Posts Tagged ‘amber mcneil’
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.
By Amber McNeil
Somebody pass the Kleenex! It is that time in the wedding reception when Father and Daughter come together for their ‘final parting’. In history, the Father/Daughter dance was done first ending with the the bride being ‘given away’ to the groom for the couple’s first dance. Like in the wedding ceremony, the passing off is symbolizing the bride’s move from the family home to the groom’s.
I was originally going to have this story be similar to the one I did on the Mother/Son Dance by focusing on the best songs. Once I started talking to people around the office, I realized it’s much more complex that pounding out a Top 10 List. Fig DJ after Fig DJ kind of gave me a ‘HMPH’ and said….”My favorite, Father/Daughter song? REALLY? Wow, that’s a hard one”. As Fig‘s owner Michele Gustin pointed out to me , “It’s really hard to say what is ‘the best’, it’s more individualized to father and daughter’s ‘own thing’ they have to share”.
Really what makes this dance special is the way the father and daughter work to make this part of the evening interesting. Unlike the Mother/Son dance, which is usually set to traditional songs or DJ suggestions, the Father/Daughter dance is a a little more tailored to the father and daughter. Dancing doesn’t even have to be involved! If dad is a fall-er down-er instead of a mover or a shaker, there are other options to appease the fans. There are toasts, games and non-dancing songs that can help take the pressure off. Michele says they have seen it all – from football throwing and fight song dancing to the real tear jerkers.
The same rules apply as the Mother/Son dance: Be relaxed, make sure it’s a song that means something to father and daughter, and HAVE FUN! It’s really a time for the bride and her dad to share old memories and make some new ones.
What did I actually get out of our DJs you ask?
By Amber McNeil
I sat down with Fig DJ’s Megan Taylor and Erik Friedly and asked them their best Mother/Son advice.
When picking a Mother/Son song, first BE COMFORTABLE! There aren’t many songs out there that are written in a tone that would best suit the Mother/Song genre. DJ Erik suggests to “ask your mom what she would like to dance to, or what her favorite songs are”. It’s also one point in the wedding preparation that can include mom and use her gentle suggestions!
I asked DJ Megan her best advice and she answered, “Listen to the lyrics and make sure it’s not sexual”. There are sure to be a number of memorable moments at the reception, but and awkward jaunt with mom might not be the memory you are going for. That’s advice we all can use!
About half the weddings Fig attends include the Mother/Son dance. DJ Erik said this is a point in the reception to “take a traditional moment and not make it traditional.” There are great ways to use this moment to couple with the Father/Daughter dance or invite everyone else to come boogie about half-way through the song. This includes your guests, but also helps take the pressure off the groom and mom – especially if they’re not dancers!
It doesn’t have to be planned out, either. There might just be a song that is perfect, but you don’t want to be singled out. Have this song in the DJs repertoire and when it comes during the night, whisk mom out on the dance floor and cut a rug.
DJ Megan shared with me, “I just did a combination of the father/daughter and mother/son “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee and it was very cute.” Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your DJ. This isn’t your DJ’s first rodeo, and they have seen good dances, bad dances, and all the goo in between. They have ideas for song and inter-mingling that will help make the Mother/Son dance as smooth as the rest of the day.
Fig DJ Best List:
Grooms have come a long way since their toga donning ancestors of Rome. Unless the Roman groom was traveling to far off lands to capture his bride, he was not actually required to do much in ways of wedding preparation. ‘In fact, if he was too hung over to be able to get there in person the wedding could proceed with just a letter from him – witnessed, signed and sealed – giving his vows in writing.’ When and if he did bother to show up, he would simply have to slap on his best smelling toga for the occasion.