Planning for Your First Dance

First Dance Tips | Oh Lovely Day | photo by Jennifer Roper

While many couples plan to do a first dance at their wedding, not many put much planning into the dance itself. And by planning I don’t mean taking ballroom dance lessons or choreographing a routine to perform (although both are certainly options to consider if ballroom dancing or choreography are your thing). Many couples forget the nerves and emotions that can come up during a first dance, how all eyes will be on you for the length of your dance, and how you might plan for that ahead of time. Here are some things to think about when planning your first dance.

1. Pick a song you love. Who cares if no one else has heard or knows the song you choose to dance to? If you pick a song that you love as a couple and that has meaning to you, you’ll forget everyone is watching you and will only have eyes for each other.

2. Keep it on the short side. You probably don’t want to pick a song that is much longer than three minutes. Three minutes sounds short, but when you’re dancing and everyone is staring at you, it isn’t short at all. You won’t want to be dancing for five minutes. Trust me.

First Dance Tips | Oh Lovely Day | photo by Jennifer Roper

3. Talk about it ahead of time. Do you want to have fun with your dance? Or do you want to keep it serious? A little chat ahead of time will make sure you and your partner are on the same page. That way when your love suddenly dips you in the middle of your dance, you won’t be shocked or unprepared.

4. Consider your wardrobe. If you’re wearing a fit and flare gown or one that is hard to move in, you may want to keep that in mind if you are planning any elaborate moves, like a dip (and mention it to your spouse too).

5. Practice. Do a run through to your chosen song – not necessarily to get your moves down but just so you can see and feel what it will be like to dance together to that song. Turn it on in your living room and make it romantic and casual.

First Dance Tips | Oh Lovely Day | photo by Jennifer Roper

Do you have any other tips for planning for your first dance? What song will you or did you dance to?

Photos from my wedding by Jennifer RoperJennifer Roper is a handpicked member of our Lovely Vendor Guide. If you would like to be considered for our guide, apply here.

Leave a comment.


  1. Posted Apr 14 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    nice 🙂

  2. Posted Apr 14 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    nice Photography:)

  3. Erica
    Posted Apr 14 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    If anyone is looking for fun or unique first dance songs, consider Michael Franti and Spearhead! My fiancé and I love them and they have a few songs we had to choose from but in the end we picked “Say Hey” because it was the first song of theirs we heard and we have them best memories with it. We might use their song “I’m Alive” for our grand entrance because we love that one too. “Life is Better With You” would be a little more classic without being common or super slow and serious.

    • Posted Apr 14 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Great suggestions, Erica! I love Michael Franti & Spearhead and we played some of their music at our own wedding during cocktail hour.

  4. Posted Apr 14 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more with these tips!

    Our first dance was just right in terms of timing, but the song that my dad and I danced to seemed to go on and on… I thought the DJ was going to fade it after a while – but no, we danced to the entire thing!!!

  5. Posted Apr 14 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    We danced to “look at you girl” by Chris Ledoux- great if you want a country song that isn’t overused. My husband already had it picked out when we got engaged.

  6. Posted Apr 14 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    This is a great post Chandra. We definitely didn’t think we would be as nervous as we were with everyone staring at us, so I love that you mention this!

  7. Posted Apr 15 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    My brother and sister in law told everyone they weren’t having a first dance then surprised us with a choreographed number that was SO cool!

  8. Posted Apr 16 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Great tips! Let’s just say I’m super grateful that full play-by-play dance movement isn’t translatable in photos from my wedding! haha 🙂

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