Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned waltz, especially when it’s danced to a modern and sensual song? And of course, you’d expect a wedding on New Year’s Eve to combine the best of the old and the new. So it’s no surprise that this gorgeous couple looked amazing performing their first dance as they rang out the old year and rang in their new lives together.
As a former gymnast (She even has a move named after her!), this bride was up for anything. Good thing her handsome groom was willing to work as hard as she was, because this upbeat first dance really is packed with goodies.
Hailing from North Carolina, this couple already had a little bit of shag in their dance toolbox, so it was easy to build from there. The result had a sweet and laid-back feeling (just like them) and they made look easy.
The first dance is one of the highlights of the reception, so you’ll want to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible. Let’s look at a few common (and easily preventable) problems that you might encounter.
Too Long Song
Let’s start with your song. Hopefully you’ve picked out something that you both love and that is meaningful to you. That doesn’t mean you have to use the whole thing! People get bored quickly and you’d be surprised how long 3 or 4 minutes can feel when everyone’s eyes are on you. Have your song professionally edited (not that expensive) down to 1 ½ to 2 minutes and everyone will be happier.
Gorgeous, but can she do the wobble?
You deserve to look like a princess on your wedding day, but remember that all those layers, lace, sequins, pearls, and whatever else will feel very different from what you usually wear. Even bustled, wedding dresses sometimes cause unexpected problems. Long before the big day you should put on the dress and try moving around in all directions. Walk forwards, backwards (often difficult), and sideways. Try spinning around. And if your gown is strapless, make sure you can raise your arms over your head comfortably. Having a boob pop out when your dad twirls you around is next level embarrassing.
If you do find any problems with movement, your dressmaker may be able to help. If not, just make sure you clue in your fiancé, father, and choreographer (if you have one) ahead of time about your concerns
Just as with the dress, practice dancing in your wedding shoes. This is especially true if you’ll be wearing 4-inch stilettos when you normally sport tennis shoes. And if you plan to wear different shoes for the ceremony and reception, be sure to tell your dressmaker to account for any difference in height. Whatever height heel you decide on, use a nail file to smooth any rough spots so they won’t catch on the fabric of your dress. And if your shoes don’t have straps, consider using clear elastic straps over your instep when you’re dancing so that your shoes stay on securely.
Good communication with the professionals involved in your wedding is essential to avoid disappointing results. Speak to everyone ahead of time so they know exactly what you want.
First speak to your contact at the venue about the size and layout of the floor. How will people be arranged around it? Where will you be walking on from? What type of surface (carpet, tile, wood) will you be dancing on? Also ask if you can practice on it ahead of time. You’ll feel more relaxed if you can.
If you’ve had your song edited, make sure your DJ has a copy. If not, you may want to ask him or her to fade it out after a certain amount of time. He or she also needs to know when to start the music (i.e. as you’re announce, while you’re walking on, when you’re in position, or on your cue).
The photographer and videographer will approach your dance a little differently depending on what you’re doing, so tell them what to expect. If you’re doing a standard stand-and-sway (no judgement) they’ll stay close and focus on your faces and maybe take some shots of your feet. If you have something more elaborate planned they’ll want to move back a bit to be sure to fit it all in. Clue them in on any “spectacular” moves like lifts or dips so they know where to position themselves for the best shots.
Rehearsal Dispersal (okay, it’s a stretch)
The last (and maybe the most important) thing is to practice together ahead of time as often as you can. You’ll feel a lot less stressed if you can dance with each other comfortably and know what to expect. And besides, it’s fun!
Since they’ve already been working together for years running an iconic downtown restaurant (eat at The Arcade ya’ll), this couple truly knows the value of teamwork. Add in hard work, crazy hours, and gallons of coffee and you get a beautiful first dance. Oh, and the bare feet? If it wasn’t already romantic enough, the wedding was in a tent on the beach.
When the bride is a professional wedding photographer, you know her standards are going to be high. But this gorgeous couple even exceeded their own expectations. From the moment he presents her with the flower to the final dip, this Viennese waltz is pure romance. And if that weren’t enough, Elizabeth secretly recorded herself singing their song (she has a beautiful voice). You can see the emotional moment toward the end when he realizes that it’s her. So beautiful.
Wendy and Chris are a good example of the axiom opposites attract. Okay, so they’re both sweet, intelligent, successful people, but they’re personalities are yin and yang. In other words, perfect together! So it’s no surprise that their charming wedding in the garden at Acre was a beautiful blending of the two, and their first dance was just sweet, sweet, sweet.
Ahhh, a spring wedding. Olivia and Jacob’s outdoor service at Southwind was perfect!
When I first met this lovely couple, I asked what they hoped to get out of their lessons and Olivia said, “We just want to look like sophisticated adults.” Excellent. That request was made even easier since they chose a song that was a Foxtrot, which is a smooth and classy dance.
Working with these two was so much fun because even though they laughed (a lot!) during their lessons, they worked hard and progressed quickly. With only a few lessons, they had a dance they could really be proud of. The only glitch was that while practicing in the hallway right before going out on the floor, Olivia realized she had a little trouble moving backwards in her dress. But they worked as a team to overcome that obstacle, and isn’t that what marriage is all about?