The question of whether or not to choreograph your first dance is actually quite complex and involves lots of different perspectives and considerations. Would you, or should you choreograph your first dance?
Can you actually dance?
The first question to ask yourself is whether or not you both can actually dance? And not just bump and grind or rave like no ones watching… But you know, with each other, looking ‘normal’ and romantic, and at least somewhat natural.
If the answers is no, and you want to have a first dance that’s more than shuffling around in an awkward approximation of every teen prom movie you’ve ever seen- well, in one way or another your dance might need to be choreographed. Once upon a time most people picked these up somewhere along the way to becoming an adult, but those days are pretty much over. Foxtrot anyone? Didn’t think so.
How far do you want to go?
There’s choreographed in the way that ‘we took a few lessons so Mr Two-left-feet would stop crushing my Manolos’, and there’s choreographed; you know… like an audition for the Beyonce tour. In the end, the only thing that really matters is what YOU – the couple, together – want to do. After all, it’s your party and you’ll dance if you want to. But ultimately, what you want to do might depend on a few of these things:
Bills, Bills, Bills
So, can you afford it? Or rather, do you want to spend money on dance lessons? One on one lessons from professionals are not cheap (nor should they be, it’s hard work). If you are looking to keep costs down it certainly isn’t a ‘must’- like the food or dress for example.
It is however probably one of the more fun pre-wedding activities to do, (beats seating charts and excel spreadsheets anyway). It’s a bonding activity with your partner amidst the stress of parents-in-law and bills, and can double up as extra exercise depending how seriously you take it and how regularly you go.
The likely reception at your reception
Another thing to think about is – frankly, how do you think your crowd of friends and family will receive it? And do you care what they think? The thing is – you’re never going to please everyone. One person’s thrilling ‘that was awesome, didn’t know you had it in you’ is another’s ‘oh dear, I didn’t know this was a wedding come dance recital’.
Even if they’re secretly critical of your cheesy showboating ways, they are attending your wedding because they love you, and in the end even if it isn’t their cup of tea, they’re getting unlimited drinks so… They can clap like the good captive audience they are.
It’s close to midnight…
Another consideration is if you’ve got something specific in mind. You know, like perfectly recreating MJ’s Thriller or that scene from Dirty Dancing? If so – get some help because that stuff is tricky to do well. And safely – most people are not as strong or coordinated as professional dancers and it is highly undesirable to throw the bride across the room, collapse under her weight, or a myriad of other disastrous things that are making me nervous thinking about.
Compromise and get in touch with your roots
After thinking it through, if you just can’t decide and want to please everyone, think of some compromises. Is either of you from a culture that does specific dances? Incorporating these is very fun, meaningful, and often will get even the oldies up and participating with you after the allotted spotlight time is over.
Another thing is – keep it short. People have limited attention spans and often want another drink, to sit back down, or to join in depending on what stage the event is at. Most people will happily watch either a full on choreographed routine or a cute natural sway around for up to a few minutes, but after that it can be boring or awkward. So if your intended song is really long, cut it down.
Do what you want
One last thing – if you one or both of you are allergic to the spotlight, physically unable, or simply don’t want to – there isn’t a law that says you have to dance. The point of the dance is to take a moment to connect and enjoy touching your new wife or husband. If either of you are not going to enjoy it because of stress or nerves or otherwise; do it your way and just sneak a moment where no one is watching.