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Dancing Through Your Wedding Day

by Jeff Allen

I recently have had the pleasure of being invited to several weddings in the past months. One of which was particularly thrilling for me, you see it was a perfect stranger who lives in the Massachusetts area who had read one of my books and wanted me to attend to watch them dance their first dance. I felt honored so I attended and watched them with overwhelming pride and joy.

I did make many mental notes at these weddings to share with all of you so that these recent personal experiences and observations can be of benefit to those who will shortly have their wedding receptions. These comments will deal with the evening wedding reception as these have been my most recent experience and are usually lengthier.

First and most importantly conduct the first dance including all parent dances, etc., immediately after the receiving line and before dinner!!!!!!

There are many reasons for this (Not necessarily in order)

1. It is good etiquette for the King & Queen (Bride & Groom) to open the dance floor.

2. Your DJ can play dance music all night long rather than sleepy elevator music. Your guests will have a better time for a longer period of time.

3. Have the service people avoid the dance floor while bringing food to the table. If this is not possible because of size limitations it is a good idea to have the DJ play softer music during the bulk of the main courses service. Spills and accidents can happen with drinking or food on the dance floor, be careful.

4. Under no circumstances should anyone, with the possible exception of the photographer, be allowed to cross the dance floor when the Wedding Couple's first dance is taking place or any of the relatives or wedding party dance takes place. This is very disrespectful and discourteous.

5. Have the Photographer take 'candids' during the 'important' dances. Posing the wedding couple, or father/daughter, etc., is an interruption to the emotional meaning of these moments. These posed photos can take place later!

6. A wedding is a time of celebration, however, a lot of planning, time and money has gone into those few short hours. Please warn the wedding party against 'overindulging' before all the wedding rituals have taken place! (introductions, dances, & toasts) There is plenty of time for imbibing after the meal when the socializing begins! It may even be a good idea to appoint a "designated driver" for the wedding party. Don't let all your hard work be ruined, or your guests made uncomfortable because of an error in judgment on anyone's part. (Including that of the Bride and/or Groom!)


The dance floor should be cleared at least 5 minutes in advance by a polite announcement by the DJ, MC, etc. This will give the guests and photographer time to arm themselves with cameras still or video. It will also set the mood of the room to be more observant and respectful of these cherished moments.

Have the MC or DJ give proper pronunciations to all those being introduced. A script is well worth it here.

Bride & Groom's, Parent's, Mom & Dad's, Etc., it is not necessary to dance to the whole musical composition. Professional Ballroom & Latin dancers, like myself, doing a show select a composition of no longer than 2 - 2 1/2 minutes per dance. Remember the longer you're out there the more can go awry and you can actually lose the moment. For instance the Father/Daughter dance this year has over used the new song Butterfly Kisses almost 6 minutes long. Only the last 2 minutes or so of the song deal with the wedding day, start there. I actually watched the Groom and other Wedding Party members pine away with loss of interest when the song began at it's beginning. People are only human and even the best intentions lose interest. This may require some extra work on the part of the DJ but this should not be counted as exceptional or cost you more.

Extended families created from remarried parents can have the dances consolidated. For instance. The step parent's, & natural parents of either family can all dance together, in the same way the wedding party does.

I recommend a Script or Timeline be prepared to kept some schedule since Murphy's Law will always come into play. Feel free to copy this post and distribute to whomever it may benefit. Everything will usually run a little late. I welcome your comments and will happily respond to any of your questions for more advice or direction by direct Email or through these groups. I hope this helps and Good Luck!

Kind Regards,

Jeff Allen


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Maryland, Washington DC or Baltimore Wedding Guides or its advertisers. We thank Jeff for sharing this document with all of us. 

Dancing Through Your Wedding Day | Maryland Wedding Guide


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