Get out your dancing shoes! Between deciding on a location, choosing a DJ, and everything in between, there’s one thing about your wedding’s reception that shouldn’t go overlooked: your first dance. With all eyes on you and your significant other, the very idea might be enough to give you nightmares, but fear not! We’ve called on Amy Latta, dance instructor and owner of Anyone Can Dance, for some first dance preparation advice for our readers with two left feet! Whether you decide to waltz, two-step or do a fun number, these tips are sure to take the stress off your first dance. Take it away, Amy


Photo Credits: Rebekah J. Murray Photography from Ashley + Wike’s wedding

One of the many memorable moments on your wedding day will be your first dance. Some couples look forward to it, for some it’s a source of stress, and some don’t even think about it until the big day arrives. As a ballroom dance instructor (the best job in the world!), I’ve had the opportunity to help countless couples prepare to take the floor together with confidence. Whether or not you choose to take dance lessons, here are a few of my best tips and tricks for a smooth, unforgettable, and fun first dance!

Keep It Short
When you choose your song, by all means pick something meaningful to you, but make sure it can easily be faded or cut around the 2 minute, 30 second mark. While you may love listening to all three or four minutes of it in the car, you’ll find that two minutes will seem like an eternity when all eyes are on you (even the pros keep it brief, just watch Dancing With the Stars!). If you don’t want to cut the song, have your DJ fade the music a bit at the 2:30 mark and invite either the bridal party or anyone you’d like to join you on the floor. If you’re still looking for the perfect song for your first dance, or for a father-daughter/mother-son dance, check out my list of recommendations (at the bottom of the page)!

Hem Your Dress
Many brides practice and prepare for everything except for dancing in their actual wedding gown. During your alterations and fittings, make sure that you can easily move in your dress and that you won’t step on your bustle or hem when you take a backward step. If you’re doing a slow dance, you have a little more leeway, but if you’re doing any other style of dance, it’s best to hem your dress near the ankle, or at the very least, the tops of your shoes

Practice in Your Shoes
Make sure you’ve tried dancing in your wedding shoes. Otherwise, you may find yourself off balance, sliding around on a wooden floor, or with very sore feet. Try out some of your basic steps (and not just on the carpet) to make sure you can comfortably perform them. If not, you may want to consider changing shoes before you dance.

Enter & Exit Together
When I work with a wedding couple, one of the first things I teach the groom is how to escort the bride onto the floor, spin her into dance position, and exit the floor just as smoothly when the big dance is over. It looks so much more polished than finishing the dance and looking around thinking “What now?”

Consider Something Other Than a Slow Dance
It’s only so interesting to watch a couple slow dance for two minutes, no matter how in love they are. Think about wowing your guests by performing a rumba, a foxtrot, a waltz, or even a sexy tango. You can either choose to learn the basic steps of the dance and some lead and follow skills, or you can have a short routine choreographed for you.  Your guests will be impressed, you can even keep it a surprise until that day, and you just may find a hobby that the two of you can enjoy together for a lifetime!

Remember to Smile
Everyone in the room is going to be trying to take your photo. Smile! Remember, it’s the first day of a lifetime spent with your best friend, what could be better than that? Plus, you’ll avoid ending up with a billion pictures of you with a dorky expression posted all over Facebook.  And hey, while you’re at it, enjoy the moment together!

Best wishes for a wonderful wedding day, a fantastic first dance, and a joy-filled life together as husband and wife! And remember, Anyone Can Dance!


Thank you so much, Amy! If you are in the market for a dance instructor for your Washington, D.C. area wedding, be sure to check out Anyone Can Dance for more information about their wedding dance packages.

In the meantime, check out our inspiration galleries and advice page for even more from the local DC, MD and VA area pros who make it all happen.

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