by Amber McNeil
The Bride and Groom’s first dance is always a soft spot among wedding spectators. While it is one of the favorite moments for wedding guests, it can be a potentially stressful three minutes for the bride and groom. To help ease some of the stress, I spoke with Amber Sanders (yes, we’re both Amber) a 3 year instructor and Guest Director at Arthur Murray Dance Studio downtown. Amber gave me the in’s and out’s of learning to boogie with your honey. She has been dancing since she was a little girl in the south suburbs of Chicago, loves dancing ballroom and Cha Cha, and supremely enjoys teaching Rhumba and Salsa. Amber even spent five years as a dancer on a cruise ship! She has done it all in the way of dance and said the emergence in the last 2 years with brides and grooms taking lessons has been a lot of fun for her professionally.
Amber’s best advice is to start early. Based on the couple’s experience the best time to start dance lessons is 4-6 months before the wedding day. This will give the couple a chance to really get to know their song and steps and be relaxed when the big day comes. The average couple comes about once a week to keep the music fresh in their mind. This way, they are not playing catch up and relearning the dance at each lesson. Also, by starting early, the couple is more than ready in the couple weeks leading up to the wedding and can concentrate on other last minute details.
The first dance is ‘the best part of wedding planning’, according to Amber. It is a chance for the bride and groom to really work together as a couple in a long term setting. It’s also a fun environment to blow off some steam at the end of the day. Dance lessons can give the couple something really great to do together and look forward to during the week. It’s also the gift that keeps on giving. Dancing is a skill that can be used for the rest of the bride and groom’s life and can be continued well after that first dance has come and gone!
As far as picking a song is concerned, it’s very personalized depending on the couple. Bride and groom want to make sure to pick a song that has an emotional backing and means something to them as a couple. Amber and Arthur Murray make sure to work with each couple on an individualized basis and have a real conversation around the first dance. They want to make sure they know if there is a DJ versus a band, the timeline of the dance, and what actually made the couple pick the song! They want to make sure the first dance is not just your run of the mill cookie cutter dance.
Amber’s answer: Footloose. I knew I liked this woman!
Get some more wedding dance advice at the Arthur Murray Wedding Homepage.