05/27/2010[From the TLC Editors: Click here for webisodes and video clips featuring the good, the bad and the bridezilla.]
Do you and your fiancé have a song? As in, you're dining out on Saturday night, and the restaurant's pianist strikes the first notes of "It Had to Be You," and you turn to your love and say, "Darling, he's playing our song!"
If you've got one, consider yourselves lucky. Choosing a song for the first dance is a decision many couples agonize over. The song has to be meaningful. It's got to express your unique relationship, but it shouldn't be so obscure that none of your guests recognize it. Emily Post says selecting the first dance song is a "second-level decision;" it's not as important as picking the venue, but it's a big deal!Your first dance marks the transition from ceremony to party time -- it should be tender and sweet, but maybe even a little cheeky so that when it's over, your guests know you're ready to have some fun.
Besides choosing the song, you should also consider when you want to have your dance. Most couples choose to dance after they're formally announced at the reception site. This makes for a pretty seamless timeline, after which you may want to have a father-daughter and mother-son dance, then open the buffet or begin serving dinner.
Some couples take dance lessons so they can execute a perfect waltz or perform some choreographed presentation dance. This is entirely optional (and more common in high-end weddings), but dance lessons can be a great way to bond and sweat off some steam while you're in the thick of wedding planning. Plus, they can go a long way toward loosening up a stiff-legged dance partner! The more intricate the dance, the likelier a nervous bride or groom is to forget a step, so keep things simple. Of course, there's nothing wrong with freestyle dancing or even hamming it up during the first dance. Search "wedding first dance" on YouTube, and you'll find no shortage of couples who stop swaying midway through "Fools Rush In" and break into a not-safe-for-grandma routine to "Baby Got Back."
Your wedding DJ plays an instrumental role in orchestrating your first dance. Kevin Cheek, wedding entertainment specialist and owner of Dawg-Town Entertainment in Athens, Ga., says that most brides go with an "older, more traditional, 1960s-era song" that their guests will recognize. Etta James' "At Last" is the most popularly requested song among his brides (the most unusual was UNK's "Walk It Out"). Kevin advises couples not to worry if they're shy on the dance floor. Most couples "let the emotion of the night overtake them," and they'll spin and shuffle like pros. Traditionally, couples end the night with a slow song for their last dance, but Kevin says that the modern bride may opt for a contemporary, up-tempo song and ask her guests to join the couple on the dance floor. Many brides request Chris Brown's "Forever" as their last song, and Kevin points out that the now-famous YouTube video of guests dancing to this song has brides taking pointers on how to cut loose and have fun with what can be a stiff and formal tradition.
The first dance is all about expressing your love and your personalities, but as with any public affair, remember your audience! Keep it subdued in a formal ballroom, and once the over-60 crowd has departed, you can really let loose!Brides, what songs are you considering for your first dance? And bride veterans, what did you dance to?
At last, her love has come along! (Credit: Klubovy/Getty Images)