Music and dancing have been a major part of our western culture’s festivities, celebrations and special occasions for centuries and this tradition continues to present day.Historically, the dancing at a society ball would be kicked off by the person’s the function honoured or the highest ranking personages in attendance (often royalty or peerage) and this tradition continues today at weddings in the form of the First Dance for the bride and groom; they being the ‘royalty’ of the event.
Also known as the Bridal Waltz, Wedding Dance or Bridal Dance, the First Dance is a first for two reasons, one is that it is the traditional first dance of the newlywed couple as husband and wife and the other that it was traditionally the first dance of the dancing segment of the evening.
It is often called the Bridal ‘Waltz’ because of the influence of Queen Victoria and her wedding to Prince Albert, she was a keen ballroom dancer and the Waltz was the latest trendy dance at that time. As a result, the first dance for the bridal couple at a wedding then became known as the Bridal Waltz in aristocratic circles and then the trend continued to ‘commoners’ weddings and eventually became the norm . (As an interesting piece of trivia, it was also Queen Victoria that started the white wedding gown tradition.)
Regardless of its history however, your wedding is a day of ceremony and celebration and nearly all Australian weddings include music and dancing as a major part of the reception.
Whilst the majority of weddings follow the tradition of the bride and groom leading off the first dance or performing a Bridal Waltz, there are no longer strict requirements or expectations of the type of dance done, nor the music used for the dance and on any given day one could expect anything from a traditional waltz to a modern jive or Latin dance to a funky or even funny, hip hop, disco or anything you can dream up.
Traditionally, the First Dance was the actual first dance of the evening, but nowadays it can be that or simply the newly married couple’s first dance as man and wife and can be danced at any time of the wedding day.
A recent popular trend is to even dance down the aisle at the wedding ceremony, however this dance is really suited only for the more extroverted personalities who want to set the party flavour of their wedding day right from the start. The ‘wedding entrance dance’ is more popular, where the bride and groom are last to arrive at the wedding reception and they dance into the reception room from the door to the dance floor. Also a great choice if you want to start the reception off with a bang.
However, it is still the majority choice to dance the First Dance as the first dance of the evening that follows the speeches and cake cutting help at the end of the main meal.
Because it is a traditional moment of most weddings, many couples take dancing lessons before their wedding so that they can look nice as they dance their First Dance as husband and wife in front of all their guests.
Although the First Dance in one form or another is a traditional part of a wedding there are no longer any firm requirements or expectations regarding the music, the style of dancing, the duration or even when it should be performed.
It is however, along with speeches, cake cutting, bouquet throwing etc, one of the generally expected key moments of your wedding day where all eyes are upon the bride and groom so it should be considered in your wedding planning and preparations made for lessons or at least practice together so that you dance the way you want at this moment on your wedding day.