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When should we do our First Dance?

Updated: Jun 3, 2023

When Brides and/or Grooms come in for their Wedding Dance lessons, one question that I always ask is: When are you going to do your First Dance?

Have YOU thought about it? While my dancers sometimes know exactly how their reception timetable is formatted, most brides and grooms look at me blankly? When SHOULD we do our First Dance?

As in life, there is no one size fits all answer, I can tell you what is traditional and where things have been trending in the last few years. It’s pretty neat; since we work on weddings all the time, we get to see how things are changing in real time.


the honor dances (Daddy/Daughter and Mother/Son) have preceded the First Dance after dinner. Everyone has come in and gotten settled, eaten, the Bride(s) and/or Groom(s) have made their way around to meet and greet with guests, then the action moves to the dance floor to begin the Dance Party.

This is “OK” and nobody will blink twice if you decide to go with this schedule. In fact, it’s probably what your mom expects you to do. The problem is that your guests have gotten settled in at their tables, deep in conversation and their plates. When the dances are announced, it’s hard to pull their attention back to the dance floor and to you.

In the last few years,

we’ve seen a trend to move the First Dance much earlier in the reception. We’re seeing many couples put it right after their Big Entrance. When the DJ/MC at the reception announces the wedding party one by one culminating with the introduction of the Bride(s) and/or Groom(s), the happy couple proceeds immediately to the dance floor for their Wedding Dance. The upside to this is that you have Everyone’s attention. They’ve been waiting for You and all eyes are focused your way. They’re not going to miss a moment of your dance. You have their complete and total focus. Plus, they have their phones out ready to take pictures and videos ‘cause they’ve just captured your Grand Entrance.

After your First Dance, you can then do the honor dances with the parents. This usually starts to bring the energy down a little bit, but in a good way. People start to relax, get ready for the dinner and socializing with people at their table. After the honor dances, the DJ/MC should know to switch to cocktail/easy listening music for the background. Then when you are ready to ramp things up again for the dance party portion of your reception, you can change over to a party anthem to get it rolling.

Another benefit to doing your First Dance early in the reception is that you could plan a second dance to start the dance party part of your evening, or a “goodnight dance” to close out the reception. It allows you to dance a couple of different styles and choose a couple of favorite songs that your guests will remember you by. If you do an elegant, glamourous First Dance, you might want to try a salsa or swing dance to begin the dance party. Or if you go upbeat with your wedding dance, a graceful waltz or romantic rumba might be the perfect endcap to your evening. You leave your options open.

To tie it all up,

there are two popular choices during your reception for your Wedding Dance. The middle of the reception after dinner and before general dancing, or at the beginning of the reception immediately following the grand entrance.

Contemporary weddings are leaning towards the beginning of the reception to keep the focus on you (and also get the nerves out early!), but You have the power of the timeline in your hands. If you have a schedule to work with, you can’t go wrong with either option.

What do you think? Have you gotten married this year? Which part of the wedding reception did you dance? Still planning your wedding? Are you leaning towards the beginning of the wedding reception or middle for your Wedding Dance? Let us know!


And shameless plug:

At Bravo Dance Studio we can create a spectacular First Dance for you! Whether you want something elegant or simple or upbeat or funny or sexy or romantic – We Got You! Bring in your First Dance music and we’ll create your perfect Wedding Dance.

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