I believe that every wedding should be fun and unique; that couples shouldn’t feel compelled to incorporate wedding traditions that don’t resonate. Your wedding day should reflect what you value. You want to walk down the aisle together? You want to have ice cream sundaes instead of cake? You don’t want to get married in a church? You don’t want to spend money on boutonnieres? More power to you!
That said, though, there is one wedding tradition that just makes me melt every time: The First Dance. Because aside from being one of the few times of the day when you two can bask in the fact that you’re newly married, it’s a great photo op!
I know that not every couple is excited about the first dance – everyone is watching you out there on the dance floor and it’s nerve wracking. But fear not. I have tips for making the First Dance awesome – for enjoying it AND getting great, one-of-a-kind photos of your first dance that you’ll treasure.
1. Keep it simple. No complicated dance moves required! Wrap your arms around each other, sway to the music, and make a slow rotation every once in awhile so that we can see both of your faces. The dance doesn’t have to be impressive, it is about the moment and the memories.
2. Let me in on the plan. Of course if you ARE going to attempt a complicated, choreographed dance with dips and twists, let me know so that I am prepared and am in the right location. Surprise your parents, but don’t surprise me!
3. Practice. If you choose not to invest in professional dance lessons, even practicing in the kitchen the night before your wedding will help you feel more comfortable out there.
4. Don’t look at your feet. Please, I beg of you. Look into each other’s eyes! Look at the room full of your friends and family who are happy to see you in love! Close your eyes and feel your partner’s hands around you. But for goodness sake, don’t look at the floor.
5. Stop talking. It’s true that the first dance is a time when you two can finally talk to each other without a hundred people wanting attention. But when you talk, your mouth is open, you make funny expressions, you furrow your eyebrows, and it takes you out of the moment. Keep your mouth closed, smile, laugh and focus on each other.
6. Stay close to each other. Don’t leave a big space between your torsos like at a middle school dance. You just got married! Squeeze each other!
7. Make it what you want it to be. My preaching aside, there is no rule that you have to dance, that you have to dance to an entire song, that you have to do it alone, or that it has to be a slow song. You don’t even have to have music at your wedding! You are the bosses of your own wedding. So if you plan one at all, plan a first dance that feels right for you.