So your Wedding Date is fast approaching and you and your partner have only just started to think about your First Dance. Maybe you are six months out or maybe only six days away from the big day! No need to panic. No matter how much time you have to prepare for your First Dance, some preparation is better than no preparation. So, what to consider first and what factors come into play...
Factors to Consider
How much time do you have between now and your wedding date?
How extravagant or impressive do you want your First Dance to be?
What style of dance would you like to learn? That is; slow and romantic or fun and upbeat?
Have you or your partner had any previous dance experience?
Do you both have busy schedules and not much time to practice?
Four Weeks Or Less
With four weeks or less I would recommend having one to three lessons. You always want your last wedding dance lesson to be one to two weeks out from your wedding date. Remember you'll need to remember the steps but you'll have to balance this out with both being very busy in those last few days and potentially not spending time with each other in the final run up to your big day. If you simply don't have the time and cannot have a lesson or two, take 30 minutes to figure out what you can do. I know this sounds silly but so many couples are more than capable of dancing, but in todays modern world we rarely come across occasions that call for dancing with your partner.
Most important steps to first try. Swaying on the spot (in time with each other). Start on the spot then start to rotate. Yes. I know sounds silly but we've all seen couples that cannot even sway together on the spot. Get this sorted asap. After try giving your partner a twirl. Turn her under her arm and away from her arm. You can do this on the spot then try to progressing whilst travelling with each other. Head to youtube to get some basic footwork in and then finish with practicing a dip or two. I promise you 30 minutes mucking around trying a few basics together will save you heartache on the day. You'll get some beautiful First Dance photos and you'll both feel a hell of a lot better! If you have time for a lesson or two, grab the chance. With a little guidance you'd be surprised just how much of a difference it can make to how you feel and look on the day!!
Six or More Weeks Out
Alright so you have a couple of months up your sleeve. What are you wanting to achieve; Huge spectacular or just a simple, confident and polished First Dance? Obviously here, the simpler the choreography, the less time you need practicing. Remember simple choreography can look just as elegant and beautiful as you're both extremely comfortable and more than capable. The slower the music, the less time you have to fill with choreography. If you have limited time, I always advise my clients to go with something slower, easier to follow and easier to "fill up" the time/music.
If you are after something quite upbeat, you will need more time to learn and more time to practice. With quick choreography you need to ensure that those moves are ingrained in your muscle memory as you can't exactly "fake" it as easily as you can to slower music.
The earlier you learn your moves, the easier it is for your mind-body connection to work seamlessly. If you've just learnt multiple difficult moves in a short space of time and only have a few days to practice, it is far harder for your brain to "digest" all of this information and can lead to a messy First Dance. If you can learn some basics the further away from your wedding day the better. Having said this you also want your First Dance choreography to stay nice and fresh for the day.
At the end of the day. One lesson is better than no lessons. The more practice the better within whatever time frame you have. The longer you have between practicing and lessons the better. If you are limited by time consider a slower tempo, simpler moves and get as much practice as you can possible. If you have quite a bit of time, choose a style that suits you and your personalities. Give a week between lessons and practice as often as possible. Always aim to have your final lesson no more than a fortnight before your wedding date! And last but not least...Repetition is key for your body to remember without "thinking" - practice makes perfect!