Picture this – You’re at a wedding and the first dance has just been announced. The bride and groom nervously make their way to the dance floor. The looks on their faces are a combination of nerves, embarrassment and sheer terror. The music starts and they lean on each other. Then they begin shuffling around the dance floor. They both look so awkward and uncomfortable and you can see from the looks in their eyes that they cannot wait for the end of the song. Meanwhile, the wedding guests have lost interest and they are wishing for the end of the song too. Does all this sound familiar?

wedding first dance

So how do you avoid such a tragic scenario for your own wedding? The good news is, with a bit of planning, your first dance will be exactly as you wish for and a beautiful symbol of the love you share. Here are 5 tips to help you along the way…

      1. Select your first dance song carefully

It’s great to choose a song for your first dance that is meaningful to you both, but there’s more to consider, when planning your special dance. Some songs are beautiful to listen to, but is yours actually a song that you can dance to? Remember this is the most important dance of your life so finding the right song is crucial.

Consider the song length when making your song selection. Ideally, 2-3 minutes is a great choice.   While you may love Stairway to Heaven, it’s such a long song that you’re likely to bore your guests (and maybe even yourselves) before the 8-minute song is over! Choose a shorter song, or ask the DJ to fade out your song or cut you a shorter version to play for your first dance.

Typically, wedding dances are either Rumba or Night Club Two-Step (for contemporary ballads), Swing, or Foxtrot (for Big Band or jazz-infused songs). A lot of recent favorites from contemporary music have been Viennese Waltzes! If you’re having difficulty finding the right song and dance combination, speak to your dance instructor who will be able to offer valuable advice.

  1. Plan your first dance floor entrance and exit

Think about how you and your partner will make an entrance onto the dance floor.   Will you walk together to the dance floor? Or will you meet in the middle? Will you start walking before or after the music starts?

And how will you end your dance? With a kiss? A bow and curtsy? These are all important considerations as part of the planning process. When you have decided upon your entrance and exit, practice to your music and remember the cues for your big day. Your dance instructor will help you with this whether you want a choreographed dance or just to do lead and follow.

  1. Take lessons if possible

Taking dancing lessons is the best way to prepare for your special dance. Even if you are already a good dancer, learning a choreographed wedding dance is a new skill. Otherwise, if you don’t want a choreographed dance and you just want to lead and follow elegantly around the dance floor, lessons can help you to build your confidence and prepare yourselves for the most important dance of your lives.

Remember, as your wedding approaches, you will have less time to work on your dancing as life gets busier with last minute wedding arrangements. So it’s great to start your dance lessons as early as possible. Most couples take classes weekly, allowing enough time for practices in between.

  1. Practice!

Practice your new dance skills in between your lessons for the best results. Learning a new skill can sometimes be stressful, but the more you practice, the more confident and relaxed you and your partner will feel for your wedding dance. Learning a wedding dance together is also a great opportunity to work together as a team. When things seem impossible, remember why you’re doing this. Your first dance is a symbol of your love for one another and your future life together.   Most of all, remember to have fun!

On a more practical note, it’s useful to practice your dancing in the shoes you’ll be wearing on your wedding day, and if your wedding dress includes a full skirt, wear a petticoat or hoop for all of your lessons. This will ensure you’re comfortable on the day.

  1. Let your team know

Once you’ve planned your dance floor entrance and exit, your wedding dance song and have started your dance lessons, let your wedding team know. Your DJ needs to know what music you have chosen, enter and exit cues and any fadeouts required.

If you’re planning something special as part of your dance, also let your photographer know. Often, photographers are used to couples just standing still and swaying in the middle of the floor. If you plan more than this, be sure they know so they can catch all the important moments of your dance.

Your wedding dance is one of the first ‘joint ventures’ you will make as spouses. It is not only a sign of the love you share, but it contains the key element of marriage: teamwork.

Good luck with your wedding dance planning and contact us at Chicago Dance if you would like to get started with professional dance lessons to help you shine on your wedding day.


Are you ready to make a move?