Donna Summer may have sung about making the most of life with her song "Last Dance" in the 1970s, but during a wedding reception most of the focus is on the first dance of the evening when the newlyweds take to the dance floor for the first time after tying the knot. Not only does the first dance give the couple an opportunity to shine on the dance floor, but it also can help set the tone for the reception to follow.
A couple's first dance is significant. Traditionally, the first dance was performed to a slow waltz, but now the first dance is not governed by any rules.
Many couples like to push boundaries or get creative with their first dances, and this can make the wedding even more memorable. In fact, some couples enroll in dance classes or enlist the help of choreographers to ensure an epic opening dance number. Social media is full of videos of innovative couples performing spot-on dance routines from classic dance movies like "Dirty Dancing" or beautifully choreographed dances to popular first dance songs such as "At Last" or "Can't Help Falling in Love."
Whether a couple wants to perform an intricate tango or simply wants to sway to the music on the first dance, here are some pointers to keep in mind.
• Choose a wedding song that has meaning. It may be fun to do a dance routine to DNCE's "Cake by the Ocean," but remember your first dance song will forever be linked to your life as a couple. Select a song that has deep meaning to you. Read over the lyrics to make sure it's an appropriate wedding song.
• Tame those nerves. Practicing is a way to feel more confident in your steps, and that will help keep nerves at bay. Many couples experience a bit of stage fright. Just keep in mind that these friends and family are at the wedding to support you and not judge your dance moves.
• Choose an uncomplicated routine. If dancing is not your strong suit, select an easy song that allows you to simply sway back and forth and move around minimally. Dancing takes practice, but with that practice even the self-professed "worst dancer" can cut an impressive rug.
• Work with a professional. If you desire something more intricate for the first dance and you have the budget to pay for some dance lessons, go for it. An instructor can take you through dance basics or help you choreograph a more polished piece.
First dances are memorable moments at wedding receptions. Guests can't wait to hear the song couples choose, and some couples exceed guests' expectations with their impressive moves.