Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning

Secrets to Choosing the Perfect First Dance Tune

By Sara Brodsky, Director, Best Foot Forward, Originator of The Wedding Crash Course

Rhode Island Wedding DJs
Photo by OGGI photo

The first dance is often the last piece of the puzzle for a couple planning their wedding. Choosing a first dance tune can be frustrating if you don't know where to begin. Here are secrets to making your first dance meaningful and enjoyable, rather than anxiety provoking or dul

The words and musical style of your first dance song should reflect your personalities. Start with a musical genre and then pare down your choices within that genre. Are you jazz aficionados? Pop specialists? Elvis worshippers? Is Motown in your soul or country in your heart?

Choose a song with a slow to medium tempo (upbeat is fine). Slower is not necessarily easier. Very slow tunes may sound wonderfully romantic on the CD, but not translate well on the dance floor. Often, the rhythm in these songs is more difficult to hear, and thus, makes it more difficult to dance easily.

If you find choosing a first dance song a bit overwhelming, ask your DJ or bandleader for suggestions.

If the song you choose for your first dance is not on your band's play list, give them plenty of time to learn it - the more time they have to rehearse it, the better it will sound at your wedding.

Dance for approximately two minutes - no more! After two minutes, your guests are focusing elsewhere. It's easy for a DJ to fade in and out of a tune to fit this time frame, and a wedding band always can play a shorter version of the tune.

If you really want to play the whole tune - the words are particularly meaningful to you, for example - invite your guests to join you after your two minutes.

Listen to tunes on your computer or go to your public library. Many libraries have extensive CD collections, which can save you money when searching for that perfect first song.

Couples often take dance lessons to get beyond the high school "clutch and sway," especially if they will be recorded on video! If you want to take dance lessons, be sure to shop around so that you don't pay for more than you need. Ask the instructor exactly what is taught in the lessons. If you are not playing waltzes, then there is no need to learn to dance waltz for your wedding.

Most important, be sure you can bring your first tune to the lesson.

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