Exclusion to inclusion: inverting ye olde "grandparents dance" tradition

Guestpost by Chris Wolfgang on Apr. 11th
Danelle & Jason's Tiki Wedding

Nothing better than being surrounded by your loved ones on the dance floor!

Have you ever heard of a grandparents' dance? Yes, well, neither had I.

Apparently, here's how it works: a wedding DJ asks couples to dance, and then asks them to leave the dance floor based on how long they've been married, with the most recent marriages leaving the floor first. My partner Jeremy's grandmother, I have discovered, is fiercely proud of always being the last couple on the floor at weddings.

When Jeremy told me, I entertained the mental image of her working a luchador mask while the DJ plays Last Man Standing. But being a people-pleaser is my cross to bear, so I put aside the Nacho Libre daydream to consider how I could tactfully wriggle out of this dance — and the father-daughter dance and my own first dance, while I'm at it.

Really, I just want that most elusive of party goals: everyone on the floor together having fun.

I had been skirting around the subject of traditional wedding dances, in general hopes it will go away altogether. I tried to explain my position to Jeremy. I acknowledged that it was awesome his grandparents had been married fifty-six years. What an accomplishment, right? However, to be shallow about it, such a dance would empty the floor instead of fill it. The antithesis of getting this party started, if you will.

Also, celebrating the longest-lasting marriage is cool, but it kind of excludes everyone else, don't you think?

I mean, my grandparents would have been married fifty-five years now, but my grandma died of breast cancer when I was eight, and my grandpa still loves her with all his heart.

And then what about all our single friends? Sucks to be you, you have to sit this one out. Not awesome, particularly when they are the ones with whom I most want to rock out on the dance floor.

Jeremy heard me out as I argued my case. Then offered his simple suggestion: "Let's invert it." There are moments when my fella's quiet brilliance blows me away.

Behold, the inverted dance schedule:

  • The DJ would request that anyone married for fifty-six years or more start the dance.
  • Jeremy's grandmother, blushing proudly, would begin swaying with his grandfather to the strains of something poppy but sensible for a slower dance. I'll Never Find Another You by The Seekers, or I Do by Colbie Caillat, perhaps.
  • Couples would add to the floor gradually as their years of marriage were called out in descending order: ten, five, one…
  • When the DJ calls out, "one hour and thirty-seven minutes," or some such, Jeremy and I would join an already crowded floor.
  • Immediately thereafter, the singles would be invited on to bring the party.

The pros of this turning of the tables include:

  • My dad and I don't have to suffer through a father-daughter dance (though my dad and I adore each other, this sounds like utter torture to both of us).
  • Jeremy and I would still technically have a first dance (something his mother dearly wants).
  • Jeremy's grandma gets her marriage acknowledged.
  • And our single friends are never shooed off the floor but rather invited to join.

Everyone coming together instead of splitting apart. Camaraderie. Inclusivity. A fantastic picture of combining families and friends and lives.

What else could I say but, "That rocks. I love you."