A first dance is a heartfelt moment for many newlyweds at their wedding. It typically follows the meal at the reception and kicks off a night of celebration, but some newlyweds opt to introduce themselves with a dance at the start of the reception, in a “grand entrance” sort of fashion. Whatever you decide, it’s the first time that you’ll dance as a married couple, and it’s an opportunity to not only share a special experience with your new spouse, but also your loved ones.
But, how do you decide on the perfect first dance song, and how can you make your first dance meaningful and memorable? Here are some first dance ideas for your wedding.
When deciding on a first dance idea for your wedding, it’s important to reflect on your style, values, and personality as a couple. Do you love salsa dancing? Have a penchant for choreographed dances? Dislike the limelight and want your first dance to be short and sweet? Asking yourselves how you envision sharing a first dance in front of your family and friends will help you both get on the same page and land on the perfect song.
You’ll also want to take into consideration your venue, floor plan, and wedding schedule. How much room will you have for your first dance? Will you be ? Will a live band or DJ be playing your song? All these factors will affect what idea you agree on for your first dance.
Maybe there’s already a song that pops into your head when you think of your spouse. Or, perhaps you share a favorite artist or band and want to dance to one of their tracks. Create a playlist of possible contenders, and then spend some time going through each song to determine which one feels most like “you.” Whether you’re both R&B fans, country music lovers, or indie-obsessed, a special song in whatever genre that best reflects your relationship will make for the most meaningful first dance.
If you need some first dance inspiration, there are classic wedding songs: “At Last,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, and “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” to name a few. Popular, and more modern, first dance wedding songs include “All of Me,” “No One,” and “My Best Friend.”
If you can’t decide on one great song, or you have several songs that are meaningful to you, you might consider a first dance medley. You can have your DJ or wedding band—or you can even blend tracks yourself—create a mash-up of your favorite songs. Mix things up with slower and faster tunes, if that’s your style, to keep guests on their toes as to what’s to come next.
Once you’ve landed on the perfect first dance song (or songs!), now it’s time to figure out how you want to go about your first dance as a married couple. Here are some first dance ideas for your wedding.
A choreographed dance isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a couple who isn’t afraid to get a bit silly, memorizing a routine can be lots of fun. If you’ve gone the medley route, you may want your dancing to reflect the changing tempos. Even if you’re sticking with one song for your first dance at your wedding, the choreography is a playful way to liven the mood and keep things entertaining.
If it’s within your budget, you may ask a musician to write a custom tune for your wedding. Original songs not only allow for lyrics that perfectly describe your relationship, but they are also meaningful long beyond your wedding day, and they can be played on special occasions, such as your anniversary. If you have a family member or friend who is musically inclined, you can even ask them to write and perform a first dance wedding song that reflects you as a couple. It’s just one way to add a personal touch to your wedding reception.
If neither you nor your partner are expert dancers (no shame), you may feel more comfortable taking some dance lessons before your big day. Dance classes are a great way to either learn a new type of dance, such as ballroom, or practice your first dance ahead of time. Not everyone likes the idea of dancing to their wedding song for the first time at their wedding, so rehearsing with a dance instructor can help ease anxiety and prenuptial jitters. So, if you’re wondering how to dance at a wedding, a little preparation will help.
If the idea of guests sitting at their tables with all eyes on you dancing is unnerving, think of ways to actively incorporate them into the moment. If your venue permits, handing out sparklers or glow sticks to guests to wave around you is a fun way to make a first dance more special, and encourages everyone to join in on the festivities. You may also want to have your DJ or a member of your wedding party announce at a certain point in the song that the dance floor is now open to all guests. That way, you still have an opportunity for people to watch you and your spouse dance (and get some seriously adorable photo ops) without remaining the center of attention for the entire track.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking the classic slow dance route. If you feel that swaying to a love song while embracing your partner is the way to go, then do it. Slow dancing is simple and sweet, and allows you two to take a breath from the fast-pace of a wedding and be present in the moment. It’s also guaranteed to generate some tears from the audience.
Just like other aspects of your wedding, your first dance should be a reflection of your relationship and it should feel right to you, as a couple. There is no right or wrong way to have a first dance, and if you want to forego the whole tradition altogether, so be it! What’s important is that you and your spouse share special moments on your big day that you’ll cherish throughout your marriage. Your first dance will only be one of many dances to come.