The Bridal Dance (or Wedding Dance) has the potential to be the most memorable part of any wedding. In this article we take you through the process and principles we at HD Entertainment use to help wonderful bridal couples achieve a memorable first dance at their wedding.
As a professional dancer, choreographer, personal trainer and GYROTONIC® & GYROKINESIS® Method instructor, I love exploring movement and helping make a bridal couple look and feel fantastic on their wedding day.
We have been teaching couples in Prahran, Windsor, South Yarra, St Kilda, Armadale, Malvern and Toorak for over 15 years and now my partner Dalena and I have established our own dance studio in Prahran.
There are several things that you should consider when you are looking to create your bridal dance. The first is to get the right dance teacher who has experience in choreographing unique, memorable and personalised bridal dances. Here is a checklist to assist you with the first steps.
Wedding Dance Checklist
- Wedding Music: Many couples have their own special song however some do not. We can assist you with song selection and have a few further suggestions below.
- Bridal Dance Style / Dance Type: What type of dance or dances do you want to create? You can create something unique and original or if tradition is what you’re after, we can personalise it for you.
- Wedding Attire Considerations: Will the bride or groom be wearing restrictive clothing?
- Bridal Dance Location: Where will the audience be situated? What is the dance floor size and do you have an idea of general staging?
- Choosing a Bridal Dance Choreographer: How do you go about choosing a bridal dance choreographer? It is important to avoid someone who just shows you steps. See below for further tips.
- Practicing the Bridal Dance: When to start and what’s the practice strategy.
- Performing the Bridal Dance: How to perform your routine and enjoy the incredible moment that is your first dance as a married couple.
1. Wedding Music
Music choice can be a difficult aspect. It is a highly personal decision and I believe the right song choice is a vital aspect in creating a unique, memorable and magical bridal dance. Like your wedding vows, your music choice allows you to share personal aspects of your selves with your guests.
When couples are really struggling to find music we can suggest some links on Pinterest which have traditional first dance tracks as well as modern and pop wedding dance songs. Some of the lists to search for on Pinterest are:
- 100 upbeat first dance songs
- Wedding first dance (Top 10)
- Romantic song options for your first dance
- 25 awesome first dance songs
Once you have a shortlist of tracks then you’re ready to organise a session with a dance instructor or a professional choreographer who specialises in bridal dance routines. We generally recommend that you don’t use the full track and aim for the 1:30-2:30 minute length track. This will ensure that your guests are entertained and that it is a manageable length of time for the couple to perform their wonderful routine. Your instructor should be able to offer you professional editing of your track/s so that your song choice will be unique to you and your special day. A tip if you are mixing tracks – go from something slow and traditional into something upbeat. The choices are endless so get creative. Your choreographer will create your dance by either using the lyrics or accents/percussion and beat of the music.
2. Bridal Dance Style / Dance Type
The style of dance you want to perform is important as you need to be clear if you want something traditional, classic, slow and romantic, with perhaps 1-2 feature moments such as a turn or dip. Or maybe something more carefree and fun with a more upbeat flavour such as a rock ‘n’ roll or salsa. Then there is the mega mix themed performance that incorporates props, music changes, solos, lifts & tricks. You can even create your first dance and combine it with a bridal party dance, or father/daughter dance into bridal dance. There are plenty of options of combinations. Also consider the timing of your dance, e.g. will it be when you first enter the reception straight after cutting the cake? Or the more traditional timing: after the speeches which then opens up the dance floor to your guests. List of styles includes:
- Fun, upbeat
- Mega Mix
- Full production with bridal party and other guests involved
- Something completely unique
3. Wedding Attire Considerations
Does your clothing restrict your dance? It is essential to consider this aspect with regard to your dance choice and decide what your priority is regarding your bridal dress/attire and extravagant movement. If your focus is your dance, then it is generally best to do “a costume change” which can be a fun added aspect to your dance. Otherwise, minimising the size and intensity of your movement in order to dance comfortably would be recommended.
4. Bridal Dance Location
Knowing where the audience will be seated or standing will help you orientate your dance so everyone can enjoy your performance. It can be a bonus if you can use any specific characteristics of your venue to have the best photo and video options. We had a beautiful couple who were married in Bali where a curtain of fireworks was a backdrop to the stage. We choreographed the couple to hold hands and make a heart shape in front of the fireworks at just the right moment to help create something unique and magical.
5. Choosing a Bridal Dance Choreographer
When choosing a choreographer for your wedding dance, the most important thing is that you and your partner feel comfortable with that person. After that, you should consider the following before making your final decision:
- Will your dance teacher have a consultation prior to creating your dance? This is important as the dance teacher needs to meet the couple to gauge their needs and ability prior to creating a personalised routine. This should be a complementary session.
- Will your dance teacher plan your choreography or make it up on the spot? There ought to be a plan in place prior to your first lesson and any adjustments can be made during the lesson.
- Has your dance teacher choreographed any work professionally and do they understand the staging and artistic aspects involved? Or are they just showing you steps without the finer qualities of how to dance/connect and make the moves look and feel natural.
- Do they have any photos/videos or testimonials from past bridal couples?
- Are they guiding you into purchasing a package? This is a red flag for me as normally it shouldn’t take as many lessons as they are presenting in their package.
- It is far less expensive if the dance teacher has a clear plan to present you at your first lesson and you do some regular practice.
6. Practicing the Bridal Dance
We recommend you book your 1/2 hour complementary meeting 6 months prior to your wedding day and start lessons 4-6 months prior to your big day. We aim to teach you your dance in 1-2 lessons then spend another 3 hours of lessons to “clean” (which means “refine” in dancing terms) and develop and have enough time between lessons for you to practice and know your content so that you don’t have to overthink it when you’re dancing. The aim is to enjoy the moment!
Practicing every second day for at least 5 minutes will assist you in developing your dance skills. When practicing, be sure to understand the sequence, get familiar with the timing or musicality, and work on style and connection. Know what your priority is when you’re practicing so you and your partner can focus on the same goal and avoid any arguments.
7. Performing the Bridal Dance
The big day has finally arrived and it’s showtime! Time to show your guests what you have been working on as a couple.
- Try to practice in the space and orientation during your “photo time” so you feel comfortable on the dance floor.
- Breathe deeply and look at each other prior to going out to dance. This will help you to connect and will calm you.
- If any mistakes happen know that “the show goes on” and only the two of you know your routine. Everyone is just happy to see you both enjoying your moment.
I hope you found this article helpful in guiding you on how to create a magical bridal dance. If you’d like to speak to us regarding your wedding dance, feel free to connect via any of the methods at the bottom of this page.