First dance suggestions for a harmonious and nonviolent wedding dance experience
First Wedding Dance Dancer’s Oath
Do not under any circumstances: suggest, criticize or even compliment your partner!
If it is becoming unbearable, you should talk to your wedding dance choreographer (who is also your dance lawyer, dance policeman, dance doctor and dance instructor!)
Don’t Use Artificial Fog
We discourage using fog because during the dance the audience will be unable to see the couple.
Fog might also confuse and visually impair the couple themselves during the dance. This might be even more uncomfortable if the groom in unused to dancing with the bride while she is in her wedding dress.
Banquet halls may sometimes wish to surprise couples by introducing artificial fog during the dance without first consulting the dancers. Be sure to let them know in advance if this is something you definitely do or do not want on your wedding day.
Dance First – Eat Later
After your happy (but stressful) day you will be tempted to sit down, rest and sample that delicious looking buffet you’ve been planning for months. A word to the wise;
dance first, eat later! Once you’ve started “just a taste” you probably won’t be able to stop and once you’re full you probably won’t be able to dance. At least not the way you’ve been practicing for. Dance your dance, impress your audience and then sit down, relax and eat to your heart’s desire. You deserve it!
Also refrain from alcoholic beverages before your dance. Drinking to boost your bravery never works and leads to disappointing results.
There are a couple of things to consider with the men’s outfit.
First of all men’s suits are traditionally buttoned up with the bottom button open. You will need to pay attention to how the suit sits on you while dancing. During certain dance moves, such as twirling your partner, if the suit does not sit well on you and does not have enough arm and/or elbow freedom, it will have a tendency to bunch up on the shoulder creating and ugly, bulky effect. It may also restrict arm and shoulder movement and be uncomfortable during the dance.
If you choose to be wearing a vest without the jacket during your wedding dance, you may want to consider getting a vest that is longer than your belt line and covers it from the back during dancing. The reason for this is that if you bend even slightly, your shirt will come untucked from your pants and bulk around between the short vest and belt. If your vest is a bit longer this will not be a visual issue.
Another things you might like to keep in mind is that vests that have no adjusting belts on the back and just have a plain straight back are more aesthetically pleasing.
During previous years brides have shared some personal wedding experiences regarding their strapless dresses. On more than one occasion, brides tended to lose a lot of weight during the time leading up to their wedding day. Unfortunately they did not consider re-adjusting their dresses and ended up stuffing the tops only to have the stuffing fall out during their dance performances. As you can imagine this was quite embarrassing.
During dress fittings brides might consider trying the steps they learned for their wedding dance routine (choreography) in order to see and feel how comfortable and safe they are. If there are any concerns or difficulties, please talk to your dance instructor immediately to adjust your dance pattern.
As with the wedding gown, it would also be quite useful for you to either dance a few (or all) dance classes with your actual wedding shoes or a quite similar pair with the same size heels. This makes it much easier to cope on your wedding day.
For ladies who aren’t used to wearing high heels, this is the best time for you to practice. You need to start wearing heels as soon as and as often as possible to train your feet and calf muscles to adapt, otherwise they will be very sore on your wedding day.
Many brides reach the moment of their wedding dance and are so tired they end up dancing barefoot or in flats. While it is understandable that you are exhausted after so much pre-wedding planning and all day on your feet on your actual wedding day, do not “heel-down”. What that means is, perhaps consider wearing (and having your dress adjusted to) lower heels for the whole day and then wearing higher heels for the actual dance. This way your feet won’t be killing you and not only that, but your dress will, ever so slightly, be lifted off the floor. This will allow for ease of movement on the floor as well as preventing both you and your partner from stepping on your dress and tripping, which is more likely to happen when you “heel-down” instead of up.
If you are planning to continue with Ballroom Dance Classes as your future family hobby it is a good idea to get real dance shoes for your Wedding First Dance. They are much lighter, softer and more glamorous compared to regular shoes.
Men’s shoes are usually quite stiff so it might be a good idea to get started by breaking them in on a clean dance floor beforehand.
Wedding Shoes With Embellishments
Beware of embellishments on your wedding shoes; they may catch onto your dress and can either trip you, ruin your dress or both. Since it is quite possible that you will not be practicing dancing in your wedding shoes and dress, anything unexpected could also throw you off your routine and ruin your dance. Just keep in mind that although you want to have the perfect pair of shoes to go with your perfect day, underneath your dress nobody will be focusing on your shoes!
Wedding Shoe band
Shoe size can be a hassle. We’ve all been there. You try the shoes on a few minutes at the store, you like them, you buy them. A few weeks later you get the chance to show them off at your best friend’s wedding but during your first moves on the dance floor the left shoe comes flying off and hits your date on the cheek! Okay maybe not but just to be safe if they are a bit loose, try our see through shoe bands. These will keep your shoes safe, secure and right where they should be; on your feet!
Shoe bands are available upon request. Feel free to contact the studio for more information.
Please bring your contacts to each lesson so you can practice with them and get used to having them while you dance.
If you are used to wearing glasses but are planning to wear contact lenses during the wedding, please give yourself enough time beforehand to adapt to them because your eyes and brain need to get used to them to adjust your balance. Often contacts delay your reaction because they are “floating” on the surface of the eye and do not allow you to see things exactly at the time they occur. There can be a slight delay, which may make it difficult to keep balance and coordination of the movement.
Smaller steps mean more comfortable dancing. A huge stereotype of dancing is that you need to take big strides. Your steps should be as close as possible to walking to make your dance safer and more comfortable for both of you.
Men sometimes worry that they will forget their dance pattern. There is no need to find more reasons to stress on your wedding day. Do not be afraid to just stop and start again from a move you are most familiar with. Even in ballroom dance competitions if a couple needs to stop and start again from wherever is needed, it does not count as a mistake. Good dancers are not those who do not make mistakes, but those who do not show them.
1- Practice in different rooms. Getting used to a certain room makes it more difficult to adapt to a different size and/or layout on your wedding day.
2-Have your lessons while wearing one of our practice wedding gown or skirts. It is useful for both of you to simulate the way the bride will look on the wedding day.
Other benefits of practicing in a skirt or dress similar dress to yours include the following:
A – Getting used to NOT LOOKING DOWN! One of the most common bad habits during dance practice is when couples look at their feet or their partner’s feet while dancing. First of all this is distracting, and hesitant-looking and does not allow for proper lead and follow. Secondly it does not portray confidence. The couple should be looking up at each other or their guests not down at their feet.
B – Getting used to dancing in a similar style dress. This prevents distraction on the day of your wedding from trying to figure out how to move in a style of clothing you have never tried before. For many brides their dress is big and bulky, or tight fitting and hard to move in.. for example mermaid type wedding dresses which have limited movement.
C – Wearing similar dresses while dancing allows us to choreograph a dance which both works for your dress, and works for you. For example bulky dresses have lots of fabric which may be difficult to walk around with. The dress would need to be properly bustled and during class you would get used to dealing with lots of fabric as well as learning how to use the fabric for embellishment to add flare and grace to your dance.
3- Once a month we offer all our students who are yet to be married an opportunity to practice their dance in front of other studio students and other wedding couples. This is your chance to present your routine, gain confidence. One such performance is actually equivalent to two or three private wedding dance classes.
4- Practice on your wedding day! Try to find five to ten minutes before people start piling into the room you will be performing. Go through your dance twice without music just to refresh the pattern and adjust your dance routine to the actual room. Practicing more than twice may create a nervous buildup of tension, mistrust and emotional exhaustion.
Wedding dance technique
During class you may want to take some notes as a reminder of the steps you just learned. Some people take notes, some draw and some even take pictures or videotape the dance at the end of the class. You know how you best retain information. We encourage anything that will help you practice at home and progress as fast as possible before your wedding day.
Dance performance will almost always excite and invigorate you. It will possibly also make you nervous. The reason behind all this is your pumping adrenaline. Usually people feel the pressure of everything coming together on their wedding day, the stress of performing for an audience, and wanting everything to be perfect. Keep in mind, though, that adrenaline can be your best friend or your worst enemy; believe it or not, it is ultimately your choice. This will require you to be aware of what’s going on inside you. An adrenaline rush can cause disorientation and/or blanking out, leading to the misinterpretation of musical rhythm and causing you to dance at a different speed from the music and confusing your patterns. There are a few other things you can do about this. If you feel like you need to go faster, do the exact opposite. Try to slow down and avoid chasing the beat or accelerating your movement, but instead wait for the next beat and fall in with it. Focus on the rhythm so that you don’t lose your pace on the dance floor.
Children on the Dance Floor
Please be aware that parents are often distracted and not paying attention to the whereabouts of their youngsters. Children can be fascinated by the glittering wedding dress and glamorous allure of the dancing couple. They may be tempted to come close and touch, watch or even join in the excitement. Behind the big dress and focus on your spotlight moment you might not notice them standing there. Just remember to ask the DJ to remind parents to watch for their kids and maybe have someone keep an eye out as well.
Changes to the Dance
We would recommend avoiding last minute changes to your choreography one or even two weeks prior to your wedding day. On average, couples start taking classes around three months before their wedding day and get used to their patterns. Muscle memory is already working to their advantage and changing steps too close to the performance day will create a big chance of confusion leading to mistakes.
You might like to try assigning a very important role to a few people in your bridal party; to cheer loudly during your performance. Guests are often confused between a dance performance and a music performance. At a music performance the audience will be quiet until the piece of music is done, whereas at a dance performance, they will cheer the dancers on throughout the show. Your selected guests will serve as an example to all your audience to provide you with emotional support and encouragement as you dance.
Your wedding dance is a gift!
Remember that your dance is a gift to each other and to your guests. Each pattern that you learn is a meaningful, visual representation of your love story. During your lessons your teacher will explain that your dance isn’t just a number of steps, but each move will have purpose and meaning that will make it easier to understand and memorize. Please also remember that your audience won’t know what your next move will be, so you should consider any mistake as a variation of your step and cover for each other. Don’t show any facial or body language that may betray the fact that you’ve done something different. There is absolutely no need to place the unnecessary pressure of a professional ballroom dance performance on your shoulders.
Keep It Secret!
We have had many students who have preferred to refrain from letting others know about taking dance classes to avoid the extra pressure.. and of course create more of a surprise!
We would be very happy to also receive your tips and suggestions after your dance classes and/or wedding. Please specify though what you would be comfortable with us sharing on the website. Keep in mind that many of the ones offered on our page come from previous students and are a help to many students who later read them.
yourweddingdance.ca, 6a Tippett Road, Toronto, George (416) 358-5595