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First Things First // The First Dance

bride and groom first dance

If you’ve ever been to any traditional wedding, you know what the first dance is.  Not surprisingly, it’s the very first, formal dance at the reception, performed alone by the newlyweds.  Usually, it takes place right after they’ve arrived and been announced to everyone.  And guests all stand by to watch and admire the couple as their well-rehearsed dance is performed on the dance floor.

First Dance Trends

According to the results of The Knot Research and Insights Team’s 2023 Global Wedding Report, 89% of US couples had a traditional first dance in 2023. This finding means it continued its years long reign as the #1 wedding trend or formality performed at weddings.  Interesting to note however, is that this number is down from 91% in 2019 and again in 2022, suggesting that its popularity among couples may be declining slightly.  And why would that be?

bride and groom first dance

With weddings becoming more and more personalized every year, there’s been some customization taking place with the traditional first dance, too.  And with more freedom to participate in just the traditions couples actually want to do, more couples are choosing to sit this one out, skipping the formal first dance at their reception altogether.

This is especially true for couples who don't really enjoy dancing or who don't love being in the spotlight. So this certainly may account for the slight decline in popularity last year. Others are deciding to have a 'last dance' instead, officially ending the party with their choreographed routine. As we dive deeper now into the wedding season, we're really excited to see what the couples we film will choose to do throughout this year!

bride and groom first dance

We’ve captured this moment so many times in our wedding films but it never loses its emotional tug on us.  All eyes are on you as you dance, either a simple two-step or a well choreographed production, to kick off (or end!) the evening’s celebration.  We’re sure you’ve already read the tips online reminding you to take lessons, practice, to keep it real and have fun.  But with insight from years of experience in filming first dances, we have a few more tips to make your first dance simply perfect!

More First Dance Tips

Be sure to have your first dance be the one and only first dance of the event and have the wedding party take their seats for the moment.  The first dance as a married couple is very exciting and can be quite emotional.  This is one of the very special moments of the day that should be focused just on the two of you.  If you really want your wedding party to dance with you, have the second dance be set aside for the whole group.

bride and groom first dance

The way you begin your dance is so important, a part that’s often overlooked in the planning and practice stages.  Remember, your guests will be watching your every move from the moment you enter and are announced at your reception until your dance is over!

We’ve found the most beautiful, traditional introduction to your dance for brides and grooms is for the groom to lead the bride to the center of the floor, both looking at each other and walking confidently, hand in hand with an outstretched arm.  If he spins the bride wide, slowly, then brings her in close to begin the dance, it looks gorgeous and never awkward in the least bit!

bride and groom first dance

Also, we can’t stress enough how important it is, both for your guests and for the quality of your wedding films, to be sure to move to the center of the dance floor for your first dance.  Please don’t just take three steps out and start your dance by the dinner tables or too close to the crowd gathering to watch.  You should enjoy the benefit of your venue or entertainment’s spotlights and/or well-positioned camera lights illuminating you.  You absolutely need to take center stage!

bride and groom first dance

Check out one of the most perfect first dances we filmed! Kaitlyn and Michael entered their reception under the arched arms of their bridal party and took to the center of the dance floor for their first dance.  They danced 'on a cloud' with the fog along the floor enveloping them... and Michael broke out in a little air guitar, too!  


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