Your first dance can be one of the key moments of your day, and with a little thought and help from your DJ you may be surprised how much you will enjoy it!
I believe it can be a very meaningful moment as relationships between men and women have been cemented by music, dance and ritual since the dawn of time – this may be the closest we can now get to that original primitive instinct of our ancestors…
The first thing to do is choose the right song or piece of music – personally I don’t think you should be influenced by fashion or peer pressure – you should choose something that has genuine meaning for you both, and that you will feel comfortable with moving together on the night.
If you have the confidence then by all means go for rehearsed and choreographed routines – they can be great fun and very entertaining for your guests – but at the end of the day there is always the risk you sacrifice the potential intimacy and symbolism of the moment in order to entertain – once again, that’s fine – anything goes and your personalities will decide the approach that’s right for you.
The song can be old or new, fast or slow, heavy rock or easy listening – just remember you need to stand by your choice in front of your guests, be able to move or dance to it in some shape or form – and not regret your decision half way through! – The wedding video will not lie…
Some of the most moving choices of my clients have been for pieces of music I had not heard before – “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds Five springs to mind, bringing this hardened old professional close to tears!
You must then decide if you want to dance the whole piece by yourselves, or whether to invite family and guests to join you part way through. It may seem the easy option to have guests join you, and normally this works well as long as your DJ is up to the job of ensuring everybody steps forward to join you – success here is built on a process which actually starts at the beginning of the night as your DJ plays the right music and gains the trust of the audience in the way he behaves and speaks to them.
Once again, there is no right or wrong way – it is your choice, and you may prefer to dance your song together by yourselves – if clients are not sure if they will make it, I simply tell them to give me a “look” – I will then bring everyone on to the dance floor on cue.
I believe it is very important for your guests to join you on the floor at some point during this part of the night, so if you are dancing the first song alone, I suggest going straight into a second song , for which I would then invite everyone to join you. I would hope to get everybody up and dancing around you for this – not only does it generate a beautiful atmosphere of love and support , but it also means you can relax in the centre of the crowd and enjoy being alone together in that private moment.
Running Order – and how to make it work…
I have written a separate piece on the timing and flow of the night as a whole, but ideally your first dance should set up and run like this.
Your DJ should confer with you during the evening and check you are ready in good time. He will announce the First Dance is coming up about 10 to 15 minutes beforehand, and work with the best man, ushers and venue staff to ensure everybody is in the room before you start. I tell everybody what is happening, and ask your guests to gather around the edges of the dance floor. I warm the room up with some carefully chosen songs – maybe Andy Williams singing “Can’t take my eyes off you” followed by “I’m a believer” by The Monkees – these really get people engaged and into a celebratory mood.
I would then invite you both onto the dance floor with a little light introduction and maybe a word or two about your chosen piece of music – dedicating it to you as “Your Song”.
You then dance your chosen first dance together, hopefully with the full emotional support of your guests, who will join you on the floor at the chosen moment. At the end I would ask everybody to hold onto their partners as we dance a second song with everybody up – partly as explained earlier to give you that moment of time together in the middle of the room, but also to give guests the opportunity to dance all together, as some may only just have got onto the floor as the first song was ending – this is a tried and tested routine – it works really well! It also gives me a chance to take some good photos of all your guests, including the older ones, up on the dance floor together.
At the end of the second song, I would say something like “Ladies and Gentlemen – May I present Mr and Mrs “Smith” – this is the cue for a big round of applause… I then declare the party “Officially Open” and play one or two lively songs that are easy for everyone who wants to carry on dancing…
And there you are – a very simple and effective way of making certain this valuable moment is enjoyed and remembered by everyone.