re using your first dance as an opportunity to show off to all your guests how awesome you guys are on the dancefloor, this can sometimes end up feeling a bit cringey. My advice (not that I’m any kind of dancing expert) is to fully give in to the moment. Whether that be slowly turning in circles, whilst you stare lovingly into each other’s eyes or a fully choregraphed routine with a few lifts thrown in. As long as you are both present, in the moment and “feeling it”. Everybody else in the room will feel it too.
So, Tip #1 – Take a breath, relax, be present and enjoy it.
Tip #2 – Do one!
By this I mean – please don’t be put off from doing a first dance (be it nerves or ego or whatever). Aside from it actually being a really beautiful moment of the day, it is also a great springboard from which to launch into the ‘party’ element of the day and signals to your guests that it’s ok to start dancing now.
This leads nicely onto Tip #3 – Get your guests involved.
I would recommend when the time comes for you to perform your first dance. Ask your MC or the band / DJ to announce it is about to take place and for your guests to gather around the dancefloor. Not only does this create a feeling of togetherness but it also means that once your dance concludes, they are already on the dancefloor and ready to go. Or better still, if you are not planning a routine for the entirety of the track, it is a great idea to get your guests to join you half way through the song.
Tip #4 – Choose a song that means something to you.
I have performed for hundreds of first dances and I can honestly say that the ones that stick in my mind are to songs that the bride and groom clearly connect with. This is often a song that I have never personally heard before but that has played a part in the couple’s journey. So try not to leave it until the last minute, give it a bit of thought and decide on a song together. With that being said, it is a good idea to make sure the song is dance-friendly before the big day.
And so Tip #5 – Give it a test drive.
Whether you are planning a choreographed routine or you’re just going to ‘wing it on the night’, it is definitely worth having a few run-throughs beforehand. And here is my golden tip for brides (dun, dun, dun) – consider the dress and shoes you will be wearing. So if you are planning a Dirty Dancing-esque lift to finish your routine, make sure you will be able to do it on the night. And on a similar note, if you are doing dance lessons and have a routine planned. Make sure you take into account the size of the dancefloor at your wedding venue. It might be considerably smaller than the dancefloor you’ve been practicing on.
Finally, as a little Bonus Tip – If you have a live band or musician booked for your wedding you might be considering having them perform your First Dance live for you. I think this is a great idea and I am always happy to learn a couple’s first dance song for them. However, just be aware that the live version is going to sound slightly different to the original recording. So again, if you have a routine planned and you’ve been practicing to the original track, don’t let this throw you off on the night. And if you do decide to use the original track - for goodness sake, confirm the version with your DJ / Band beforehand so you don’t end up doing your first dance as a married couple to a techno remix!
As ever, if you have any other questions or would like to discuss anything further, don’t hesitate to get in touch.