7 First Dance Alternatives for Dance-shy Couples

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alex & mark's wedding

A few days ago I got asked a question via Twitter about some suggestions for good alternatives to the first dance. Offbeat Bride has broached the topic of dance-free wedding receptions before, but what if you like to dance, but you just don't want to have to be the ONLY ONES dancing? Or, maybe you love being the only ones under the spotlight, but dancing isn't exactly your thing — what are your other options?

First Drink

Instead of mixing your unity cocktail during the ceremony, save it for the reception in lieu of a first dance! Kicking off your reception with a first drink is quick and painless and does double duty for shy brides & grooms as it can help to calm nerves and will probably help put you in the mood to dance later on… with everyone else, of course.

First Song

We've seen many variations on this idea — there's been first songsfirst karaoke, musically inclined couples have even put a band together in order to perform at their wedding. I've been to a wedding where only the bride was a musician, and she performed a song that she wrote for groom instead of them both doing the first dance.

First Game

Gamer geeks might feel right at home playing a first video game as husband and wife. We've seen first Rock Band rock-outs so much so that it even has it's own tag! This wedding made me think that it would be really awesome to do a “First Dance Dance Revolution.”


The sporty couples that we've featured have had first non-virtual games like a vollyball and soccer. The bride and groom could throw the first pitch, or make the first kick to start the game and then the entire party could join in. Or what about a first potato sack race? Having your wedding reception at a bowling alley? Of course you two can jointly roll the first balls!

Roller derby brides and grooms could taking a first spin around the reception site on their skates!

First Jump

How far are you willing to go to not dance? Would you be willing to rent a bounce house? Or perhaps you happen to have a trampoline on hand? If so, you guys could have an awesome first bounce as husband and wife. 

Photo by  Tim Oben of intrepidphoto.ca
Photo by Tim Oben of intrepidphoto.ca

First Group Dance

What about a conga line or a Bohemian Rapsody rock-out with the entire bridal party?

Sara & Matt pulled off a surprise group dance at their wedding when they “assumed the traditional first-dance pose, but as soon as the music started the entire wedding party joined [them] on the dance floor and performed a choreographed dance.”

First Hula Hoop

Burners? Hippies? Vintage toy enthusiasts? A first hula hoop might be just the thing! Look how cute.

Double points if you both can rock the fire hoops. 


First Duel

A reader named Ariel told us, “My boy and I do European martial arts together, and his one request thus far is that we have a duel instead of a first dance. (He'd like to end it with a disarm and a kiss, no word yet as to exactly who'd be getting disarmed.)”

Of course, my favorite duel in OBB history is from Laurie's Big Fat Geek Wedding! Star Wars light saber duel FTW!

You want even more ideas?

You guys, these seven suggestions are just the beginning… we've got SO many more in our archive of first-dance alternatives!

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Comments on 7 First Dance Alternatives for Dance-shy Couples

  1. ooh-I was thinking of having a bouncy castle anyway and we're both kinda dreading the all eyes on us moment so a first bounce would be a cool idea!! love it!

  2. I went to a wedding with a bouncy castle (and a load of outdoor games). It was cool because it kept the kids entertained and the bride and groom did the 'first bouce' thing as you said!

  3. Hey! Look at that! There we are again. And we really didn't do a first dance – so I guess our first bounce together WAS our alternative to our first dance. And luckily we didn't have to rent a moon-bounce – there was one on the waterfront – we just kicked all the children off it in order to have some fun. 🙂

  4. what happens when you are a dancer and choreographer (so the first dance is important) and your partner doesn't dance? I'm trying to figure it out! any suggestions?

  5. We had DDR at our reception, too. We had a normal first dance (to the theme song from Scrubs so normal maybe stretching it) but then later I surprised my gamer geek hubby by lowering the big projection screen that our roommate had conspired with me to hook up to the PS2. And we did another first dance to Dream a Dream aka the only song on DDR I don't automatically fail 😛

  6. On the first duel, they should preface it by saying something like "May this be the last fight we ever have" and then call it a truce.

    • That is, in fact, exactly what the person introducing us said. 😉 And it was a truce; I disarmed him, he grappled me, and we kissed. Wouldn’t want to end with a winner, after all!

  7. So don't dance.

    My brother and SIL had no dancing at all and I don't think anyone really noticed. Certainly they didn't comment on it. They did the kiss-the-bride bit and then everyone lined up to sign the wedding certificate–groom's family is Quaker–and then on to the food.

  8. My cousin and his wife asked that everyone who was so inclined get up and join them on the dance floor to share in their first dance. It was lovely: they got to dance to the song they wanted to, but weren't the focus of 150 pairs of eyes, either. I'd say at least half of the guests got up and danced with them to "their song."

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