Traditionally, there are numerous dances that occur at the beginning of a wedding reception: the father-daughter dance, mother-son dance, and – of course – the bride and groom’s first dance. These dances give guests a glimpse of the important people in the wedding, views of whom up to that time have been most likely limited to the walk down the aisle or short chats during the cocktail hour.
The problem is that most of us no longer dance, at least not formally. Moreover, unfortunately, when it comes to a wedding, the moves the bride and groom displayed at the recent U2 concert don’t count. This means that most brides and grooms, not to mention their parents and other members of the wedding party, are at a loss as to how to dance formally before a large group of people.
Don’t worry, we don’t recommend that you become a competitive ballroom dancer (although did you know that our President, HeatherSala, used to be just that?!) or that you encourage your bridal party or parents to do the same. What we DO recommend, however, is that you take some dance lessons.
Taking dance lessons doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours in a studio. One or two sessions might be more than enough to allow you to learn some basic moves and general choreography, or at least make you feel comfortable showing your stuff on the dance floor before your friends and family. Most of the time, studios recommend that you wear your wedding shoes and bring along your wedding song to the lesson so that you can acquire some real experience of what it will be like when you engage in that first dance.
You can, of course, take as many dance classes as you like, and we recommend that you do just that if you’re looking to nail down intricate choreography or moves. Remember, practice makes it more likely that you’ll be perfect!
Dance lessons aren’t just for you and your fiancé, however. In fact, we are seeing more parents and members of the bridal party joining brides and grooms in their lessons. This helps everyone acquire some basic dance moves, resulting in them feeling calmer when it’s their turn on the dance floor. Members of a bridal party planned to be called to the dance floor to join the bride and groom during the latter’s first dance might especially appreciate lessons.
Lessons don’t need to be taken individually. In fact, simply encouraging others to take lessons might not be enough of a push. The best alternative is to set up a group lesson and invite everyone in your bridal party and your parents. In this instance, it’s preferable for you to pay for the cost of the lesson, but if necessary you could ask people to chip in a small amount. You’ll increase the number of attendees to this lesson if you follow it up with a trip to a bar or restaurant.
For dance lessons, we highly recommend Fred Astaire in Fairfax,Virginia. Not only do the studio’s instructors know their stuff (man, are they amazing to watch!), but they’re also more than able to assist even the most novice of dancers get their grove on. We’ve seen them turn quite a few non-dancers into agile movers. Our own destination wedding specialist and Managing Director of International Operations, Kha Thai Vo, is a student at the studio and can act as a point of contact for any couples interested in taking lessons.
You don’t need to bust into a Flamenco dance; there is, after all, no need to impress your guests. However, it is definitely comforting to feel as though you know what you’re doing when walking onto that shiny dance floor.