All Your First Dance Questions Answered: Wed Mayhem
7 min

All Your First Dance Questions Answered

First dance

Nothing is more romantic than sharing a first dance as newlyweds. Not only is it an intimate moment for the couple, but a sentimental memory to share with your wedding guests. The tradition dates back to formal balls of 17th-century Europe in which the guest of honor would host the first dance. Since the days of ballroom dancing, couples choosing to partake in a first dance at their wedding has kept this special tradition alive. We spoke to Wedding Wingman Anna Magidson of Magic Wedding Dance to share everything you need to know about the first dance at your wedding. 

How do you find a good first dance song?

Some couples have “their song” picked out way before the wedding, while others have no idea. It’s a good idea to start making a list of songs you both love so you have options. If the song might not be the right fit for a slow dance, make sure to look into acoustic versions. For more inspiration, check out our blog “20 Best First Dance Songs from Films.” When considering a song for your first dance, Anna you warns to make sure you do your research first. 

“You may really love the way a song sounds, but I would highly recommend reading the lyrics to a song before deciding on it. There may be a double or hidden meaning and you need to make sure you’re okay with that!” 

Can’t decide on a first dance song? Choose multiple songs for a medley! This is a route many couples tend to take! Talk to your DJ or band ahead of time or even your dance instructor before lessons. Anna connects couples looking for a medley with a music producer who goes through multiple iterations with the couple till they find the version they love. 

Do I need a first dance? 

No, at Wed Mayhem we believe it’s your wedding, your way. If a first dance is a tradition that doesn’t feel authentic or particularly special to you and your partner, then by all means skip it. Dancing is not everyone’s forte and you should feel comfortable on your wedding day. 

“I’m a very big proponent for couples to know why they are doing something. There are a lot of wedding traditions besides the first dance like cake cutting and the bouquet toss that people do because they feel like they need to have it. Instead, look into the tradition’s origin and its meaning. Then discuss if you want to modify it to better suit you as a couple”

Can’t decide on a first dance song? Choose multiple songs for a medley! This is a route many couples tend to take! Talk to your DJ or band ahead of time or even your dance instructor before lessons. Anna connects couples looking for a medley with a music producer who goes through multiple iterations with the couple till they find the version they love. 

How do you add personality into your first dance?

Your first dance should be a representation of you as a couple in the way you dance and your body language. Some couples really want to be romantic and intimate. Anna says this can be shown through how you hold one another, look into each other’s eyes, and breathe together. On the other hand, the other couple’s personality lends itself to a more fun and exciting dance, that perhaps is jumpier or shown through big grins on your faces. 

Also, specific moves can be incorporated into your dance to showcase your personality. By spending time with your dance instructor, they will get to know you and choreograph moves tailored to you like a fun handshake or a traditional lift. If you have a signature move, don’t be shy and let your dance instructor know! Anna says “today I had a couple where the groom really wanted to incorporate headbanging into their dance!” 

What has changed in modern-day first dances? 

In ballroom dancing, there are roles, the leader and the follower. Traditionally, the man is the leader and the woman is the follower, but Anna wants everyone to know that this is a pretty outdated concept. “I work with couples that not only might identify as male or female but also even in a heterosexual couples there is plenty of time that the woman is actually the leader!” Gone are the days of gender-specific moves, if you want to spin or do a lift, you should go for it.

How to practice your first dance?

Since not many of us have skills in ballroom dancing, many couples will opt for lessons and a choreographed routine to ease their nerves. Even simply getting to know your song and mapping out what times would be best for something like a twirl or dip can make all the difference. If you’re not wanting to spend the money on in-person lessons, Anna covers all the basics in her online wedding dance lesson. Nailing the steps in your dance comes with practice and can help you look more confident when your wedding day comes and the pressure is on. 

How do I dance in a wedding dress?

If your dress has a train, often it can be bustled (put up with buttons, loops, or ties) to be out of the way while you’re dancing. Another tip Anna has is to focus on your posture! She’s found that brides with strapless dresses tend to hunch over as a protective mechanism. Practicing proper posture with your dance instructor will help you correct yourself and make for better wedding photos.

How do I dance in heels?

Not only does practice make perfect, but it will help break in your shoes! Don’t be afraid to opt for flats for your reception so that you can dance the night away. Anna says one thing most couples forget to consider is what the dance floor of their venue is made out of. She explains if your dance floor is made out of wood, you will have very nice spins compared to something like concrete which will give you more trouble. If you’re dancing on grass or cobblestone with grass poking through, this is something to consider especially if you were planning on wearing 3-inch stilettos. So make sure to check your venue in advance! 

Meet Your Wedding Wingman!

Anna Magison, Magic Wedding Dance’s founder and choreographer, started teaching partner dance ten years ago. She loves seeing engaged couples discover new levels of non-verbal communication, connection, confidence and fun while creating their dream dances! Anna joined Wed Mayhem to empower as many couples as possible.

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