Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wedding First Dance Secrets!

Secrets for a successful First Dance at your Wedding!

Imagine the moment, holding your life partner’s hand as you stroll onto that hardwood floor with the cheers and applause of friends and family ringing in your ears.

Most couples intend to dance the traditional first dance, but most of them also know nothing at all about dancing! So as the big day approaches their sense of panic increases. Avoid anxiety by following a few easy tips.

I'm Scott Barratt from and after witnessing well over 1000 wedding first dances we've discovered the secrets to ensuring your first dance success.

Ask yourself: are you going to do something special or do you prefer the old traditional approach?

Either way here’s some good news that will fortify both your motivation and your confidence:


In fact with a little preparation you can transform that pivotal moment from something you’re dreading into something you can actually look forward to, a performance you’ll look back on with pride.

Let’s start by breaking it down into small, easy-to-manage chunks:

Here are your essential steps:

Define your vision

Pick your Song

Plan your Entrance and Exit

Who’s going to Lead?

What Dance Will You Perform?

Practice Makes Perfect

The Most Important First Dance Tip!

Define Your Vision

First Step: What is your vision?

If you don’t have a goal you don’t have much chance of achieving it.

Take a moment to paint a movie in your mind. Imagine that you could have any result you desire. What would your first dance look like? What is the mood that you want to create?

The choice is yours and you can amp up the energy level and kick-start the dancing or maintain a sense of elegance and tradition. There is no right or wrong way to approach it, if it’s right for you it’s right period.

Whatever you decide, be sure to tell your camera operators where you will start and finish your dance.

Pick Your Song

There are a few things to consider when choosing your first dance tune.

Does it inspire you?

Your connection may be that it could be heard playing in the background when you got engaged or perhaps during another pivotal moment during your history together.

The connection could be as simple as the fact that you both love it!

Have options: Narrow your list down to a few finalists and then try practicing to each one of them and choose the one that feels the most comfortable. If you don't like a song, don't dance to it!

If possible pick a romantic song with a good easy to hear dance beat that’s steady throughout. (this makes it easier for rookie dancers)

Although a love song is great for the traditional First Dance take a moment and consider the alternatives.

We’ve found a pseudo tango is an easy to learn step that has a great deal of visual appeal. Better yet, regardless of the style of dance that you decide to try there is one simple rule:

Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. Very few, if any of your guests will know that you’re not doing it correctly. Remember this isn’t the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance and your guests are not Simon Cowell or the Horse-faced Female Dance Judge with the annoying voice. (if they are then cut your losses and hire a professional instructor ASAP lol)

Plan Your Entrance & Exit

If you plan both your Entrance and your Exit it will really add some polish to your presentation and will subconsciously make you a little more confident.

The Entrance: There are an unlimited number of options but we find the most workable and effective methods are:

You both stroll onto the floor hand in hand (if so, you should decide in advance where you should enter the dance floor and where to leave)

Plan what will happen when you end your dance. Will you invite everyone onto the dance floor or just your parents and/or grandparents?

Who’s Going To Lead?

Your next endeavour is to decide on who is going to lead. Start by taking an honest assessment of your obstacles. Ask yourself, “Are we equally inept on the dance floor or could it be that only one of us is terrible? (in 99.99% of cases we find that the Groom is way more klutzy than the Bride)

Normally HE leads...SHE follows. (At least when you’re on the dance floor). Try it the traditional way to see if he can pick up a few simple moves. (be sure to keep it basic and simple)

He keeps time and dances to the music...she keeps in time with him.

If this isn’t working it’s time to switch places and have the Bride take over as you enter the next phase.

What Dance Will You Perform?

Fortunately you don’t need to be a great dancer to put on a show that will inspire a sea of smiles and a torrent of hoots, hollers and applause from your assembled guests.

The first step is to take an assessment of your abilities … or lack thereof.

If you are both in the “Totally-Rhythmically-Challenged” category and don’t want to invest the time or effort in developing an “act” you can always perform the ever popular, Grade 6-Side-to-Side-Slow-Dance. You remember that classic don’t you? All you have to do is grip onto each other and shuffle from one foot to the other in time to the music.

If you’re not sure what to do just ask any school kid to show you. (if the kid is reluctant to help just threaten to hide their pimple cream until they comply – it works every time)

Just imagine that you’re one of the un-dead zombies from a movie like Night of the Living Dead without the forward motion.

Apparently you are aspiring to something a little more impressive for the showcase that is your first dance otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this right now.

You will definitely want to consider taking some private dance lessons. It’s not imperative but a dance instructor can help you learn some easy dance steps designed to be an exact fit with your song of choice.

If your budget can’t handle the additional expense of dance lessons do not fear as you can still put on a decent show without professional instruction.


As with an undertaking your chance of success is directly related to the effort you put towards it.

Practice as much as you can so you won’t have to concentrate as much, preferably at least twice a week.

This will allow you and your partner to feel more confident on the night so you can relax and actually enjoy your first dance!

Our biggest tip in this section is to practice dancing in something similar shape and length-wise to what you will be wearing.

Practice sometimes without the music, especially at the beginning stages, it will help you concentrate on perfecting your steps, and leading or following.

Look straight ahead (not at your feet), when dancing. Remember you are steering. Believe it or not your feet will work without your looking at them!

Perform with confidence and a big smile for each other and your guests

It is most important to look confident and show you are enjoying yourselves while performing your first wedding dance. The easiest way to achieve this is to hold your head high and smile. What ever you do, don't ever look at your feet.

Check out the floor you will dance on. Make sure you know its dimensions.


I’ve attended well over a thousand weddings and there is one mistake that will almost guarantee that your First Dance won’t make the positive impression you are hoping for.

That mistake is attempting to dance to the entire song!

I keep a close eye on the crowd and here’s how it plays out almost 100% of the time.

A portion of the crowd run up to the dance floor with a beaming smile of expectation on their face and a camera in hand. They cheer for the beautiful married couple and diligently snap a few shots of our stars as they twirl their way around the hardwood. Then about a minute in to the dance boredom sets in, the smile fades and they start scanning the rest of the crowd for something interesting to watch.

It’s not your fault it’s simply the nature of the beast. Even some of the contestants on “Dancing With The Stars” would have trouble making a standard slow dance interesting.

As a bride you may be thinking that 90 seconds or 2 minutes is an awfully short time but trust me it won’t feel that way when you are on the floor. More often than not we see the Bride and Groom starting to chat with each other partway through.

If you are dead set on hearing the entire song you can open up the floor part way through the song to the guests which will give them something to do.

If you are going to have a Bride/Father and/or Groom/Mother dance however, bringing the guests on won’t work very well unless you let them stay up during those dances. We find that most Fathers want the floor to themselves when taking that ceremonial spin with their newly married daughter.

Most importantly - have FUN. Fun is the most important factor on your wedding day. But whatever else you decide on keep it short. Anywhere between 90 seconds and two and a half minutes is just right for your First Dance.

For the most complete list of Wedding First Dance Songs please click here: or check us out at: