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Wedding Music… First Dances

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Classic, Stylish, Storytelling with the First Dance! Doug Treiber Photography

… is the one time on your big day that you’ll need to consider everyone else, even before yourself! How fun the dance party is can be gauged by how much fun your guest, family and friends are having during the dance party. You’ll want to consider everyone when you are hiring the perfect band! But… when you are selecting your first dance and special dances, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE WEDDING PARTY!

Obviously, your first dance is personal. I can’t pretend to know what you should or shouldn’t pick, BUT (and yet that’s a big BUT) I know a thing or two about:

  1. WHEN TO DO FIRST DANCE AND SPECIAL DANCES
  2. HOW TO HAVE IT PLAYED

I’ll tell you what I know and you can decide for yourself if it’s anything you want to consider:)

OKAY ~ Your first dance can be in a few places throughout the evening. I’ve seen some pretty unconventional ideas tried… and the first dances that seem to flow best in the evening appear to hinge on this question:

Is There A Grand Entrance?

If there is a Grand Entrance, it’s a great idea to have the first dance immediately following that entrance. It’s truly the only time during the reception when you are guaranteed to have everyone’s undivided attention. Alternatively, if dinner is wrapping up, there will be conversation and utensils clanking, etc. You’ll have the MC getting everyone’s attention. It will be the first time since the ceremony that they all get to see you. You have them right where you want them ~ so dance!

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Breaking the Fourth Wall!

You have an option now of going into the parent dances. I recommend you don’t. This moment can be all about the couple, and I feel it should be:) Plus… you’ll want something later to draw attention to the dance floor! Also, you want the band (or DJ) to “break the fourth wall”. Breaking the fourth wall is the best trick I’ve seen for getting the dance party started. This is done when the Band (or DJ) invite the guest onto the floor near the end of the last special dance to “share this dance” with the parent dancers. Once folks are on the floor, they are likely to stay or revisit the floor all night!

When There’s No Grand Entrance?

As I see it you have two options now, before or after dinner. Because during dinner people probably will not want to interrupt their meal.

BEFORE DINNER – In this case, you can try to get everyone’s attention and do the dance before dinner, but you’ll have folks staying around and it’s likely that this won’t be the moment you imagine where everyone is witnessing the two of you dancing to that awesome song you picked with the perfect lyrics!

AFTER DINNER – Definitely, definitely, definitely do not do your dances before the toast. Allow the toast to be done first (usually towards the end of dinner) and then go into the first dance and special dances together. As mentioned before, this is “breaking the fourth wall”.

SHOULD THE SPECIAL SONGS BE PLAYED LIVE BY THE BAND?

first dances, wedding music, wedding, reception, music, dance, party, mannequin, band, dana wield

Mannequin’s Dana on the floor with Bride!

Your choice, but Mannequin has always asked for the right to not play a song if we feel we cannot get that sound or vibe that makes the song special. Whether it’s the vocal, or the fact that the song is lavish with strings and a choir of backing vocals… we are just honest about whether we can do it justice. I think it’s a good idea to defer this to the band if you are asking them to perform the song live!

I hope this helps! For more info on wedding music, read more of our blog!! And be sure to subscribe. For more info about wedding music, check out our wedding music blog series and our wedding band song list!

 — Alan Currens

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