While the "typical" first dance may be in the process of fading into history, most newly married couples will still participate in the tradition of the first dance during their reception. More recently, however, many couples have put a bit of a spin on the first dance and have either taken lessons so they are not just moving slowly around the floor and/or choreographed a unique dance routine that may shock and entertain their guests.
While the first dance is a very sweet and sentimental tradition, many wedding guests feel this is the most boring portion of the entire reception. However, if the dance is a traditional slow dance, it will last, at most, 4-5 minutes. Just about anyone can sit still and endure anything for that amount of time. The couple deserves at least that bit of respect.
With all that being said, as a couple, you should at least attempt to make your first dance somewhat memorable. This doesn't necessarily mean going all out with an over-the-top choreographed routine. However, learning a real dance, whether by attending classes or just watching a DVD, will go a long way rather than just swaying about on the floor for the few minutes you are out there. If you are a traditional couple, you can just do a very easy waltz. However, if you are an adventurous couple, you may want to consider something a bit livelier which might include your wedding party at the end. The options are endless and are only limited by your imagination and creativity. Actually, there is one additional thing that may limit your dance options....the wedding gown.
It has been discovered that wedding gowns can be quite the hindrance during a lively choreographed routine. For this reason, some brides choose their gown based on their reception festivities and other just choose to have a second gown specifically for the reception so they are more comfortable moving about on the dance floor and mingling with their guests. For this very same reason, your bridesmaids will thank you if you choose bridesmaids dresses that will allow them to participate in all the reception activities in comfort as well.
When it comes to choosing your music a good place to start is with songs that you both enjoy as a couple. If you are planning a slow dance, then the choice becomes a bit more obvious and will also narrow down your choices of music. If you do choose to begin your first dance as a romantic slow dance and then move onto a choreographed performance be sure it is tasteful and entertaining. Don't cheapen the event of the first dance with a performance that lacks taste.
You also need to decide if the first dance will include dances with anyone other than just the bride and groom. Sometimes the first dance festivities will also include the father of the bride dancing with his daughter and the groom dancing with his mother. This can progress to all the parents dancing with each other and eventually ending up with each person's own spouse. Another option is for the bride and groom to dance first and then bring their wedding party onto the floor with their respective partners. As a general rule, once all the "required" dancing has finished, all the guests are invited to join in and dance.
The first dance will generally take place after the cutting of the wedding cake but before any wedding toasts and speeches. If you have a DJ or MC, that person will announce the first dance and ask for your guests to clear the floor (if dancing has already begun). At that time the couple will take the floor and perform their first dance and any other planned dances.
Keeping the above in mind, as a guest, stay put in your seat. The first dance is reserved for the bride and groom alone and unless guests have been called to the floor, you should remain seated until the guests are called to join the couple on the dance floor.
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