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7 Steps to a Fabulous First Dance

by Mike Staff, courtesy of

You don’t have to be ready for Dancing With The Stars to enjoy your first dance together as husband and wife. These simple tips will help you make the most of your spotlight moment.

1. Choose a meaningful song.

Select a song you both love and one that keeps an easy beat, especially if you’re beginning dancers. When your song lasts longer than the usual three minutes, ask your DJ or band to fade the ending. Remember: frazzled dancers don’t dazzle.

Allyson Magda Photography

2. Take a couple of dance lessons.

Group lessons can be intimidating, but private lessons remove the pressure of dancing for an audience. Your instructor will teach you according to your ability level. With private instruction, beginners can quickly master the basics with confidence. Dancing, like music, lifts the spirit and is so much more fun when shared with your significant other. (See below for some places that offer dance instruction).

Kevin Chin Photography + Cinema

3. Decide who leads and who follows.

Gender no longer has anything to do with your decision, so choose the approach that makes you comfortable. Being able to follow the leader creates confidence in the follower and makes a more pleasurable dance for the leader, too. If you’re feeling brave and brassy, create a dance that switches the lead once or twice during the routine.

4. Learn a couple of exciting steps.

A pre-planned (choreographed) dip or a twirl makes a splashy statement without the tricky footwork of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. These moves are not only easy, but they offer impressive photo opportunities for still shots and videographers. When you look at them in the future, your photos will take you back to these moments with pride and a satisfied chuckle.

Full Spectrum Photography

5. Plan your entrance and your exit.

Will you clasp hands and kiss before you begin your dance? Will you sashay in from the left and leave to the right? Whatever you decide, be sure to tell your camera operators where and in what direction you will start and finish your dance, as well as any choreographed moves you plan to make. That way, they can prepare to capture your performance in the best light and with the correct angle.

6. Familiarize yourselves with the dance floor.

Check out the floor you will dance on. Make sure you know its dimensions. Some styles of dancing, like the Foxtrot, require a bigger space. Other styles, like Nightclub Two Step, don’t require much space. Having a good idea of the size and shape your wedding reception dance floor will help you when you practice so that you can get used to dancing in that amount of space.

7. Practice, practice, practice.

Practice on a busy dance floor in a public place. You can also practice at home, of course (preferably in front of a large, floor-length mirror), but you also need the experience of dancing in front of an audience. Practice your routine at least a couple of times per week for several weeks, until your feet seem to move without much help from your mind. If you can relax and have fun during your first dance, your guests will jump to join you on the dance floor!

Mike Staff is the owner of Mike Staff Productions an award winning Wedding DJ, Entertainment and Videography Company located in metropolitan Detroit, Michigan. Mike is also a well known Detroit radio personality, having spent over 14 years on-the-air at one of Detroit’s most popular music stations, 101-FM WRIF. © 2007, Mike Staff Productions, Inc. All rights reserved

We Asked Our DJs—What’s Hot in “First Dance Songs?”

Denon & Doyle:
“I’ll Be,” Edwin McCain; “Marry Me,” Neil Diamond
Elite Entertainment:
“Everything,” Michael Buble; “God Bless the Broken Road,” Rascal Flatts
Fantasy Sound:
“Come Away With Me,” Norah Jones
Sound in Motion:
“The Makings Of You,” Curtis Mayfield
Strawberry Fields DJ Co. :
“Better Together,” Jack Johnson

Dance Lessons*

Marin County: Stage Dor Studios
Cynthia Glinka On The Dance Floor
San Francisco: Cheryl Burke Dance
East Bay: ACB Ballroom Dance School,
South Bay Area: Starlite Dance Club
Sacramento: The Ballroom,
Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Dance Center
Los Angeles: Avenue 56 Dance Studios
Orange County: Our Wedding Dance
Inland Empire: Shake It Up Dance
Palm Springs Area: Arthur Murray
San Diego Area: Mary Manzella Productions
*These studios have not been Certified By The Guide

Filed under Expert Advice, Featured, Music and Entertainment, Receptions,

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