Getting married is a big step in anyone’s life and the first dance of your wedding day is one of the most important moments of this milestone event. You want to make it perfect but if you don’t know how to dance, or if you consider you have two left feet like many people do, this could be cause for some serious panic. Don’t worry! I’ve written this guide to help you get ready for your first dance and set yourself up for success on your big day.
The First Dance
Many couples think about their first dance as an opportunity to show off their best moves in front of family members and friends or just to embarrass each other with crazy choreography that they’ve been practicing since they were very young. But the truth is, it’s really all about the song and how you choose to dance with your partner during this very special moment as husband and wife.
Knowing How to Dance
Some couples are lucky enough to be born with natural rhythm or find themselves naturally talented at dancing without any formal training. Others may not have that same luck and just need a little help from an expert (like me) in order to develop your technique and confidence to dance in front of your family and friends.
Whether you’re worried about forgetting your steps or looking silly while trying out new techniques, let me show you some ways that I can make sure that everything goes perfectly from the first step to the last beat.
Before we go any further, let me emphasise one last thing: it’s important to choose what is right for you. Some dances need more proficiency than others and It’s crucial that what you do feels natural rather than forced choreography from start to finish. Developing that confidence is an important skill when trying something completely new in front of all your friends and family at such an intimate event. This is your day, and it should be authentic and fun.
The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is make yourself anxious, so take a deep breath, don’t stress out too much about the future and enjoy what’s happening in the present moment.
On the Big Day
When you get married, there will undoubtedly be lots going on: You’ll have friends and family who want to share this special day with drinks, laughter, speeches and emotional moments at every turn. Amidst all these distractions though, there should always be one thing that matters more than anything else – the experience for the bride and groom.
And one of those most special experiences will be dancing together for the very first time, after saying “I do”. This is one of the most memorable moments of the day and can often feel like an intimidating experience for couples who are not used to embracing the spotlight. The first dance is where you will move and flow together as a couple; you will be in the moment. You will also have all of your friends and family to share that moment and it’s a critical time of any wedding because it sets the tone for what’s ahead throughout the rest of married life.
I want to help make this moment as memorable and magical as possible, so that when you look back on this special day you will remember how happy and in love you felt.
You’ll want to have a plan for how your first dance will go before you get out there on the floor because once it begins, it’s just too late to start figuring that out on the fly. You need to make sure that both of you know what dance you are going to do and what steps are going to be taken during this momentous event and it needs to be instinctive so you can relax and enjoy it.
There are many different types of dances to choose from, and for most of these a dance teacher can develop a series of steps and moves to suit the requirements of each couple. The only limitations may be that some dances require a more flexible body movement and a little more stamina. Below are a few different types of first dances you can choose from to practice getting a feel for what might suit you.
Waltz: the basic steps of the Waltz are all quite straightforward to pick up and with a little practice become second nature. Waltzes can be played at various tempos, giving you lots of scope for some faster, yet very elegant dances.
Swing: if you want something with a little more energy than a traditional waltz, yet still feels romantic, a Swing dance usually has less steps but are more fast paced to suit the upbeat swing music.
Rumba: is a sexier dance, which originates from Cuba and is often referred to as the dance of love. It involves slow, side to side hip movements – in fact it is the slowest of the Latin American dances.
Cha Cha: also has Cuban origins and is a very popular dance, characterised by sharp action with quick spins and intricate foot and hip movements.
Samba: is a great option for couples who want to have some fun with their guests. It’s a fun, upbeat and lively dance, with an Afro-Brazilian origin and requires good timing, involving a rolling hip action, with the rhythm expressed throughout your body.
Choice of Music
You might be worried about not being able to find a song you both like or have any idea what type of music will work best. If that’s a concern, don’t worry! There are many different genres and styles out there and the important requirement is to choose something that you have an emotional connection with and makes you move.
If you get stuck, a little guidance from your local dance school or teacher will point you in the right direction for selecting new music for the dancing style that you like. It can often help you to discover music you never knew existed by drawing on the experience of a person who has been dancing and teaching for years.
When you are choosing your music it’s also important to consider the tempo of the song. The right tempo will make it easier to perform and be more fluid, so if you want something with a faster beat then this is an area that needs attention! You’ll need to know what type of music suits both you and your partner best in order to make sure that everyone enjoys themselves on the day
If there are specific songs that you would like played at your wedding – don’t forget about them! Start thinking and collecting your music well in advance to give you DJ plenty of time to have everything ready.
How A Dance Instructor Can Help
Now that we’ve considered some of the types of dancing and music, I will finish by talking more generally about why I think practicing for couples is one of the best reasons to work with a professional dancer.
The most important part of the preparation is to make sure you dance! If you don’t do this naturally then join a club, book a teacher for a set of lessons or sign-up for an online programme.
If you have never tried specific dance before and you know that it’s a style you want at your wedding, expect to need to spend several weeks learning the basics. And as with everything, if you have a teacher the process is faster and easier.
I highly recommend taking advantage of what your local dance studio offers, especially if you’re not sure about what style is right for you or how to do certain moves. A professional can help identify your strengths and weaknesses so that when it comes time to plan out the night’s details, this knowledge will be put in good use.
We have provided all of these options over the years for couples who are getting ready for their big day, and all have been very effective at setting them at ease and finding the way they like to dance together.
Your first wedding dance is one of the most magical moments, as well as being something you will remember forever. As someone who loves helping others create memories, I hope these tips help.
Owner – Elaine’s Dancing School
As a professional dance teacher for over 20 years Elaine has helped hundreds of people to learn to dance including making the wedding day first dance for many couples a dream experience.