The First Dance at your Wedding

Tips, information and on-trend advice when it comes to planning the first dance at your wedding.

A couple dancing their first dance at their Botleys Mansion wedding

Once the last toast has been toasted and your cake has been cut, it’s time to let your hair down and have some fun at your wedding reception!

Your evening reception party is the perfect chance for you and all your guests to dust off those dancing shoes and strut your stuff on the dance floor at your dream wedding venue. But, whether you’ve chosen a DJ or a live band, it is traditional to start the night with the newlywed couples’ first dance. It has been suggested that the first dance at a wedding stems from an ancient ritual where the bride was stolen from her own tribe and held captive in a foreign territory; the groom would then show off his new bride to his own tribe. 

Luckily, we don’t have to go quite that far any more, however, the first dance at a wedding is still symbolic of the bride and groom, groom and groom or bride and bride coming together as one. 

Top tip: Have your wedding photographer on hand to capture this romantic first dance moment. 

Choosing Your First Dance Style

As ballroom dancing was historically a widespread skill, the first dance tended to be a waltz. However, as ballroom dancing is no longer a common skill in today’s society, couples tend to opt for a slow dance.

Thanks to the rise of shows like Strictly Come Dancing, over the last few years, it has become increasingly popular for the couple in the spotlight to ‘perform’ a choreographed dance routine for their first dance. This is not essential and is certainly not for everyone, however, it is definitely an option if you are looking to ‘wow’ your guests on the dance floor and do something a bit different. You might even want to recreate the famous lift from Dirty Dancing, unless you fancy yourselves as the next Fred and Ginger?

Aside from the Waltz, below are some ballroom styles to consider for your first wedding dance: 

  • Tango
  • Foxtrot 
  • Swing 
  • Samba 
  • Viennese Waltz
  • Rumba 
  • Mambo
  • Salsa 
  • Quickstep
  • Jive 

Hiring a First Dance Instructor

For some people, the first dance can be just as nerve racking as a speech, so if you feel like you have ‘two left feet’, then why not do a bit of research in to first wedding dance instructors. You will find that professional dance choreographers may offer wedding first dance lessons, either to help you perfect a specific routine to a song you both love, or even just to help you both feel more confident on the dance floor with a safer slow dance. 

Popular First Dance Songs

Choosing the song for your first dance is a very important decision. Whether it is a slow romantic song or something more upbeat, make sure it is a song that means something to you both as a couple and reflects your personalities. If you are stuck for inspiration, here are 10 popular First Dance songs:

  1. "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran
  2. "From the Ground Up" by Dan + Shay
  3. "Can’t Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley
  4. "Die a Happy Man" by Thomas Rhett
  5. "All of Me" by John Legend
  6. "You are the Best Thing" by Ray LaMontagne
  7. "At Last" by Etta James
  8. "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri
  9. "I Don’t Dance" by Lee Brice
  10. "Then" by Brad Paisley

Top Tip – You will remember your first dance as a married couple forever, so relax, keep it personal and enjoy the moment together!

If you are sticking to the traditions, after your first dance, all the guests are invited to join the newlyweds on the dance floor. In some cultures, the groom may wish to dance with his mother and the bride with her father and/or father-in-law as the night goes on.