Wedding Wisdom

Preparing for the First Dance

Welcome to Wedding Wisdom! Every week, JET experts will help you plan your dream nuptials from engagement to “I do.” This week, wedding planner and bride-to-be Tami Smallwood, CEO of blush|WEDDING & EVENT PLANNING FIRM, gives advice to grooms with two left feet. 

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

Photo courtesy of Cellar Door Photography.

How many weddings have you attended where the poor groom was forced into a humiliating detailed choreographed number just to keep up with this new and popular wedding trend?

This epidemic of intricate dance routines kicked off in 2009 when Jill and Kevin Klein’s wedding party danced down the aisle to the club version of Chris Brown’s “Forever.”  Videos of the unusual entrance went viral on YouTube (with over 82 million views) and news shows across the country.  Hundreds of similar stunts have surfaced since then including my favorite, Best Hip Hop Wedding First Dance (more than 5 million views).

As a bride who LOVES to cut a rug, yet engaged to a groom who panics at the thought of a two-step, I have to be strategic about having a decent first dance.  I have advised countless couples on this topic and now that my wedding is a few weeks away, it’s time I take a little bit of my own advice.  Here are some ways to get your new life partner ready for the dance floor:

Keep it simple.  From a planner’s perspective, I love the choreographed dances, but as a bride I love the idea of simply being in the arms of my groom for the first time as his wife.  Who cares if we’re not as smooth as Beyoncé and Usher? It’s all about the moment.  Pretend that it’s just the two of you there and dance as if no one else in the room.

Practice, practice, practice.  Play your selected song with just the two of you in the living room and rehearse your dance.  This will make your groom comfortable with the music and time to figure out what he should do with his hands and his feet.  Be sure to practice in the shoes that you will wear on your wedding day (or at least a similar heel height).  My fiancé is over a foot taller than I am and we both need to find comfort in dancing with our height difference.

Relax, this isn’t Dancing with The Stars!  There are no trophies to win or judges to impress.  Remember you’re in a room filled with your family and friends.  They most likely already know that your guy is not so smooth on the dance floor.  Getting upset will only make him more nervous and awkward, which may come across in your photos and with your video.

Still considering dance lessons?  My advice: save the cash and put it toward something else.  We opted to decline on this minute detail.  Here’s my perspective: if the thought of a two-step makes him panic… just imagine how a choreographed dance will make him feel!  I personally didn’t want my guy concentrating on the eight-count.  I would rather that he focus on our moment.

Enjoy this day!  Be sure you still get your groove on when the time comes!  Your groom may not dance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t!  I know I can’t wait to PAR-TAY when my big day comes!!