Straight From the Teacher’s Mouth – Joanne Scott
10 Tips for Wedding Dances
1. Give yourself time!
Learning to dance takes time. Come in as early as possible to give yourself plenty of time to learn to dance so that your first dance/father-daughter dance/mother-son dance looks exactly how you vision it! Also keep in mind that the closer you get to the wedding, the more hectic things will be with last minute arrangements and unforeseen obstacles. If you get your dancing in early then that’s one less thing that you will have to worry about!
2. Don’t forget to budget for your dancing
Most couples forget to include dance lessons in the budget for their wedding. Keep in mind that out of everything you buy for your wedding, your dancing will be one of the few things you’ll get to keep for longer than one day. The food gets eaten, the matching napkins thrown away, and the DJ will go home, but at the end of it all you’ll still be able to hold each other in your arms and dance!
- 3. Learn a little bit of everything
While your first dance is one of the most important parts of your wedding, you also have a whole reception with music to get through. We’ve heard of couples that practiced and performed a wonderful first dance but when their guests wanted to dance with them during the reception they had no idea what to do! If you learn the basics in a few dances you will be able to dance to any music you come across. You’ll be able to use it on your honeymoon and at any other wedding or party you attend in the future.
4. Bring more than one song option
Some songs are easier to dance to than others, especially for brand new dancers. Bring in a couple options for your teacher to hear and help you find the one that will make the best dance. Pick songs that are meaningful to you, even if you’re not sure if it’s one you could dance to. You might be surprised!
5. Please, please, please check the lyrics!
Some songs have one nice line that stands out while the rest of the song is about breakups or something sad. Listen to your song carefully or look up the lyrics to make sure it is wedding appropriate.
6. Your teachers need to know…
In order for things to go smoothly on the day of your wedding, a couple details that will help your teacher create a wonderful dance are:
❖ The bride’s attire– Take your dress and accessories into consideration: If you plan on doing a waltz, will your dress’s poofy skirt trip you up? A long train might make those elegant spins a little more difficult. A romantic dip can send your tiara airborne if it’s not secure. Think about the dress length, how much leg room you’ll have, bustle or no bustle, whether it’s strapless or not, how you’ll wear your hair (up, down, tiara, veil, etc), what style of shoes you’ll have (in fact, bring them in and practice in them! It will break them in and make them more comfortable for the wedding day and you’ll learn to balance in them while dancing.) All these things will have an impact on how or what you dance.
❖ Dance floor size
❖ DJ or live band
❖ Photographer, videographer, or both
❖ Plan for how the reception will go (will you walk straight in and dance or will you already be there, how many special dances there will be (father-daughter, mother-son, etc and how you will transition between them all, will you want your wedding party to join you on the dance floor to transition into the party or do you want to dip at the end, etc)
7. It’s all about you!
You don’t get married every day. Let your teacher know what you’re looking for or let us know if you don’t even know where to start. We have worked with numerous wedding parties and have seen it all. We can help you make decisions on the dance but ultimately you have final say.
8. On the day of…
If you get a chance between the ceremony and reception, practice your dance in front of your photographer and videographer so they know where to stand to get the best shots. Also, as much as your feet may hurt keep your shoes on for the dance. Your dress is made for you in your shoes and taking them off could cause it to drag on the floor and possibly get stepped on by your new husband. And most of all remember to smile and have fun! In the end no one will remember or even know if you got your dance exactly right. Enjoy the moment and enjoy each other.
9. In Addition to Your Private Instruction…
❖ Go to the group classes and dance parties as much as possible! Rotating partners during group classes will help you learn how to dance with other people besides your fiancé because you will be dancing with your guests at your wedding. Also, it will help you loosen up and become a better dancer overall.
❖ Plan your entrance and exit: will you clasp hands and kiss before you begin your dance? Will you sashay in from the left and leave to the right? Whatever you decide, be sure to tell your camera operators where and in what direction you will start and finish your dance, as well as any choreographed moves you plan to make. That way, they can prepare to capture your performance in the best light and with the correct angle.
10. Last but not Least…
Practice, practice, practice: Practice on a busy dance floor in a public space. You can also practice at home, of course (preferably in front of a large, floor-length mirror), but you also need the experience of dancing in front of an audience. Practice your routine at least a couple of times per week for several weeks, until your feet seem to move without much help from your mind. Remember, you can always come into the studio to practice even if you don’t have a scheduled lesson. If you can relax and have fun during your first dance, your guests will jump to join you on the dance floor!
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