Having trouble finding a first dance song that is danceable and appropriate for weddings? Here is a list of songs hand-picked by our wedding dance instructors at Duet.Read More
Get useful tips on ballroom dancing and wedding dance preparation and watch tutorial videos created by Szewai Lee, founder of Duet Dance Studio.
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Whether you have a special song or not, it is important to make sure the song you choose for your first dance is "danceable" and the lyrics are appropriate for your wedding. Below are a few things you should consider when choosing your wedding first dance song.
1. Is the song danceable?
Find a song that has a strong beat. The beat of a song is similar to heartbeats; it is a consistent beat that determines the pace of a song. When you hear a song, particular one with an obvious beat, such as “Blurred Lines” (not that I suggest you dance to this), you would naturally want to tap your foot, nod your head or even shake your hips! And while you are tapping the beat, you can find out the tempo of a song. The perfect song should not be too fast or too slow. It is actually harder to move slow than fast. Imagine running on a track versus running through mud.
2. How do you want your dance to look?
Romantic? Elegant? Fun? Traditional? Contemporary? Upbeat? Slow and smooth? Depending on the style you like, you can choose a song that carries the same feel. If you are going to take dance lessons, tell your dance teacher about your vision so that he/she can help you choose a song that matches the style you are looking for.
3. Are the lyrics appropriate?
The melody of a song may sound sweet and romantic but that doesn’t mean a song is appropriate for your wedding. Listen to the lyrics and make sure there aren’t any negative hidden meanings or inappropriate language.
4. Can your band or DJ play the song?
It is important to make sure that your band or DJ will play the version of your song that you have been practicing to. Any tempo or compositional changes can affect your dancing, especially if you have a choreographed or semi-choreographed dance.
5. Is the song too long?
A first dance should be no longer than 3 minutes. 2 to 3 minutes is the ideal length for a first dance. Keep it short and sweet so that your guests can enjoy the first dance and not get bored. Consider that professional performances are usually no more than 2-minute long.
What is your favorite first dance song? Please share it by commenting below!
Voted as one of Chicago Top 5 Dance Teachers 2013 by Art Intercepts, Szewai (C-Y) has been sharing the joy of partner dance since 2006. She is the founder of Duet Dance Studio, a Chicago dance studio that offers Latin and ballroom dance lessons, wedding dance lessons, and BYOB dance parties. Szewai believes partner dancing has the power to connect people and bring people closer. Besides dancing, she enjoys discovering hidden gems in the city, finding great music and making short videos about people and things that inspire her.
You can find Szewai on Google+
The first dance is one of the most important yet overlooked details at a wedding. Since it is the first time a couple hold each other in their arms as husband and wife, the first dance should be unique and memorable to the couple and their guests. Below are a few frequently asked questions from engaged couples.
1. When should we start learning to dance?
You should start as soon as you can since learning to dance is similar to learning any other skill that takes time and effort. Imagine learning a new language, before you can carry a full conversation, you must first know enough vocabulary and grammar to form sentences. And moreover, dancing in front of your guests is similar to giving a speech, which can be stressful if you aren't prepared! Therefore, I recommend beginning dance lessons at least 4 months before your wedding day. This will ensure you have enough time to absorb the skills you learn and feel confident dancing at your wedding.
2. How many dance lessons do we need and how often should we take lessons?
Since every couple has different needs and expectations, the number of lessons you need depends on a few factors, such as how good you want to become, how often you are available to take lessons, how fast you learn and etc. Generally, it is recommended to start taking lessons at least 4 months before your wedding day to ensure you have ample time to learn the skills you need to feel confident and look good dancing at the wedding. Many couples take multiple lessons per week to help them retain information and speed up the learning progress, but a minimum of one lesson per week is recommended.
3. How do we choose a first dance song?
Whether or not you have a special song that you both enjoy, it is important to make sure you choose a "danceable" song and the lyrics are appropriate for your wedding. A danceable song should have a clear and consistent beat. The tempo of the song should not be too slow or too fast and the length of the song or your dance should not exceed 3 minutes. For first dance song recommendations, check out some of my favorite first dance songs of 2012 and my top ten classic first dance songs!
4. What style of dance should we learn?
The style of dance you should learn depends on your first dance song and your vision for your dance. If you have chosen a song for your first dance, your instructor will be able to listen to it and tell you what styles of dance are suitable. If you haven't chosen a song, you can start with learning the basics of various dance styles and choose a style that fits your vision and personalities.
5. What if we waited until the last minute?
Even though it is not ideal to cram for an exam, it is still a good idea to get in as many dance lessons as possible if you have less than a month before your wedding. At most dance studios, lessons range between 45 minutes to an hour long. Longer sessions will be appropriate when you have limited time. Also, taking dance lessons frequently will help you retain information and speed up your learning progress.
I hope you find this information helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have regarding first dance preparation. I'd love to help!
Szewai (C-Y) Lee is the founder of Duet Dance Studio, a Chicago dance studio that offers Latin and ballroom dance lessons, wedding dance instruction, and BYOB dance parties. Besides dancing, Szewai enjoys discovering hidden gems in the city, finding great music and making short videos about people and things that inspire her.
Your first dance at your wedding should be romantic and memorable to you and your guests. Choosing a song that is meaningful to you and has a good timing for dancing is the key to creating a beautiful first dance. To help you get started, check out these classic first dance ideas listed below!
1. "The Best is Yet to Come" by Frank Sinatra - Foxtrot
2. "L.O.V.E." by Nat King Cole - Foxtrot or Swing
3. "Love is Here to Stay" by Frank Sinatra - Foxtrot
4. "Moon River" by Audrey Hepburn - Waltz
5. "Fascination" by Jane Morgan - Waltz
6. "Close to You" by The Carpenters - Rumba
7. "You Send Me" by Sam Cooke - Rumba or Modified Foxtrot
8. "Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke - Foxtrot or Swing
9. "Dream a Little Dream of Me" by Mamas & the Papas - Rumba
10. "In My Life" by The Beatles - Rumba
What is favorite classic first dance song? Please share it with me!
"Close to You" by The Carpenters. This is also my mom's favorite :)
Szewai (C-Y) Lee is the founder of Duet Dance Studio, a Chicago dance studio that offers Latin and ballroom dance lessons, wedding dance instruction, and BYOB dance parties. Besides dancing, Szewai enjoys discovering hidden gems in the city, finding great music and making short videos about people and things that inspire her.You can find Szewai on LinkedIn and Google+.