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