We know a lot of couples struggle with when making this seemingly small decision about their reception - “The First Dance” from what song to choose, to how to dance, or even how long the song should play for? If you have found yourself thinking any of these things and wondering if you’re crazy for caring that much about one dance we are here to tell you that you’re not crazy and you’re certainly not alone on this one.
Most couples do not anticipate the stress that can be associated with having to choose a song that will forever be associated with your wedding day, as guests watch you and your partner have your first dance as a married couple.
Part of the wedding planning gig is being a resource for all things weddings, especially when it comes to wedding etiquette and wedding traditions vs current wedding trends. Weddings today are NOT the same ceremonies and receptions that your grandparents or parents had for their big day, and there is nothing wrong with putting your own spin on the old traditions or even throwing out the rule book all together. This is one of our favorite parts of working with couples today, each wedding we have is different from the one before. By helping them to be aware of the old traditions and etiquette but make sure that their love story and personalities are represented in every detail of their wedding day.
While the “First Dance” is the one time honored tradition that guests look forward to and most newlyweds decide to incorporate into their reception, that does not mean that every newlywed’s first dance has to happen the exact same way. We have broken down a few of the top most asked questions around the first dance and why no two first dances are alike.
1. At what point during the reception does the first dance happen?
First things first, keep in mind that NOTHING about your wedding day or reception has to follow any traditional order of events if that does not represent you and your partner in the right way. If you wanted to have your first dance during the ceremony because the song or dance at that specific time represents or signifies something personal between you two or about your love story - then we say dooooo it! Just keep in mind, like a lot of other annoyingly old traditions it was done for a specific reason and if you are going to change the timing around we would still recommend staying within the reception time and either hold the first dance after all of the food has been served or if you choose to have a grand entrance to the reception then the first dance will take place directly after announcing the newlyweds.
2 . What is the best song to choose for your first dance and does it have to be a love song ?!
If you have been paying attention you can probably guess how we answer that common question - Stay true to yourself! Keep in mind this song should be something meaningful to both of you because from that point forward whenever “your” song is played on the radio it will transport you back to that moment of dancing with your new spouse surrounded by the people you love. Just make sure you are choosing a song that is appropriate...even in front of grandma! Save those other moves for the after party!
3. How long should the dance be?
Generally, you should try to keep your first dance under 2 ½ “ minutes, but at most no longer than 3 minutes. Anything after the three minute mark you run the risk of losing your guests attention. Once you are put onto the middle of the dance floor with your partner, dancing in front of everyone you know while they all watch you can get a little overwhelming even for the most practiced dance routine. Do not focus on trying to pick a song that fits within that time frame either the DJ or band you have hired for your reception can make the song shorter by fading the song out or playing a shorter version entirely.
4. Should my fiancé and I be taking dance lessons beforehand ?
To be honest, dance lessons are a matter of personal preference, but it never hurts to take a few beforehand! They are a great idea for a date night between you and your fiance, the biggest plus is that they help couples feel more comfortable dancing in public together, especially if your best move is the 8th grade style - two step sway. Because we can almost guarantee that you are going to be more nervous than you expect, and regardless if you have taken dance lessons together or not, there’s bound to be a forgotten dance move or two. So remember to enjoy those moments and make a memory out of them instead of performing the “Perfect” dance routine.
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