top tips

The First Dance

The first dance is one of those wedding rites of passage that not every couple looks forward to. It can be nerve-wracking to stand alone as a couple on the dancefloor with everyone watching, as you’re supposed to float around like Fred and Ginger, especially if you’re not used to dancing. It’s also one of the final formalities of the evening before you can let your hair down and relax. But with a little planning and a few deep breaths, it can become something that is fun, rather than something to be feared.

As a wedding planner, I’ve watched dozens of couples take to the dancefloor on their big day and end up with huge smiles on their faces. Here’s some of my top tips to help you breeze through the first dance like a pro. To discuss your wedding in more detail, please get in touch.


Choosing Your Song
While you might love a 4 minute long version of a dance mix you both boogied to in a nightclub when you first met, for your wedding it’s important to pick a song that’s an appropriate length for the first dance and crucially one you can both dance too. Sit down as a couple and research some songs you both like, that have meaning for you and will fit the bill in terms of length and ‘dance-ability’.


Even if you don’t want to, it’s worth just having a quick twirl around the living room to get the feel of where your hands should be placed and to practice the important parts of leading and following. You don’t have to be Fred and Ginger, but a little practice makes perfect and will help with your nerves. Also consider taking a few dance lessons before the big day. There are many companies who cater specifically for wedding couples first dances.


Consider the Dress and Shoes
Remember on the day the bride will have her wedding dress and heels on, while the groom will be in his suit, so bear this in mind before taking to the dancefloor. The bride might want to change into dancing flats and the dance itself will have to cater to the dress, for example a tight fitting dress may not allow for a lot of dramatic movements, whereas a princess style dress is made for twirling.


Nerves are to be expected. Even though you will be surrounded by you family and friends, it is completely understandable to be nervous. But try and remember that everyone who is there, is someone you love and they are there to celebrate with you, not judge you. If you still have butterflies, try and take a deep breath before you begin and look into your new husband or wife’s eyes, smile and giggle!


Going Viral
In recent times, there’s been an explosion of first dances which have gone viral, some for the right reasons and others for the wrong reasons. We’ve watched as couples have started off dancing normally and then suddenly burst into a pre-choreographed routine that wows the guests. If you do plan to go this route, do be careful as we’ve all seen versions where it can go horribly wrong. That said if it’s something you are both up for, it can be huge fun. Of course if you are not the sort of couple who enjoy dancing in the spotlight, then don’t feel under pressure to pull off some crazy routine; there’s nothing wrong with a traditional style first dance.

Tips on Choosing a Wedding Band

There are many things that your guests will comment on about your wedding, months and even years after the day itself. Often it’s comments on ‘how good the food was,’ or ‘how lucky you were with the weather,’ and so on. But one of the most remembered parts of the evening, not only for the guests but for you too, is the music. People are likely to remember whether they were up dancing all night, or whether they sat it out instead. The point is, that your wedding band is a very important choice. By the time you get to the dancing, it is the part of the evening when you can relax. The ceremony is over, the speeches are done and once you’ve finished the first dance, it’s time to let your hair down, so picking a band that will play music you both like as a couple, as well as music that will get all the guests up on the dancefloor is key.

As a wedding planner with years of experience behind me, I’ve advised many couples on their choice of band. Here’s my top tips on things to consider when picking yours. If you’d like to chat about this or any other aspect of your day in more detail then please get in touch.


What Style
One of the first things to consider when choosing your band is they style of music you want. Many couples just want a range of music from across the decades that will guarantee a full dancefloor all night. However some couples want to have a specific style of music, such as swing music, or 90s style beats, an 80s tribute wedding band or even something more jazz inspired. Thankfully whatever style of music you want, there is guaranteed to be a band out there that will suit.


See Your Band in the Flesh
This is crucial. You might have watched a clip of your prospective band on YouTube, but nothing beats seeing them in the flesh. Thankfully most bands run free showcases around the country for this exact purpose, or of course if you’ve been at a friend’s wedding and fell in love with their band, then you already know they can deliver.


Size of Band
This is will depend to a large extent on your budget. For example a 10 piece band with full brass section will cost much more than a three piece band. You’ve got to weight up the cost with the sound you want to have on the day, so again going to the showcases is a great way to identify how many people you’ll want in your band. Also consider the venue size, while most can accommodate a sizeable band, some venues will have limited in space. If in doubt, ask (see the next point below.)


Have They Played Your Venue Before?
This is a very important point to ask your prospective band for a number of reasons. Firstly, it means they will be familiar with the venue and how to get there. Secondly, it means they will be able to breeze through the set up and break down procedures with minimal fuss, thirdly if they’ve played your venue several times, it’s a safe bet that they are a good band that can pack the floor all evening.


Song Choice
Never be afraid to let your band know what songs you want to hear and equally what songs you don’t want to hear. They are professionals who are used to tailoring their sets for their clients preferences, so don’t be shy. We all have our favourites and your wedding day is the ideal day to hear them. Similarly if there is a song either of you just hate then make sure you communicate this to the band so they do not play it.


The Nitty Gritty
Finally it’s good to check the fine print with your band before you put down your deposit. Never assume they will play for a set number of hours, or will turn up at a set time, always check these details. Also make sure to ask if they provide an after band DJ service and if they will do a special deal if you book both services. Also don’t be afraid to ask about lighting and attire, as well as what sort of backdrop you band will have on the night, as these will all impact the look of your wedding reception.