Brides: Keep That First Dance Short And Simple!

Posted by Dave

One of the services I offer brides and their families is an evening of dance instruction. Anticipation of the First Dances can be a bit nerve-racking, because – for those few minutes – all eyes are on the Bride and Groom, then Bride and Dad. And, in my occasionally painful experience, there are many Grooms and Dads who aren’t quite ready to lead you in the Spotlight Dance (and will tell you so – loudly.)

Complicating matters further is your wedding gown itself, which – even when its train is “bundled” – is more dress than most young ladies have ever worn for dancing. Sometimes too late, the bride learns that quick moves, fast turns, and rapid changes of direction are nearly impossible while encased in so much fabric. “Wardrobe malfunctions” are another ongoing threat. If the Groom or Dad place their foot on the hem of your gown, then give you a spin, you can dance yourself right out of your skirt. (It’s happened more than once, and gives new meaning to the term blushing bride.)

To prevent seeing your First Dance as husband and wife wind up on “You Tube” or “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” here’s what I recommend:

1. Rehearse In Something Long. A dress you once wore as a bridesmaid, the full-length slip that goes under your wedding gown, or even your Dad’s bathrobe can help give you an idea of what your range of movement will be. (While you’re at it, have your Groom put on dress shoes for the rehearsals, too. No flip-flops.)

2. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Since you will be the only ones dancing, the easiest thing to do is a slow and regal leftward-turning circle around the entire dance floor. If your chosen song has 4 beats per measure, do your steps (Note to Groom and Dad: small steps) on beats 1 and 3, giving your Bride’s gown beats 2 and 4 to catch up with you. If you have chosen a waltz, move on the downbeat of “1″ only.

3. Keep Your Groom At Arm’s Length. Dancing cheek-to-cheek is fine, when the only thing your partner can step on is your feet. To keep him off your gown, assume the “Open” or “Formal” position. (At my son’s Catholic school dances, we used to refer to this as “leaving room for the Holy Spirit between you.”) You will have the rest of your lives to snuggle – now is not the time.

4. Keep Your Eyes On Each Other. There is no need for either of you to look at your feet. They are still down there – at the end of your legs – just where they have always been. Remember that during the First Dance, photos and/or video will be taken. Gazing dreamily into each others’ eyes makes a much better keepsake photo than a shot of the two of you examining your shoes. (Another Note to Groom and Dad: If you have to count each beat, try not to move your lips.)

With a little rehearsal and some consideration for the bridal wardrobe, the ceremonial dances will soon be over – safely and without a “Janet Jackson Superbowl Moment.” From there on, the rest of the reception is a breeze!


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