The Tradition of the 1st Dance at Your Wedding

April 30th, 2014

One of the most memorable moments at a wedding is the bride and groom's first dance. It is both the first dance of the wedding and the couple's first dance as husband and wife. This long-standing tradition of the 1st dance at your wedding has its roots in the 17th century when it was customary at formal balls to have the guests of honor or the hosts perform the first dance.

In Paris at that time, the first dance was traditionally the minuet. In England, during the Victorian era, it was the quadrille, and in 19th century Russia it was the Polonaise. In the United States, the first dance was traditionally a waltz. Today – anything goes!

If you google the term “wedding first dance”, you will get dozens of links to the most popular choices. Favorites include At Last (Etta James), Because You Loved Me (Celine Dion), Could I Have This Dance (Anne Murray), Our Love is Here to Stay (Billie Holiday), and Just the Way You Are (Billy Joel).

Your first dance as husband and wife is a special moment that you will always remember, so it's worth taking some time to pick just the right music. It should be a song you love and one that is special to both of you – but that doesn't mean that it has to be traditional or popular. Like everything else about your wedding, it should be a reflection who you are as a couple. And if that couple loves disco, funk, country, or hip hop, then go for it.

If you are worried about your dance moves, most dance studios offer special lessons for brides and grooms. They will help you select, choreograph and practice your dance. If you want to include the whole wedding party in a dance extravaganza, they can do that, too.

Another reason that the first dance is so special is that it may be the first time on the wedding day that the bride and groom get a few minutes to themselves. After hours of getting ready, being photographed, and greeting a few dozen (or hundred) family and friends, it is nice to have a moment to catch your breath and savor this special day.

For beautiful photos of your first dance -- and all the other beautiful moments that will happen on your wedding day -- contact us.

by Opie Janzer