The question of when to do formal wedding dances as you plan your wedding reception agenda can seem daunting, however there are three very popular choices that have proven to work very well in my experience.
Do your First Dance…FIRST…directly following your Grand Introductions.
This is generally the most popular choice. One of reasons why the “First Dance” should be FIRST is because wedding protocol suggests that no one should dare dance until after the bride and groom have shared their First Dance as husband and wife.
If you take care of this formality immediately, then your guests can feel free to dance with their spouse earlier in the evening: during dinner, or between courses, if the DJ or Wedding Band plays a song that inspires them or is very special to them. ( and they can do so without fear of being “rude”)
Another reason for doing the “First Dance” first, as well as the Father/Daughter Dance and the Mother/Son Dance is to simply get them OUT of the way. Many brides and grooms (as well as their parents) get nervous about 200 of their friends and family eye-balling them for 3 to 5 minutes while they struggle NOT to appear awkward on the dance floor. (not everyone looks as good doing the waltz as Derek Hough on Dancing with the Stars)
Quick Suggestion: Ask your Wedding DJ Entertainer or Wedding Band to prepare a shorter version of your songs. This can cut as much as one to two minutes time from each dance, which is quite a relief to the shy and reserved. Better yet, you can combine the parent dances (Father/Daughter and Mother/Son) to save even more time if being the center of attention isn’t your thing.
Wait until after dinner to do all the formal dances. People have eaten, they have had a drink and generally they are more relaxed. Making this decision can also create an impetus to “get the dancing started” with a bang!
Quick Suggestion: Make sure to have your Wedding Band or Wedding DJ Entertainer play your favorite uptempo song immediately following the formal dances to “jump start” the action…to let everyone know that it is time to dance. In fact, you could “hand pick” that song and make sure its one that you absolutely love …one that you love so much, that you and all your friends will immediately storm the dance floor.
Do the “First Dance” First and the Parent Dances after dinner.
This combination gives you the best of both worlds for all the reasons stated above. You have followed tradition and still done the First Dance, “FIRST”….but you also get the benefit of breaking up the formal dances so your guests can be served their meal just a little bit earlier and you can have a clear “starting point” to the dancing portion of your party!
Please come back and visit for more insights into creating a fun and memorable wedding reception!
Liz Daley is the owner of Liz Daley Events, a boutique entertainment company that promises dramatically different results. She works with brides and grooms to create Classic, Fun and Memorable wedding receptions. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Boston Conservatory of Music, she is a Wedding Entertainment Director™ and the National President of the Wedding Entertainment Directors Guild™ and an Accredited Bridal Consultant™ with the Association of Bridal Consultants. She is currently co-teaching an educational workshop for Wedding DJs and Masters of Ceremonies entitled, “Make It GRAND!”