Your wedding day is here, and it’s gone off without a hitch up to this point: you said your vows without tripping on your words or mascara running down your face, the cake arrived on time and in-tact, and everyone had a chance to eat, even you and your spouse!
Suddenly, the DJ calls for you and your new spouse to walk out onto the dance floor-it’s time for your first dance. All eyes are on you as you stiffly grab onto his shoulders and he awkwardly puts his hands onto your waist. The music starts and you slowly shuffle back and forth, slightly off-time to the most over-used love song on the radio that week. The moment all of your guest’s eyes should be on you in wonder and awe, they are instead darting around the room, unsure of what to do for the next three minutes. As the song winds down, you quickly rush off the dance floor, wishing you could erase the memory of your first dance, moments after you make it.
All of the awkwardness of this moment can be completely avoided by simply planning in advance for your first dance. This display of unity and love should be a memory you can look back on with fondness and joy instead of wanting to forget it ever happened. Here at Fred Astaire, we specialize in helping you create the most beautiful and memorable first dance ever, for you, your spouse-to-be, and your guests. Below we’ve put together a list of 6 tips to help take your first dance from awkward to amazing:
1. Start Early and Practice Often!
Any professional dancer will promise you that the last thing you want to do is to start practicing the week before your wedding for something as memorable and important as a wedding dance, or you might end up like the couple describe earlier. Every performance requires more than just a couple of hours of practice, even for professional dancers! Most professionals spend a couple of months working on their routines before a competition, and your wedding dance is so much more important than a competition. You will want to give yourself plenty of time with these new movements to feel comfortable and confident with your dance steps. Do yourself and your fiance a favor and give yourselves about six months to be really comfortable with dancing. You don’t have to take lessons that whole time but you can take what you’ve learned and practice together outside of your lessons. We promise you won’t regret picking up your phone and getting in with a dance instructor now.
2. Choose your song carefully.
Choosing a song can seem like a daunting task sometimes, because you need a song that has meaning to you and your fiance, but it also needs to be appropriate for dancing. Before settling on a song, make sure you let your dance instructor take a listen to determine the rhythm and style of your song. These aspects can really influence the kind of dance you will perform at your wedding. Your dance instructor can tell you if a rumba will work well for your dance, or if you need to foxtrot to the song instead, and they will also explain just how to dance to your song! Finally, make sure to think about the length of the song. Most of your guests will be able to focus on you and your new spouse for about three minutes, but after that they might zone out. Besides, most couples don’t want to dance much longer than 3 minutes in front of an audience. If the song you want is too long, don’t worry! Your dance instructor can help edit the song down to a manageable length while still maintaining the essence of your song.
3. Tell us all about the details!
Gush about your big day to your instructor! It’s not only incredibly fun to share all the details about your wedding to someone, it will help your instructor tailor the first dance to your specific style and needs. Details you might think are irrelevant could actually be important to how your instructor creates your choreography. Is your dance floor big or small? What does your dress look like and how does it move? Where will your guests be seated in relation to the dance floor? Where is the entrance you’ll be using? Give as many details to your instructor as you can think of, and if you have pictures of your dress and venue space, even better!
4.Take advantage of group classes and practice parties.
Most of our packages at Fred Astaire include a number of group classes and practice parties, along with the private lessons where you’ll practice your wedding dance. Take advantage of all the guidance provided in the group classes, and the extra practice at our Friday night parties! You’ll see your comfort with dancing in front of other people skyrocket when you start taking classes and attending the parties. The extra practice will also help you feel comfortable dancing socially at your wedding, as well as at other social events as you
begin to learn more than just your wedding dance. Group classes and parties are a valuable part of any student’s learning and wedding couples are no different.
5. Do a practice performance at the studio.
A few weeks before your wedding, set aside a Friday night for you and your fiance to come into the studio and perform your wedding dance at a party.This is a good opportunity to try on a similar length dress or similar style suit, and dance in front of real people! Nothing gets the wedding day jitters out like a run-through of your dance in front of an audience. We consistently hear bridal couples say that the performance at a practice party really helps strengthen their confidence levels before the wedding. If you want, we can also record a video of your wedding dance at the party so you can review it with your instructor at your next private dance lesson-this can really help put the finishing touches on your dance so it looks polished and professional on your wedding day!
6. Relax and enjoy the journey.
Dancing isn’t supposed to be a stressful experience-in fact, all our students say dancing is one of the biggest stress relievers in their life! Don’t let the pressure of your wedding day take away the joy and togetherness that dancing can provide. Even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes here and there to practice with your fiance outside of lessons, you will see forward movement with your progress and a higher level of comfort with your dancing. Remember the reasons why you’re creating this special dance: as a way to express your love for each other, and to grow in communication and teamwork together. It’s okay if you make mistakes and stumble along the way-this is a journey you two are on together, both in dancing and towards your marriage. Smile often, laugh at yourselves, and have fun!
One Final Note:
Whether you’re dancing a complex choreographer routine or taking simple steps, dancing a quick foxtrot or a slow and sweet rumba, your dance will be a beautiful expression of your love for each other. This dance is a symbol of where your relationship is now, and a testament of what your future together will be. At the end of the day, your wedding will be a beautiful celebration with friends and family no matter what happens.