Do the first dance for photos, but save the last dance for love

April 20 | Guest post by MC Funk  
Photos by: CheyChey Photography
First dance wisdom: Do the first dance for photos, but save the last dance for love
Photos by Chey Kumara of CheyChey Photography

Haven't you always dreamed of that moment where you cuddle up for a dance with your new spouse, sharing a deeply meaningful and intimate experience, gazing into each other's eyes… IN FRONT OF EVERYONE?

I'll be honest: six+ months later I don't at all remember why we decided we wanted to do a first dance; we skipped parent dances. We're not dancers, and dancing in front of everyone wasn't something we were excited about doing in of itself — we didn't take lessons and only planned it out loosely over a couple of experiments at home. When it came to the big day it definitely felt awkward, but I'm so glad we did it for these reasons:

  1. We picked a song we could have nerdy fun with to break the tension — and we made sure it wasn't too long
  2. The pictures our photographer took were some of my favorites
  3. We didn't rely on the song to be our romantic newlywed moment — we saved that for the last dance!

 

First dance wisdom: Do the first dance for photos, but save the last dance for love

The awkward first dance plan

We're not dancers, and we're fairly shy people who didn't just want to rock back and forth (or make out!) with everyone watching. After we decided that, we wanted to dance to "Moonage Daydream" by David Bowie (our wedding theme was space).

Pretty quickly we realized that (1) it was longer than we wanted to dance to, (2) doing that little step over and over again got boring, and (3) the instrumental break felt kind of goofy. To deal with problems #2 & #3, we decided to do a "dance break" in the middle where we broke apart and just nerded out a little, dancing in a way that was totally self-conscious and funny to us. To deal with problem #1, I got on trusty open-source (free) program Audacity and simply faded out the song at a point that made sense for us.

First dance wisdom: Do the first dance for photos, but save the last dance for love

When it came to the wedding day and stepping out to dance, we were definitely feeling super nervous and awkward, but dancing to a song we loved helped to get us into the moment. Things really got great at the "dance break" though. I twirled around for fun and my partner did a goofy twist-like boogie. Our guests thought it was really funny, and when we came back together after that we were all smiles and ease.

First dance wisdom: Do the first dance for photos, but save the last dance for love

The unexpected LAST DANCE bliss

Was this dance the intimate, gushy, tear-jerking dance that I had imagined when I thought of my first dance with my brand new spouse? Definitely not! But that's where the last dance comes in.

It was kind of an afterthought, but looking back it was one of the best wedding decisions I made.

I'd gotten really into another Bowie song, "Sons of the Silent Age," which has this big eerily romantic chorus ['Baby I won't ever let you go …'] and amazing beautiful emotion to it. It didn't have the same history that my partner and I have with Moonage Daydream, and it seemed a little too intimate for a first dance anyway, so I stuck it at the end of the wedding playlist, thinking I could indulge and get my partner out on the dance floor for it. It was kind of an afterthought, but looking back it was one of the best wedding decisions I made.

When I hear "Moonage Daydream" these days, I might think about our wedding dance — bringing my partner out on the dance floor and how nervous he was, and how I teased him, "Oh, you don't feel like I'm the only other person in the world right now?," or the wonderful images our photographer got.

First dance wisdom: Do the first dance for photos, but save the last dance for love

Instantly I'm taken back to grabbing my partner by the hand…

But if I want to remember that feeling I'd expected to have for the first dance, that uninterrupted bliss of just holding the person I love and just being married, of getting caught up in the romance of it all — that's when I play "Sons of the Silent Age." Instantly I'm taken back to grabbing my partner by the hand ("It's the last dance!"), pulling him out on the empty dance floor among our dwindled attendees, and he and I just dancing and kissing and loving each other. (There was also a notably sweet moment when my dad caught my eye and gave me a big thumbs up!)

Planning a last dance was the perfect way to savor the last amazing drops of our wedding day without feeling like we were performing for anyone. I'm so grateful we did it and hope others can use the idea to get the romantic dance they want without the first dance jitters.

  1. My husband was in a fraternity when we met at university and at the end of every "date party" (excuse to dress up) they would play Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and everyone would stand with arms around each other in a circle and sing loudly along and sway. At some point all of the graduating seniors for that year would come and make a smaller circle within the main circle. We were the first of our friends to get married and so we had that song as the last song at our wedding. It was such a special moment because everyone came together even if they didn't know about the tradition from school and it just made this wonderful feeling of togetherness and love. We were in the middle and everyone that we loved and cared about were around us.

    So yeah, I would highly recommend a "last dance" of some sort.

    2 agree
  2. This is so great, and happened to us as well! Our first dance was to Chantel Kreviazuk's cover of "Feels Like Home" which is a great wonderful romantic song. But I felt SO WEIRD during the whole thing because everyone was staring at us! Later in the night the DJ played a song that was both written/sung by my husband while he was in a college band. My husband had no idea I'd slipped the DJ his album so he was really surprised to hear himself singing and we got up and did a "second dance" to that. It was much more relaxed and fun than our first dance, and my sister-in-law got a great close up video of it!

    1 agrees
  3. My husband and I abstained from a public dance. Our wedding was different in that we had it very small (25-30 people) and went to a normal restaurant for the reception. Instead of dancing in front of everyone, we took our photographer out to the patio and had him take pictures while we danced to one of our favorite songs, "Have You Forgotten" by Red House Painters. It worked for us because my husband wanted to dance, but I have anxiety and didn't want to do it in front of a bunch of people. Plus, our song was not child- or church-type-people-friendly. So that worked for us. Some of my favorite pictures are from that dance because it was the little slice of time we had for ourselves.

    1 agrees

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