Our Tips for A Perfect First Dance

August 25, 2011

Having worked at Sternberg Clarke for almost a year now, I do often get asked about whether I still enjoy weddings – whether there’s any romance left in something that I have to do every weekend - the answer will always be yes but this Saturday’s wedding reminded me why and it was down to the dance.

For me, a first dance is a crucial element to a wedding.  From a personal side, it will be the first time that you dance with your new husband/wife, it will be the song that whenever you hear it, will remind you of one of the happiest days of your life.  On top of this, you’re dancing in a room, with just one other person, with everyone watching you.  Gulp.

Wedding Venue Hanbury Manor

Saturday's wedding at Hanbury Manor was a perfect example of a First Dance Done Right - Rat Pack Crooner Kevin Fitzsimmons proved to be the ideal accompaniment to the couple's first dance as man and wife and you couldn't have asked for a better setting than the picturesque surrounds of Hanbury Manor. Kevin started his set with the couple’s chosen first song; ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ - he and the the band created a tender and flawless moment that I hope the couple will remember forever.  As the dance floor began to fill, Kevin then went straight into ‘Can’t Take My Eyes off You’ which set the tone impeccably for an evening of dancing.

So with last week's wedding in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to share a few of our Top tips on choosing a First Dance for Your Wedding

Reflect Your Relationship, Not Just Yourself

Your choice of song should be a sort of theme tune for your marriage; it's not to say that you have one song and only one song to get across how you feel about each other, but a good choice of first dance reflects the dynamics of a relationship. Whether it’s funny and cheery or romantic and starry-eyed, the choices really are endless and it's a great way for a couple to express themselves.

Think About The Words... No Really Think

It may have been the song that you heard when you met, it may have been the song that was playing when one of you proposed, it may even have been the song that one of you sang to the other on a battered guitar; but David Bowie's 'Queen Bitch' is not the song that you want everyone to remember you dancing to shortly after tying the knot. Plenty of songs can mean a great deal to you without really being suitable for a first dance. Maybe it's best if you save Love Will Tear Us Apart for private moments...

Can't Dance, Don't Dance

It can feel like there's a lot of pressure on a couple to put on a show for their first dance; countless youtube videos show tightly choreographed intricately planned and meticulously detailed dance numbers involving all manner of flash-mobs, light shows,  costuming and more. If you're up for that, great! However, if you feel like you've got two left feet and are even the slightest bit self conscious about cutting an elaborate rug with your new spouse in front of all your closest friends and family, both dressed as Michael Jackson circa 1982... then you don't have to. Once again, the First Dance should reflect your relationship, not what other people are doing on Youtube.

The Right Version

This one's especially important if you've booked a band or DJ to play your first dance at your wedding. Many songs have multiple versions by different artists, this is especially true for the Rat Pack era, as songs tended to be passed around between performers, sometimes with multiple versions being released within weeks of each other. So if you've requested Can't Take My Eyes Off You as your first dance, make sure you're on the same page as to which version you'll be dancing to - worst case scenario; you could end up awkwardly 'skanking' to a ska version of your favourite song because of a miscommunication.

You Don't Have Go It Alone!

Momentous as a first dance can be, not everyone can stand the scrutiny of being watched for the duration of This Guy's In Love With You. A great idea to keep things moving is to invite other guests to join in after the first couple of verses/chorus as this allows guests to be involved in the proceedings. It may sound like a small thing but by allowing people to participate in a personal moment like this can be a great way to make sure that everyone comes away with fond memories of the day.

Any First Dance Anecdotes or tips on picking the right song are welcome in the comments.