‘The first dance is often considered to be one of the romantic highlights of the wedding day’ – Debrett’s.
Unless, of course, you happen to be a rhythmically challenged groom. In which case we’re willing to bet a hefty percentage of mankind would readily disagree (just not in earshot of other halves). But ‘romantic highlight’ or longest four minutes of your life, those first iconic steps are going to be on display for the entire wedding party to admire (you’re welcome), and recalled in an instant whenever ‘your song’ crops up on a playlist ever again. But fear not, daunted grooms, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide (geddit?) to set you on your merry way.
Wedding Dances – Where to begin?
To dance or not to dance?
It’s by no means compulsory to include a first dance in the evening’s shenanigans – personal preference plays the deciding hand on this one. Not keen on busting a move? ‘Make sure the wedding party are on hand to get the dancing started’ say Debrett’s (nicely redeemed) Firmly up for your twinkle-toed moment of glory? Let’s get cracking.
The stats: 70% of newlyweds opt to have a first dance.
First Dance Tradition
Back to the Pimm’s (etiquette and tradition) for a moment, gents. Although by no means set in stone, if you choose to stick to a traditional sequence of events, it’s customary for the main players to take to the dance floor as follows;
Traditional order of dance
- Bride and groom (yes we know you knew that – smart arse – we’re being thorough)
- Bride with each father, groom with each mother.
- Mother of the bride with father of the groom, father of the bride with mother of the groom.
- Best man with chief bridesmaid.
- Mass free-for-all for those who dare (or have made too many trips to the bar to remember they shouldn’t. Ever).
The stats: 22% of brides expect to shed a tear or two during their first dance (exactly 0% confirmed whether or not the groom’s skills played a part), while 36% expect to cry during their father/daughter number.
Wedding Dance Styles
Spend a few minutes checking out the good, the bad and the epic on YouTube and it’s blindingly obvious that first dances follow an ‘anything goes’ ethos nowadays. And yes, we keep banging on about it, but when it comes to planning your big day it really is all down to what works best for you. The Foxtrot and Waltz still reign supreme as first dance classics but Timewarp, Cha cha or ‘not sure what we’re doing so we’ll shuffle’ gold standard, it’s your day, chaps. Pick a style you’re both comfortable with and you’re golden. ‘Nuff said?
Choosing a Wedding Song
Until wedding vows are cannily tailored ‘to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, to ban Celine Dion from this moment forth’, picking the right song for that dance is always going to provide the potential for some epic head-to-head battles. Snow Patrol vs Celine Dion, Elbow vs Celine Dion, Jack Johnson vs Celine Dion….
Okay, we jest (sometimes they’ll throw in a Michael Bublé), but there are a few key points to consider when it comes to picking that all-important number;
Mood, style and rhythm
Sure, you might be a hard rock heavy death metal(?) kind of guy, but will a Slipknot/Black Sabbath mash-up fit with that long-awaited wedding Waltz you’ve always wanted? Bear in mind your choice of song will dictate the mood, style and rhythm of the wedding dance.
Aerosmith classic float your boat? You’re in good company. But at nearly five minutes long, you’ll also be left with a ruddy long time to blag your way around the dance floor. Be aware of timing. Dance pros recommend throwing down your best shapes for a maximum 2-3 minutes. Go long and you risk losing the crowds. Keep it short and you’ll have less steps to remember. (please also be advised; at 5 minutes 11, we figure this puts that song from that film about that ship firmly off limits in the eyes of the pros – who are we to argue?)
Why do lyrics matter? ‘I want to break free’ said the legendary Queen. Need we say more??
(check out the results of Hallmark’s recent survey for a selection of hits to avoid).
The stats: 40% of couples manage to put Celine Dion differences aside and agree on a first song together.
Top 5 Most Popular Wedding Song Choices (according to wedding dance gurus First Dance UK)
- ‘Everything’ – Michael Bublé
- ‘Let’s stay together’ – Al Green
- ‘At Last’ – Etta James
- ‘Amazed’ – Lonestar
- ‘Make you feel my love’ – Adele
Time to call in the professionals?
If a little expert advice wouldn’t go amiss, there are a whole fleet of top notch wedding dance specialists out there on a mission to make you shine. From simple tips and advice to song selection and full-on choreographed routines, dance instructors can be massively helpful in nailing the perfect routine. Not convinced? Think Strictly, chaps. Even good old Tuffers went from two left feet to twinkle-toed extraordinaire with the help of a clued-up coach (sure one busted knee also saw him land himself in hospital. And surgery. And..er..physio. But that’s best left unmentioned). The point is, the pros know their stuff. And they can be an invaluable resource in making the moment run smoothly. Most companies tailor a package to your specific needs, with instruction available at the location of your choice. Check out www.firstdanceuk.co.uk and www.weddingdaydanceuk.co.uk for a cracking run-down on the what, where and how to’s of your moment in the spotlight.
Wedding Dances – The good, the insane and the awesomely epic!
The one that started it all…
Shades, threads, backflips and a no holds barred boogie down the aisle…. 85 million hits later and the legendary ‘JK Wedding’ collective still reign supreme.
The mother/son tag-team…
Mother, son and an ‘unforgettable’ mash-up make for one of the most epic wedding dances of all time.
But top nod, bow and respect surely has to go to;
The Lords of the Dance!
And THAT, gentlemen, is how it’s done! Top nod to team groom!