A slow dance is definitely not your only option.
wedding first dance
Credit: KT Merry

The bride and groom's first dance is a long-standing wedding tradition, but that doesn't mean it's right for everyone. What should a couple do if they're just not excited about the idea of slow dancing to a song everyone has heard before? In that case, the experts agree that they should go ahead and make their first married dance a little more specific to who they are. Over the years, couples have worked to personalize every element of their weddings, so it's only fitting that they upgrade this tradition, too. Now, the classic reception dance has evolved from a tradition that's formal and formulaic to something that's unique to each couple. If you like the idea of doing just that, these tips-straight from wedding music experts-are for you.

Dance to a custom song.

Your first dance as husband and wife is all about the two of you and your new union. That's why some couples hire professional musicians to write and record custom songs for the occasion. If that's not in the budget, you could also work with your DJ or band to create a custom mix or mash-up of your favorite tunes. Rett Webb, a wedding DJ and owner of Club Rett, notes that this is the number one trend he's seeing." Around 30% of my couples are making their own custom mix," he says. If you're musically inclined, take this personalization one step further by creating a first dance song yourself. The pro says one couple he's worked with recorded themselves playing one of their favorite songs on guitar and violin, then danced to it during the reception.

Choose an unexpected tune.

Are you and your husband die hard college football fans? Does the Cheers theme song make you teary eyed? Forget the traditional first dance musical number-play your favorite tune (no matter how nontraditional) and start your marriage off on the right foot. If you can't commit to an entirely unexpected song, Webb recommends combining your favorite number with something that's more traditionally associated with the first dance. "People will do an older song, add a sound effect, then mix in a new song," he explains.

Get inspired by the movies.

If you're ready to take your dance up a notch, incorporate a routine from your favorite movie. From Pulp Fiction to The Breakfast Club, Footloose to Dirty Dancing, pop culture is filled with memorable dances and that any couple can master (at least with the help of a trained choreographer).

Feeling nervous? Then include your guests.

"First dances are awkward, plain and simple," Sloan Lee, owner of Sloan Lee Music, says. That's why more and more couples are arranging choreographed dances that include friends and family. "Some of my couples have included their friends and family midway through the dance and switched songs to create more of a dance party vibe," she explains. Invite your bridal party and their dates to the floor, or bring your parents and their siblings out. Eventually, you'll want to invite every guest to dance with you and the tone for the rest of the reception is set.


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