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Personalizing the First Dance: How to Create a Unique Expression of Your Love Story

  • By Becca Blond
  • Jan 17, 24

The first dance is a longstanding wedding tradition, and one that many couples may feel pressured to do in a certain style. In the past, a traditional first dance was usually to a slow song that held significance to the couple but still fit into a certain genre. But these days, couples are changing the way they approach the first dance, often choosing to forgo the classic songs to create unique expressions of their love stories. 

Kayden Roberts, relationship coach and the Chief Marketing Officer at leading dating app CamGo, has seen her share of creative twists on traditional wedding first dances over the years with couples she coaches. 

“Couples are increasingly looking beyond the traditional slow dance. Some opt for a medley of songs representing different stages of their relationship, while others go for a complete genre switch mid-song for a fun surprise. Even K-pop makes the cut these days,” she says. 

a couple dancing in the street with headlights blurring by
Everyone’s first dance idea is perfect. Photo by Honey Fire Photography

She says that to make these dances extra unique couples are infusing personal elements into them. Examples include a mix of their favorite songs, incorporating styles from their cultural backgrounds, or even using a song they composed together.

“One of the most creative first dances I’ve seen was a couple who performed a dance that told their love story through a mix of songs and dance styles, starting from when they met to the wedding day. It was like watching a live romantic movie,” Roberts says. 

It’s Okay to Skip the First Dance

This is your day, and there is no reason tradition must mandate how you choose to celebrate. If you don’t feel comfortable dancing in public, or feel something else represents you better, then go with whatever feels like it best fits your vibe. 

“Some of the couples I’ve worked with are forgoing the first dance entirely,” Roberts says. “Instead, they might have a ‘first performance,’ where they do something that reflects their shared interests, like a magic trick or a duet if they’re musically inclined.”

This same philosophy works for the father/daughter dance tradition, which is also evolving. 

“I’ve seen variations where it starts traditionally and then shifts into a fun, upbeat number. Sometimes, it’s even replaced with a family dance to celebrate all members,” Roberts says. 

John Anderson, Co-Founder of LifeLineWedding.com, says he is also seeing a trend in couples choosing to include multiple family members in this dance.

“Whether it’s a mother/son duel or an aunt taking over her brother’s role due to distance, many couples are now choosing to include multiple important people in their wedding day celebrations,” Anderson says.

Consider a Group Dance

JoAnn Moore, a luxury wedding planner and owner of JoAnne Moore Wedding, Design & Event Planning, says she’s had couples uncomfortable with dancing solo opting to have a group first dance instead. 

“In some cases, they might start with perhaps 30 seconds alone and then the DJ/band leader will invite ALL the married couples to join them,” she says. “I’m now also seeing couples performing a “last” dance. They invite all their guests to line up outside the venue for a “grand exit” and then couple will dance their last dance in private at the end of the evening.”

Moore says adding an extra element to the first dance is also a good way to take some pressure off nervous dancers not wanting to be the center of attention.

“I had a couple that not only choreographed their dance but also included a slideshow with photos of their dating and travels together. The slide show was running at the same time they danced,” Moore says. “It was wonderful to watch, and everyone enjoyed their presentation. It also took some of the stress off the awkward groom, with his limited moves. He was more comfortable with knowing his guests weren’t staring at him the entire time.”

Use Custom Choreography

a couple getting married in a diner
You can dance if you want to. Photo by Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel

Another trend wedding planners are seeing is a focus on custom choreography. This is especially popular with couples that plan to post their nuptials on social media. 

“With social media being so mainstream nowadays, we’ve seen many couples create epic first dances suitable enough for filming a viral TikTok video,” Anderson says. “Think huge groupings of bridesmaids dancing along with groomsmen or a complex combo of hip hop moves set alongside rap music.”

Many couples are either hiring a dance instructor to choreograph these intricate first dance moves or watching YouTube couples’ first dances to choreograph on their own. 

“Couples are going online and teaching themselves how to dance in the privacy of their own home. While others are hiring a dance instructor,” Moore says. “Later, couples will change their learned routine and embellish it with different moves, as they become more comfortable with their recently obtained dancing skills.” 

Add a Surprise First Dance Element

a woman going through people tunnel for a first dance
A fun change of pace. Photo by Tropicana LV weddings

Another fun idea is to consider adding an unexpected twist to your first dance. Surprise your guests with a sudden change in tempo, a fun dance break or even a costume change. 

“Couples are making their first dance either romantic or funny. They might use props such as hats and canes, or funny music. Others have had their wedding party join them with a flash mob and choreographed performance,” Moore says.

Amanda Hudes, the Founder and Creative Director of Smiling Through Chaos Event and Wedding Planning, has also seen unique twists.   

“I’ve had couples lip sync the song to each other, others learn a traditional style of movement, while others add some fun twists to it with spins or a slow song that turns fast,” she says. “I also had a mother and son start their dance with a slow song and then start disco dancing to the guests. It was so adorable!”

Whatever you end up opting for, just remember this is your special day and the most important aspect is that you have a good time and a memory to cherish throughout your relationship. 

Wedding Day

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