Types of Wedding Dances

Keep the Party Going with Traditional Wedding Dances

First dance
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Traditionally, wedding receptions are filled with music and dancing as loved ones joyously celebrate their happiness for the bride and groom. Most wedding reception timelines incorporate structured dances that honor special loved ones and encourage the guests to get out on the dance floor.

Traditional Order of Wedding Dances

For each dance, couples need to choose a meaningful song and provide the playlist to the DJ.

In some cases, you may need to provide a copy of the music. So that guests do not grow bored, limit each song to two minutes. Also, there are no requirements for anyone to dance, so it is important that you are sensitive to the feelings of any relatives who are uncomfortable in the limelight.

  • Bride and Groom
  • Parents
  • Wedding Party
  • Guests

First Dance

Dating back the era of Victorian balls, wedding etiquette suggests that the bride and groom should dance first. As hosts of the event, it is their responsibility to kick off the festivities. Many couples head directly to the dance floor after making their grand entrance into the venue, where the DJ presents them to the guests for the first time as husband and wife. Some choose to break up the dinner hour by entertaining the guests between courses while others wait until the meal concludes.

Just like centuries ago, the first dance between the bride and groom is one of the most anticipated moments of the event, both by the guests and the newlyweds.

The formal yet easy to learn waltz and foxtrot are quickly being replaced by energetic salsas, honkey-tonk two-steps, and funky hip-hop routines. Wedding dance classes, which are a great way to build confidence in your dancing skills, have skyrocketed for all styles in recent years. Still, many couples opt for a simple, swaying slow dance as they get a few blissful minutes alone in each other's arms.

Parent Dances

Traditionally, the bride dances with her father immediately afterward, although some couples to choose to wait. With the ever-changing face of families, a bride might also invite a grandfather, step-father, uncle or father-in-law to join her. If she wants to dance with more than one person, it is best to have the next person cut in, although two separate dances are acceptable.

The groom can dance with his mother at the same time or immediately after the father-daughter dance. Parents and grandparents on both sides of the family should be invited to the dance floor next. This is also the perfect time for the groom to share a few moments with his new mother-in-law.

Wedding Party Dances

Typically the next round of dances is reserved for the wedding party, including the ushers, flower girl, and ring bearer. The groomsmen should pair up with the bridesmaids while the best man dances with the bride and the maid of honor dances with the groom. Many couples opt for upbeat group dances, such as the Electric Slide or Cupid Shuffle. Either halfway through the song or as soon as it is over, have the DJ invite the rest of the guests to join the festivities.

Cultural Dances

The money dance is an important part of the wedding reception in many cultures throughout the U.S., South America, and Europe.

In exchange for a few dollars, every guest gets the opportunity to privately congratulate the bride and groom. The dance usually takes place toward the end of the event, after cutting the cake and tossing the bouquet but before the guests begin to leave. Many couples save it for their last dance, right before they head out for their honeymoon.

Other cultural dances often occur throughout the reception, such as the Chinese lion dance, Scottish Circassian Circle, and the Greek Kaslamantiano. These can involve all the guests or hired performers.