The First Dance: 5 Tips To Personalize Your Special Moment

The First Dance: 5 Tips To Personalize Your Special Moment

Like so many wedding traditions, the first dance is something that a lot of couples can feel pressured to do a certain way. Maybe family members have set certain expectations for you, or you have a societal idea of what you’re supposed to do on your wedding day. Well, I’m here to tell you this: you’re supposed to do you!

The First Dance: 5 Tips To Personalize Your Special Moment

Your ceremony and reception should be all about you, your partner, and your love—no one else. And when it comes to your first dance (which is a special moment for you to share with others as newlyweds but also something you will be practicing for months leading up to your big day), it is very important to bring the focus and fun back to the two of you. Here are five things to consider when thinking about what route to take for your first dance.

Choose a Song That’s Meaningful to Your Relationship

Yes, there are lists titled “Top 50 First Dance Songs” that feature classic choices that get you in the feels every time you hear them. But what if that’s not you? You will connect more with your partner and the dance if the song speaks to you.

Is there a song you heard on your first date that always reminds you of your partner? Are you both into country or reggae? Is there a song that reminds you of “that one night” and always makes you laugh and smile? Go with that one. A song that has a deep meaning to you both will not only be more fun to listen to while you practice but will also guarantee that your dance resonates more with you and your guests.

Choose a Dance Style That You Enjoy and Are Excited About

Don’t feel like you need to do a classic waltz just because you’re in fancy attire and at a top-notch venue. One of the most memorable first dances I choreographed was a flash mob to “Gangnam Style” that went down at one of the nicest hotels in Portland during a really luxe wedding. It was upbeat, fun, and placed a lot of the focus of learning the dance on the hired dancers. Plus, the dance moves were minimal and easy enough for the couple, which is what they wanted. The energy in the room was electric, and it set the tone for a killer dance party at their reception.

Dress the Part

Planning to dance the jive? A short dress might be better than your wedding gown. Into disco? Throw on some bell bottoms and rock those bright, multi-colored shirts. Changing your clothes for your reception can be fun and ensures you are comfortable as you party the night away celebrating your nuptials. If a change of clothing is not for you, consider how your dress, tuxedo, or heels may affect your dancing when shopping for them.

Incorporate Original Moves Into Your Dance That You May Be Known For

This one is a little confusing, so let me explain with a personal story.

I once had a groom who had this unique clapping skill. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was or explain to you what it looked like, but trust me—it was fascinating. It was a party trick this guy was known for. For their first dance, the couple did a fun 80s-inspired number to “This Must Be the Place” by the Talking Heads. We added the groom’s clapping talent into the mix during a freestyle part of the song, and it was a hit. It brought a personal element to their dance and helped his personality really shine through.

If you can do the worm, moonwalk, or have some other fun trick up your sleeve, always share that with your choreographer. That can even help determine what direction you go for the dance’s style and music.

Form a Connection

I saved the best for last because this is the most important tip that really makes or breaks your dance at the end of the day. Not only do you need to feel a connection with the music and the dance, but most importantly, you need to feel a connection with each other. Practice is key for this.

It’s hard to perform and really get into your dance if you’re still trying to remember what move comes next. I recommend that you finish learning your dance at least three weeks before your big day so that you can feel proficient and confident on your wedding day and really let your personalities and love shine through with every step.

The First Dance: 5 Tips To Personalize Your Special Moment

So, whether you don some shades and chains and dance to a four-part mix to your favorite 90s rap jams So, whether you don some shades and chains and dance to a four-part mix to your favorite 90s rap jams or you perform a medieval-inspired dance to the Game of Thrones theme song, the most important thing is that you stay true to yourself. Your first dance will go by like a flash on your wedding day, but it will be a memory you treasure for a lifetime. Make it a special one that you and your partner will cherish and look back on without regrets for years to come.

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Nikki Gaither

Nikki Gaither is a dance instructor and choreographer residing in Portland, Oregon. She has been teaching dance for over 20 years and owns two businesses: PDX Flash Mob and PNW Wedding Dance. In her spare time, Nikki enjoys gardening, hiking, and exploring all the wonders of the Pacific Northwest with her family and rescue pups. Website, Instagram, Facebook.
April 27, 2022

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