There are many aspects of the wedding that you'll never forget, but perhaps one of the most memorable is the 1st dance. With this in mind, it's important that you pay it the attention that it merits.
Traditionally, the Bride and Groom will be invited onto the dancefloor for their 1st dance as a married couple and this will kick-start the evening reception. After a minute or so, the parents will be asked to join the happy couple, then a few moments later the Best Man, accompanied by the Chief Bridesmaid, will also join in. Sometimes the Ushers and remaining Bridesmaids will then take to the floor, but this is entirely optional. Assuming that this tradition is to be followed, make sure that all parties are aware beforehand (including the person who is MC'ing the event) and that everyone knows who they are dancing with (paricularly when there are multiple Ushers and Bridesmaids involved). Other than that , it should be pretty plain sailing!
So now you know what's expected, then it's time to begin planning the 1st dance. Essentially, there are three aspects that you need to consider when planning this element of the proceedings - namely, the song itself, the way it will be played, and how you and your partner will strut your funky stuff whilst it is playing. Let's take a look at each one in turn.
When it comes to the piece of music that will accompany the 1st dance, whilst the vast majority will follow tradition and opt for a romantic number from the last 50 years or so, this is by no means a pre-requisite. So, if you're a big classical music fan or heavily into thrash metal, then there's nothing to stop you choosing a piece by Mozart or Metallica - granted you may get some strange looks bopping away to 'Enter Sandman', but hey, it's you day, so do things your way.
That said, most couples will opt for a romantic classic that has graced the recent pop charts. So how do you choose?
Well, to be honest there is no right or wrong - it's very much a personal thing. So, if you aren't lucky enough to have something you can pinpoint as 'our song', then you'll need to get looking. Make sure that you pay attention to both the tune and the words themselves - you'll find that many a romantic song is actually about breaking up and that's the last message you want to be hearing on the big day!
To help you out, we've put together a number of articles covering the most popular songs from the last few decades here on Weddingsday and they are well worth checking out. Alternatively, speak to friends and relatives, browse through your local record store, or turn on the TV or radio - the perfect song is out there, you just need to track it down!
One final thing to remember is that the music you choose for your 1st dance will stay with you forever - trust us, you’ll be asked a dozen times what you danced to even before your 1st Wedding Anniversary - so take your time and try not to choose something that will make you cringe in years to come!
Whilst the thought of Elton turning up in person to perform 'Your Song' is a nice thought, we all know that in practice that ain't gonna happen (unless you've lent him a tupee recently and he owes you one!). So, with this in mind you really only have two options available; to have a pre-recorded version piped in over the sound system or to get any band or soloist who is performing on the night to perform a cover of the song in question.
The pre-recorded version is the most popular option and it's also perhaps the safest. Any routine you'll have practiced will have been to the pre-recorded number, so if you want to avoid a potential problem should the drummer decide to go on a solo then it's best to stick with that. However, if you've gone for a country number (Dolly Parton's 'I Will Always Love You' for example) and you've got a celidh band pencilled in to perform on the night, then it would be a shame not to use them - on the flipside an all male rock band performing a Mariah Carey classic doesn't often work! Whatever you opt for make sure you've got your bases covered - ensure the pre-recorded version can be played through the sound-system (format wise) or that the track is within the repetoire of the musicians - after all you don't want to sway away to the sounds of silence (we are referring to no music at all as opposed to the Simon & Garfunkel classic!).
Finally, we have heard of some couples roping in a friend or relative to sing the tune or even singing it to each other (Rene and Renata style!). Don't get us wrong, this is a valid option if the singer(s) in question are potential X-Factor finalists, but in our opinion it's better to save such acts for later in the night - or perhaps even a rainy day!
Whatever you do, just make sure that you and your partner have at least discussed how to approach the dance beforehand - there's nothing more cringe-worthy than watching a couple shuffle uncomfortably round on the dancefloor for three minutes desperate for the music to end!
However, why not go one better than merely discussing the dance, and instead practice your steps before the big day - even better, why not rope in a local dance instructor to help you out? Professional tutors are everywhere these days, and from ballroom to disco, there's bound to be one near you who can provide expert advice or even choreograph a whole routine. If you've not tried dancing before then you may just also find that it's something you really enjoy and discover a new hobby along the way!
Whatever you plump for, just remember that no-one's expecting 'Strictly Come Dancing' standards from you, so there's no need to panic. That said, don't be so laid back that you forget about things completely - all the hard work you invest in your 'routine' beforehand will pay dividends on the day.
So armed with all this infomation you should have everything you need to plan the perfect 1st dance - then all you have to do is get on the dancefloor and put things into practice.
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