First Dance Etiquette and Tips

Wedding ceremonies are connected to many customs and traditions, and these differ depending on what country, city, or province you are in. Sometimes, it is fun to research the history behind these traditions, but most people do not always take the time to wonder all about them. Among the many customs and traditions at weddings, one of the most popular that is usually practiced in the world is the first dance of the bride and the groom. 

If you are planning your wedding and want to include the first dance in the program, there are things that you need to learn about it for it to be successful. In this post, we are giving you a list of first dance etiquettes, along with the best tips that you can follow.

Where Did the Wedding First Dance Tradition Come From?

the newlywed’s first dance

Before we give you the list of first dance etiquettes and tips, let us first take a look at the origin of the first dance tradition.

This tradition goes back to 17th-century Europe, back when formal balls were very popular. Back then, it was customary for a guest of honor, which was usually the individual of the highest social standing in attendance, to lead the first dance. For instance, if a member of the royal family was present, they would have the first dance. The host or hostess would proclaim the opening of the ball, and the first dance would start, led by the guest or guests of honor. 

The first dance came first before the popularity of ballroom dancing. The dances back in those times were long country dances that were more like a line or parade. The first couple would not be the only ones dancing throughout the first piece of music. Instead, they would lead the other couples to dance, too.

First Dance Etiquette

bride and groom dancing

The modern-day tradition of a first dance has changed a lot since then. In the 1920s, it was considered good etiquette for the newlyweds to let their guests dance first. However, these days, the bride and groom mostly share the first dance, often to a song that the two of them have chosen specifically for that purpose. If you need an idea for the most romantic wedding songs, you can check out our 5 Romantic First Dance Songs for Weddings

When the first song is finished, the event can proceed in different ways depending on the couple. Some couples invite all of the couples onto the floor after the first dance has ended. But if you wish to follow a more traditional event, then there is a generally-agreed-upon etiquette when it comes to the order of the wedding dances. Here they are:

  • The bride and the groom share the first dance.
  • After the first dance of the bride and groom, the father of the bride will dance with the bride, while the groom may also dance with the mother of the bride.
  • After that, the mother and father of the bride will dance together.
  • The groom will then dance with his mother, followed by the dance of the groom’s parents.
  • Then, the dance floor will open up to the groomsmen and bridesmaids. There are also weddings where the groomsmen take turns dancing with the bride, and the bridesmaids take turns dancing with the groom. 
  • After that, the dance floor will be opened to all who wish to dance. 

These traditions can be altered as there may be variables that prevent these, such as a disabled or deceased parent. Also, keep in mind that the main goal of wedding dances is for the guests to have fun celebrating the newlyweds, as well as to make a fond moment that will have everyone swooning. 

First Dance Tips

It is quite normal to feel nervous about your first dance. If you want it to go as smooth as possible on your wedding day, here are some of the best tips that you can follow:

  • If both of you are feeling nervous about the dance, the best thing to do is to practice dancing to the song before the wedding day comes.
  • If either of you has little or no experience on the dance floor, you also have the option to take a lesson from a professional. Even just a few ballroom dance lessons can go a long way. It can help you have the confidence to dance in front of others.
  • If the bride is wearing a long wedding gown or if it has a train, she needs to make sure that the bustle is fitted to prevent her from tripping over.
  • The bride and the groom should also wear shoes that are comfortable for dancing.
  • For the first dance, pick a song that you both love. It is great if the song is meaningful to your relationship. 
  • If you both are not into dancing, you can instead choose to sing the first song. You can switch things up and have karaoke at your wedding reception. You can both have the honor of singing the first song instead of dancing. 
  • You can also choose to have a wedding party dance. If you want to do this, you need to ask the bridal party or groomsmen out onto the dancefloor for a wedding party dance. Doing this can also take a bit of pressure off the bride and groom. There are some wedding parties that even have a choreographed dance routine. 
  • You also have the option to invite all the couples onto the dance floor at once. This is a good idea if you do not want to be in the spotlight. It is also perfect if you really want to celebrate the togetherness of all the people attending your wedding. 
  • Lastly, the best tip we can give is to enjoy the dance. No matter what style of dance order you pick, the most important thing is that you enjoy it. Keep in mind that your wedding is a celebration. Therefore, everyone on the dance floor should have a really great time. 

These are some of the first dance etiquette and tips that we can give. A lot of couples today are choosing to have weddings that mix the traditional with the alternative. Your first dance can be as traditional or as modern as you want it to be. The important thing is that you make it meaningful and as fun as it can be for everyone. We hope the information in this post helps you in planning your first dance for your upcoming wedding.