Monday, April 26, 2010

Dancing King & Queen?

I used to be afraid to dance. As someone who always struck out during freestyle dances and the salsa lessons I took with my friends at clubs, I had simply resigned myself to a lifetime of having two left feet.

Then, Stephen and I signed up for a wedding dances class at our community center last summer. While definitely not ready to enter a competition anytime soon, we surprised ourselves by being one of the better couples on the floor. After just a few weeks of training, we had easily picked up the basics of foxtrot, waltz and rumba.

Buoyed by that experience, we were excited but a little nervous to begin our private first dance lessons earlier this month with the same instructor who taught our summer class – Kathy Carroll of Tom Woll & Associates. Would we remember anything? Would we still be as in sync on the floor?

Well, guess what? We were! After a few rounds of practice, we had brushed up on most of the moves from the class, including some of the fancier aspects. We still have one more lesson to go, but I think we’re hopefully on our way to a great dance routine that will be fun and memorable for both our guests and us.

Want your first dance to shine? Here, the best tips I’ve picked up so far for creating a fabulous routine that’s sure to wow.

  • Never danced a step before in your life? Take some group classes to get started, and only go into private lessons once you have the basics down and just need to work on creating a routine. You’ll save time and money, since private lessons are costly.
  • Don’t choose a long song. Our pick, “Fly Me To The Moon,” runs only a couple minutes in length. The short playtime eases the pressure on us, and won't push our guests’ patience levels to the limit.
  • If you plan to wear a long gown at your wedding, be sure to bring a crinoline to wear during dance lessons. It has taken Stephen a while to get used to leading without being able to see my feet, and to become comfortable with putting his own feet underneath the skirt. Don’t wait until the wedding day to test this out for the first time.
  • Encourage your DJ to start the music as part of your grand entrance, so that you can head straight to the floor and start dancing. Nothing is worse for a couple’s nerves, Kathy told us, than standing in position on a silent dance floor waiting to hear the first notes of the song.
  • When your gown is bustled, be sure it doesn’t drag on the floor in the front or back, which might cause you to trip during your routine. Also be sure that the bustle is secured tightly enough that it won’t come undone during all of your twists and twirls throughout the dance.
  • And finally, remember that it’s OK if everything does not go perfectly! Sure, Stephen and I miss a step here and there, and we still have lots of practicing and work to do before the big day. But we’re having fun together and working as a team, which is definitely the most important aspect to focus on.
Did you or will you take dance lessons to prepare for your wedding day? Are you more excited or nervous about your first dance?

(Photo Credits: Kathy Carroll)


  1. You guys are beyond cute! We didn't really have a formal first dance or anything, so there was no need for us to do lessons, but I think I might like to take them just because. :)

  2. We're also doing somewhat of a routine. Since it's just like making moves as per the song, it's not really something we had to learn to do but we are going to run through it a couple of times before the big day.

  3. We practice in our living room all the time, though we aren't doing a formal routine or anything, I didn't want that moment to be about us remembering steps but more just enjoying the moment together. I think he might throw in a dip or two though just for kicks :)

  4. I'm on the fence about lessons, but you are convincing me with these awesome photos! I like the idea of doing the first dance as part of the main entrance/announcement, too. Genius!

  5. Ooh so excited for you guys! We had a choreographed dance (1 of my former coworkers was a former dancer and was kind enough to do it for us). It definitely impressed though I messed up.

    I bet you guys will be awesome! Good call on getting used to the dances first and then doing the private lessons.

  6. We're about to schedule some dance lessons, so these were really helpful tips! We're doing a waltz for the first dance, and neither of us know how, so it's going to be a little intimidating to figure it out.

  7. that's awesome! i've been talking about doing this forever...i should look into it today.

  8. We definitely want to do classes too, but we'll wait till it gets a little closer. Those are great tips! Thx for sharing!

  9. These are some great tips! My fiance purchased dance lessons for us as my Christmas present last year and unfortunately we didn't learn anything more than a few basic steps. We definitely want to take more before the wedding!

  10. We only practiced in the living room. We were both so nervous when the time came to have our first dance... it went by so quickly & we ended up having so much fun.

    I wish I hadn't spent so much time worrying about it.

  11. Those are cracker tips - especially the group lesson before private one. Wish you had written this a year ago!