first dance at a wedding

8 Tips For a Perfect First Dance

8 Tips for a Perfect First Dance

Your big day is fast approaching but you don’t have a clear idea of what to do for your first dance? Don’t worry,  you are not alone. Close to 90% of the couples have little or no experience when it comes to their first dance. This is why we came up with this guide article to help you avoid the common mistakes and make the best choices. This is a list of advice we give to all our couples when they start their first dance with us. Hope you find it useful!  


The most important thing when choosing your first dance song is to love it. You can’t dance on it if you’re half hearted. Thats why its important to make sure its the right one. Also you want to listed to the lyrics and make sure they don’t have any hidden negative language that your guests might be disturbed by. In the end you want to have fun and create an enjoyable atmosphere for you and your guests. If you’re still undecided, have a look at our first dance song selection page.


When it comes to entering the dance floor for your first dance it depends a lot on what your plan is for the day. You can come on the dance floor together or you can come from different parts of the floor, meeting in the middle. Whatever the scenario is, it’s important that you stay calm and look at each other. If you feel nervous, which you might, it helps to take a deep breath before you start. Remember, you do this to have fun, so don’t put too much pressure on your shoulders. You practiced enough so the steps should flow. Listed to the music and follow the rhythm. 


If we’re thinking about a proper dance position, we have to keep in mind what dance style are you dancing. If you are opting for a more traditional formal dance, then you have to learn to hold a nice position, elbows a bit higher and spine straight. On the other hand if you wan to do a swing or latin dance style , this is more forgiving in terms of position. You need yo learn to relax though. Your hips and knees need to be softer and move with ease. arms can be low and you will look great.


It helps if you take some dance lessons to avoid rocking from side to side like a teenager at his prom. Our instructors can teach you any dance style you want and can fit various dance steps on your song choice.


Given the fact that over 90% of the newly married couples don’t have dance experience, it’s likely that you will make a mistake or two during your first dance. Thats not to discourage you because if you choreograph your routine to a song, you can get away with almost any mistake. Say you missed a step . Instead of going back and trying to do it again, or even trying to catch up, you’d be better off just skipping to the next one. this way you can wait a beat or two and if you start the next step right, it will absolutely go unnoticed. remember, your guests don’t know your routine. This is something your dance teacher will help you with.


Make sure you smile when you dance. Not only will you feel more relaxed and confident to your guests, but you will also look better in pictures if you smile and keep eye contact with your partner. Try to have fun and enjoy this lovely moment as you dance as a married couple for the first time!


From our 20+ years of dance experience and hundreds of couples taught, we recommend having a 2 to 3 minutes first dance. Longer than that and two two things happen. Firstly, you will have trouble remembering the order of the steps, and secondly being an amateur dancer, you will get more and more nervous as the time goes by, thus resulting in losing concentration and this is when mistakes happen. If your first dance song is longer than 3 minutes, you can either have your DJ fade it out or your band play a shorter version of it.


The ending of your first dance will likely be one of the most memorable moments to you and your guests. So learn how to execute a nice dip or lift. This will not only wow your guests, but it will also clearly mark the end of your first dance. we suggest ending on a high note in the song so it’s more significant and stands out.


Was this article helpful? Let us know in the comment section bellow and see you in one of our studios!

Happy Dancing!


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first dance at a wedding

Wedding dance lessons – what to expect

Wedding Dance Lessons - What to expect

Booking your first dance lessons

  • Wether you get in touch with us via our contact form or via phone, your details will be taken by Ana. She is in charge of booking in the clients and making sure everyone is assigned to their preferred instructor.
  • She will ask you a few details about your wedding date, song choice and preferred dance style as well as experience dancing. 
  • Once you are happy with the booking time, she will confirm your lesson or 30 minutes trial lesson via email where you can find all the details about our services and how to arrive to the studio and what to wear.

Your Song Choice

  • Usually couples tell us the song they have in mind for their first dance and we begin from there building the choreography to their preferences and ability.
  • If you have a few songs in mind and can’t decide, we recommend starting with the 30 minutes trial lesson. In this time you can speak to your teacher and he/she can advise you on your song choice, of course based on what you like and how you would like your dance to look.
  • If you don’t have any song ideas, we recommend having a look on our blog page to see wedding dance song ideas . This way you can get some inspiration and maybe you can find a song that suits your style. 
  • IT IS VERY IMPORTANT for us that you are happy with your song choice and we are happy to change the song choice even after a few lessons. It is your dance and awe want to make it the best possible.
  • If you are worried that the song might be too fast or too slow, our teachers can help you and advise you on figures that make a fast song look slower or vice versa. Again, it is important for you to be happy with your song and we can deal with the steps and choreography for you.

Your Dance Experience

  • No dance experience is required to start your first dance.
  • In fact, over 90% of our clients don’t have any dance experience whatsoever. 
  • For this reason, we design your steps and figures to be as straightforward as possible and to include simple, but dynamic transitions. We want to make your first dance look very good and also easy to learn. 
  • The most important aspect of dancing especially for beginners is to listen to the music and catch the beat. This is one of the first things you will learn. After that, the steps will follow easier.
  • If you do have dance experience, that’s an added bonus and if you want to take it a step forward and try a more challenging routine, we are more than happy to teach you.

Dance Style and Choreography

  • Along the years we choreographed all dance styles from classic Waltz to more rhythmical Salsa, Tango, Swing, R&B and even traditional dance styles. 
  • This is the first thing we do when a couple comes to us. We listen to the music and place it within a dance style that suits the couples dance experience and style.
  • It is important to us that your choreography reflects your style and prefferences so we always ask you to try the steps and tell us if its comfortable for you. In the end that’s what matters most. To feel comfortable and have fun while dancing your first dance.
  • Another very  important aspect to us is the brides dress and how we choreograph your dance with the dress in mind. We will ask you to describe the dress in order to know the limits of the choreography and how to manage. ( for example if you have a ball gown with a bigger train, we will avoid having to step backwards).

When to book your dance lessons

  • We recommend starting your first dance lessons at least two or three months prior to the wedding. This will give you enough time to make sure the choreography is done and you have time to practice.
  • Usually we book the lessons a week apart. This will give you the necessary time to practice and get used to the steps in-between lessons. 
  • Most of our couples opt for our package of 5 lessons  in order to have a dance fully choreographed and rehearsed for their big day. 
  • We provide a more detailed breakdown for each package option or our blog post 

We hope you found this article helpful and if you're ready to start your first dance journey, contact us using the form bellow.

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Man and woman dancing their first dance

History of the First Dance

Man and woman dancing their first dance

The first wedding dance is a beautiful celebration that can symbolise the relationship of a couple and a great way to break the ice at the reception. In learning the first dance couples find an opportunity to bond deeper with their partners because it requires teamwork more than other activities. The couples must learn leading and following and steps that might challenge them but in this process they have a good time and the end product symbolises their relationship. 

When they come to our dance studio, couples usually are interested in the history of the first dance. In doing so they learn from us that the first dance is quite a new tradition in the wedding celebration. Even though the exact inception or exactly first first dance is unknown, the origins of this tradition come from after WWI. Prior to this the wedding reception was done in European and American  weddings mostly at the brides house. With limited space, the bride and groom would dine with their guests and socialise without much accent on dancing even though music was played by bands. 

After the war, publications like newspapers started suggesting the newlyweds have their first dance alone as it would be more intimate. This idea caught up easily among newlyweds and it slowly spread throughout Europe and US. At first this was not treated as a performance or seen as mandatory.

As society evolved, post WWII dance halls started to gain popularity especially in England so dancing was seen more as a social skill, an opportunity to show off maybe or just to have fun. The popularity of Ballroom dancing grew all around Europe and US, even more through TV and as celebrities or very rich people started to adopt the first dance for their weddings, regular people slowly followed.

Nowadays, almost every couple have a sort of wedding dance, wether it being a slow romantic first dance, or a more complicated, choreographed dance in which the couple show off their dancing skills and have a blast in doing so. We would recommend thinking of your first dance as a fun way to spend time with your partner, doing an activity together.

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Wedding First Dance FAQs – Part 2

We don't have a song in mind yet. Can we still start the lessons?

Yes that is not a problem. You can start by booking a FREE 30 minutes trial lessons in one of our studios and the teacher will advise you on the song choice or you can browse through our list of songs and make shortlist and discuss it on the lesson. 

What if we don't want anything too complicated or choreographed?

Again, that shouldn’t be any problem. We understand that some might not have any dance experience and just want to learn a few basic steps to look elegant on the floor. We can accommodate your needs and we can teach you basic steps that will make you look good on your big day.

What should we wear for the dance lessons?

For the first lesson you can pretty much wear anything as long as you feel comfortable as you will learn a few steps but nothing too complicated. For the rest of the lessons ideally would be to have some trainers / or formal shoes for men and for women a shoe similar to what you will be wearing on the day. This way you will feel safe when dancing your first dance.

What if we don't have any experience at all?

No worries about that. Almost all of our couples have no experience and experience the same “fear”. We will teach you steps that are easy to learn and start from basic concepts that are easy to understand so you feel comfortable and we will progress towards more ellaborate steps when you are ready. The dance styles we teach are generally slow paced and if you feel that you want a challenge we can up the tempo. With a few lessons you will be able to dance and feel more relaxed.

My husband is scared. How can he be reassured?

Most men are a bit reluctant at first. The first thing to know is that we will start slow. With easy steps and clear instructions you will be dancing in no time. We will make sure you understand first and then practice each step until it becomes a habitual movement for your body.

How far apart should we book the lessons?

Generally we would recommend to have the lessons 1 or 2 weeks apart. This gives you some time to practice in between the lessons so the next time we see each other, we use the time to learn more and perfect the steps.

Should we have lessons longer than 1 hour?

This is an option to be considered if you don’t have much time or if you are close to your wedding day. It can also be an option if you want a longer choreography or a medley of songs. In an hours space we can usually cover about 30 seconds to a minute of choreography.

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bridge and groom dancing

How can I make my First Dance more interesting?

bridge and groom dancing

The First dance can be a challenge, especially if you are a beginner and want to put on a nice show for your guests. The most important thing is to have fun while doing it, so we are here to give you a few tips to make it stand out.  There are plenty of options to chose from, so  we’ll talk about 5 of the most effective.

1. Choosing the right song for you.

When talking about your first dance song, there’s no right or wrong. It’s just the right song for you to feel special on the day and feel that the song choice represents you, your relationship and your partnership. When you find the right song, everything comes naturally. Even though you will dance in front of tens if not hundreds of people, you will feel at ease because you like the song and it has a meaning for you.That is why we believe the song is the first step in making your first dance a success. Whatever your choice is, we can build a bespoke choreography for you to enjoy on the day.

2. Have a band perform the song.

Another great option is to have a band perform your song. This can give another dimension to your dance as the sounds are unique and thus creates a nice atmosphere. Make sure you have the band record the song before you come to the dance lessons , so you can plan your choreography on the exact song. This is very important as you wouldn’t want any unexpected surprises on the day.

3. Mix it up, try a group dance.

In addition to your fist dance, you can have your close friends dace alongside you and make a wonderful group dance. It doesn’t have to be a professional dance , just make it fun and share this moment with your friends. Another option is the Father-Daughter dance which can give you a special feel that you can enjoy with your loved ones.

4. Have your guests join the dance.

Pick a moment in your dance when guests can join in and make it a party. This is a great choice especially if you have a longer song and you don’t want to dance the whole time alone. Another option to involve the guests is to have them join in straight after your dance with a change in the song and mood. A good combination could be you to dance a more romantic dance and have the guests join in on a more rhythmical dance like salsa or r&b. You can always ask your DJ for suggestions.

5.Try some fancy moves.

Definitely a great way to make your dance stand out is to ask your teacher to teach you a few twirls, dips and maybe even a lift. Don’t worry if you have a bigger dress, your teacher will know how to introduce the figures so that you can dance them easily. You can have twirls in any dance as long as thy sync with the music but just so you know more dynamic dances like Jive, Salsa or Swing have more elaborated turns and dips.

Your first dance is a great moment in the wedding reception so why not try one or more of those tricks to make it a memorable one. Pick a song that says something about you, have the band play it, involve the guests or not, but most importantly have fun and enjoy the dance!


wedding first dance

What dance style should I chose as a First Dance?

wedding first dance

Firstly, that's a good question! Let's see the options...

There are many options for your first dance. You have so many dances that would be a great fit for a first dance. You can chose a slow, romantic dance like the English Waltz or Viennese Waltz, or Foxtrot. You could maybe opt for a swing dance style which is a bit faster and can give you a bit of an adrenaline rush being more challenging. Swing Dances are the Jive or East Coast Swing which is slower than jive, thus recommended if you are a beginner. Also a more challenging dance but one of the more spectacular because of its turns, is Salsa. Another option from the latin dances could be Merengue or Bachata. These are Slower than Salsa and popular due to their romantic look. 

If you do not have any dance experience, we would definitely recommend a slower dance but even if you chose a faster, more challenging dance, our instructors will be able to teach you basic fun moves which don’t need very much repetition.


first dance at a wedding

Elegant - Romantic Dance Styles

In  this category we can include the more traditional wedding dances like English Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot and Tango.

Most of them are slower dance styles and for these dances the choreography can be made for a bigger dance floor. The slowest of them all is the English Waltz. This dance style is very easy to learn and requires absolutely no experience. Steps are easy to learn and it helps very much that the music is generally slow.

The Viennese Waltz is usually a more upbeat dance style but in the same time it is very elegant, reminding of the Viennese Balls that still take place in the Austrian capital. A very formal style but a very elegant and still romantic.

The Foxtrot is a bit more playful than the others, usually danced on a faster pace but still holding a solid frame. Frank Sinatra’s songs are generally in this dance style. Again quite romantic but a bit of fun in it as well. 

Tango is a different dance all together. The music is more intense and romantic and the rhythm is staccato, sharp and edgy. You can learn it quite easily because of the clear structure but more complex figures might require some at home practice.


Fun Filled Dance Styles

When we talk about fun dancing pleasure we need to talk about Swing. Swing is a great dance style because the dancers can combine different types of twirls and twists and really engage with one another while changing places and swinging hips around. Definitely a bit more challenging but we had couples learn swing in a few lessons and they managed to actually have fun on the big day. 

Another fun to watch dance style is Salsa. Salsa is all about the hips and arms. The legs have to move constantly to the rhythm but once you learn the basic steps you can combine them and come up with hundreds of variations that actually make sense. If  you like a challenge we really recommend this dance. You’ll have a sensational night!

Merengue and Bachata. Two similar slow dances but filled with romance and sensuality. Compared with Salsa, which is a faster dance, these two can be danced slower and more attention is given to the relationship rather than the steps. When learning these two styles you will mainly focus on listening to the music and being one with your partner. That makes it very easy and you will enjoy it.

Our advice, start with a song you like.

The best advice we can give you when thinking about your first dance is to chose a song/songs that you both like and has a meaning for you. When you have a song you like it’s much easier and pleasant to learn and feel good in doing so. From there we will take over and help you dance and feel fantastic. On the first lesson we will help you decide on the song, taking into consideration your dance experience and song choice and will guide you to learn and have fun in the process.


View of London in the evening

Top Indoor Wedding Venues – Lodon 2020 – 2021

Finding the perfect wedding venue in 2020 can be quite a daunting experience just because there is so much choice out there. So we thought we would give you a hand and pick a few of our favourite indoor wedding venues. We picked these because we think they stand out  from the rest. Have a look, you might find the perfect place fro your special day.

1. Galleries at The Museum of London

This place looks the part in many ways, from the way the reception area fits in with the rest of the museum and the decorations on the walls , to the different lighting.The decorations and different textures on the walls make this venue great for photos. The galleries include the 18th century Pleasure Gardens which makes a romantic and unique venue for a wedding ceremony, civil partnership, wedding reception. 

Space available is around 1100 square meters with disabled access and outside space. Capacity between 150 and 220 for the reception.  

Book a viewing here:


View of London in the evening

We chose this space fro one main reason, it has a great panoramic view over London. Situated near Queen Elisabeth Olympic Park, its easy to access wherever your friends /relatives live and has  space for 160 dining, or 270 standing. Its fit for a medium wedding and equipped with all the necessary comforts like wifi, catering upon request, reception and cloakroom.

Book a viewing here:


For a more traditional, spiritual wedding reception, we would definitely suggest to have a look at Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. This space is a wonderful masterpiece of paining and sculpture.

Opened by Queen Victoria in 1845, the Great Hall, complete with striking fresco, minstrel’s gallery and a ceiling of beautifully worked oak, is described as one of the most impressive surviving buildings of its kind in London. It represents a part of London’s history and something worth considering if you are looking for a special venue. 

Book a viewing here:

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Top 10 First Dance Songs – Summer 2019

Summer is in full swing and if you haven’t made up your mind yet about your first dance song, here are a few suggestions to help you.

No.1: Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight

This one is a slow song, that we personally like. It’s slow, it’s easy to dance to and you can follow the lyrics to give you the rhythm. Definitely one to be considered if you want a romantic first dance.

No. 2: Ray la Montagne – You are the best thing

This song is so rhythmical and so easy to dance to. The trumpet gives it a nice fresh sound and also the lyrics are very relatable. It’s not a cliche song but its romantic nevertheless. 

No. 3: Dean Martin – That’s Amore

Classical Italian song for a summer wedding.  You can have fun on this one playing with the different rhythms. Even though it’s suited to a Viennese Waltz dance style, you can have more steps combined for this song. Have fun listening! 

No. 4: Calum Scott & Leona Lewis – You are the reason

One of the most romantic songs we’ve ever heard here at First Dance London. It’s very slow and very easy to learn to dance to, that’s why many couples like this song. You could consider having it as your first dance song if you don’t have very much experience with dancing and pull some nice elegant moves.

No. 5: Ed Sheran – Thinking out loud 

Ed Sheran knows how to put that special love feeling into words and songs. One of his best and well known songs goes into this summer’s  top because it genuinely good. We had many couples asking for choreography on this song because of the dancing moves in the clip. Is this your song also?

No. 6: Jason Mraz – Lucky

This song has got the rhythm, feel and fun to its side. A great song to start a party. Starts slowly, goes higher and you can mark the highlights with lifts and dips and in between just the two of you, dancing to a great song.

No. 7: Frank Sinatra & Count Basie – Fly me to the Moon

This song comes from 1954, the era of great hats and foxtrot rhythms. If you have a retro themed party this song and its trumpets are for you. Have fun and dance a slow foxtrot on this song like they used to. 

No. 8: Jack Johnson – Better Together

Another slow foxtrot style. Very popular this summer amongst our clients. It’s rhythmical but has a deep message and that makes it one of our favourite songs as well. Enjoy dancing!

No. 9: The Wood Brothers – Luckiest Man

“People say i’m the luckiest man”. We love the lyrics of this song and the way it’s played, very simple with just the guitar and the voice. Makes a very good choice for a simple chic wedding amongst friends and loved people.

No. 10: Sixpence None the richer – Kiss Me 

The song title says it all. You know it’s a good first dance song the moment you hear the chorus. Style wise its fitted for a swing, more alert dance but that doesn’t mean the figures and steps will be difficult. You can have lots of fun with simple jive steps and twist and twirl on this song all night long.  

We hope you enjoyed our first dance songs selection and hope to see you in one of our locations for a great time learning your first dance. Until then, keep on loving each other and keep on dancing!

Feel free to share this article with your friends that are getting married. Leave us a comment if you have other first dance song suggestions. We’re here to make your first dance an unforgettable memory!


First Dance Tips

Make your first dance an unforgettable experience

The First Dance London team has worked with numerous couples and throughout the years we have learned a lot about how to best prepare your wedding. In this article we would like to share with you some tips that we hope will guide you into making your wedding dance an unforgettable experience. 



  1. Have your song picked at your first lesson or bring your top 2 or 3 songs for the teacher to help you choose the best one for your dance. Make the most of the time in the studio as it is very valuable and you want to spend it wisely. If you haven’t decided yet on a favourite song, have a look on this list of songs.
  2. Try to keep your wedding dance around 3 minutes.This way your guests will be engaged and entertained the entire time. Keep it sweet, entertaining and impressive! 


  1. Important for the ladies! Practice with the wedding shoes if possible. Dancing in heels is totally different from dancing in flats. Also let your teacher know if your wedding dress will restrict your movement in any way. If you have any decorations on the upper part that might restrict your hands from rising, or if your train is very long. Best is always to have a photo of your dress with you to show your dance teacher.
  2. Take videos! This is a great  dance practice tool and often used by our clients. Having a video with the steps learned will help you remind every detail and will make your practice much much easier.
  3. Dancing is about enjoying each other’s company. Be supportive to each other and remember that you are in this together. This is your time to connect and enjoy. 

The Performance 

  1. Remember that no one else knows your wedding dance routine , so even if you make a mistake it’s ok. Have fun and smile.
  2. This is your moment together with your partner, relax and enjoy. 

Preparing your wedding dance it’s not only about performing your first dance on your wedding day, it’s also about enjoying the dance lessons and the whole process. It’s a great chance to spend time together with your future husband or wife, dancing on one of your favourite songs. 

One of our clients performing their La La Land Inspired Wedding Dance Choreography.

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Wedding First Dance FAQs

When is the right time to start preparing our first dance?

Depending on your ability, if you have dance experience or not, and just if you feel confident, we would recommend to strat at least one month before the wedding. In the article Wedding First Dance Lessons – What to expect & how many is enough?, we address the planning of the lessons so you can figure out how much time you have and we recommend the first few lessons to be closer together and the last ones to be left for closer to the wedding.

We have a few songs in mind. How should we decide?

Firstly, our teachers recommend you to chose the song you both like. That is the most important aspect. If it’s a choice between a rhythmical and a slower song and you like both, we could suggest to start on the slower one, get the mood going and then surprise everyone with some cool moves on the second one. A good combination is Waltz and Salsa for example. We have couples that opt to dance for a minute or so on the waltz or blues song, and then break the rhythm with salsa. It can be Merengue, Bachata, Jive/Swing, important is to like the songs. We’ll take care of the choreography.

Where do you teach?

In this aspect we are quite flexible. We have two teaching locations in Mayfair – London, one studio in Kennington – Oval Station and another one in Dulwich near North Dulwich train station. All our studios are located within walking distance from tube or train stations so they are easy to access. They have top of the line sound equipment and you can opt for total privacy in your dance lesson. Also we have the option to teach you in the privacy of your home. All you need to do is tell us in the contact form and we can arrange that for you. One of our dance instructors will come to you and help you with your first dance choreography.

Wedding couple dancing their first dance in black and white.

What packages of lessons do you offer?

We have Package options depending on the studio you chose to have your lessons in. Please see the complete price list and studio locations here. We also offer a free 30 Minutes introduction lesson for Dulwich and Kennington studios. For other studios the Trial lesson option is priced at £15 for 30 minutes.

What should we expect from the 30 Minutes Trial Lesson?

The trial lesson is for you to duscuss with the dance teacher about the following: wedding location, space on the dance floor, details about the dress, shoes, if you have any special requirements and so on. If you are not sure yet on the song choice our teachers will advise you on the best option. They will make a personalised plan around your schedule and book the lessons. You can read more about the trial lesson in our blog 30 Minutes Trial Lesson – WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?

What is the duration of a dance lesson?

The normal dance session lasts 60 minutes. But there are times when we have couples with less time until the wedding and we would suggest to have longer sessions. In this case we would recommend you to have 1.5 h sessions, or depending on the circumstances, even 2h sessions. Longer than that we believe it’s not productive anymore.

Wedding couple dancing their first dance in an elegant venue

What is the booking procedure?

We usually take the bookings through our contact form. We thought it to be simple and efficient with relevant options to chose from and a space for your requests.  Also we are available via phone from Monday to Friday – 8 AM to 10 PM. Please feel free to contact us however is more convenient for you.

Do you teach group dances - bride & bridesmaids /groom & groomsmen?

Yes we do. Please contact us and let us know about your group and we would be happy to help you.

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