Today we feature a guest post from Mister Kanish. Read on for some valuable top tips if you’re thinking about first dance etiquette and song choices!
Hello, I’m Chris from wedding band Mister Kanish and being in a wedding band has meant I have seen and performed hundreds of first dances. I’ve also talked to loads of brides and grooms-to-be who are nervous about dancing in front of all of their friends or have no idea what song to pick.
I think the first dance is one of the most important parts of the wedding day for a number of reasons. If you don’t have an idea for a first dance song, or are contemplating not having one, I urge you to give it a little more thought. It’s a great ice breaker to move the party from meal to massive party, and 9 times out of 10 the dance floor gets fuller faster when there is a first dance, compared to when there isn’t.
But what if you hate dancing or suck at it (I know I do) and don’t want to dance with everyone watching??
Despite the soppiness of it, a slow first dance is probably your best bet if you are a little worried about dancing. If you’ve got moves, and you want to show them off, something faster can definitely work.
The thing I have learnt, is that your guests won’t judge! They are happy just to see you and your new spouse have a little chat for 3 or 4 minutes while you sway from side to side – which is what most first dances end up being.
Why do I think it’s so important?
Weddings are frantic. People you haven’t seen in ages want to talk to you, everyone asks how you’ve been, you might have last minute plans to put into fruition, or speeches to worry about. Over the course of the day you hardly get a moment to yourself, let alone with your new husband or wife, so these 3 or 4 minutes spent together can be a welcome break. A time to sit back and think, “Woah, I’m married to this person,” before the day is over. First dances are a great way to put a momentary pause on a wedding day.
How do we pick a song?
When we got married my wife and I didn’t have a song that was “our song”. We didn’t have a clue what to play for our first dance. We both love music, and there are so many tunes that represent highlights in our relationship. We just went for something that was fun and had good lyrics – You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates.
But having spoken about it since if we had done it again we’d have picked The Cure Just Like Heaven. We both think we’d spend a lot more time thinking about it so I’ve come up with a sure fire way of picking your first dance song (which a number of couples have tested so I know it works).
My advice for picking your first dance is as follows…
Both write down separate lists of at least 10 songs without conferring. Songs that make you think of your other half when you listen to them. The ones that give you goose bumps, or send those tiny little hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. These don’t necessarily have to be songs you think the other person will like (usually there’ll be a common interest anyway), just ones you’re happy to admit to yourself that you like (and maybe even one or two you’d never admit to liking – you may be surprised).
Then put the lists together without judgement. If there’s one similarity – bingo – you have your first dance!!
If there’s a few then make a playlist, and have a listen together. Listen to the words. Do you agree with the sentiment? Maybe google the meaning of the lyrics. It’s always worth checking the theme behind a song. I remember someone asking for Every Breath You Take as a first dance thinking it was a lovely love song. Actually it’s about obsession, and jealousy, and stalking!! Uh oh!
Get your band to arrange something!
If you’ve managed to pick a fast song, and aren’t too keen on dancing in front of your guests, then see if your band can make an arrangement for you. Lots of our acts are more than happy to make a slowed arrangement of your first dance – Laura, and I asked Mister Kanish to slow down the first verse and chorus of You Make My Dreams, and it was great.
Here’s a list of popular first dances we’ve played in the past. It may give you some inspiration:
You Are The Best Thing – Ray Lamontagne
Romeo and Juliette – Dire Straits
It Must Be Love – Madness
Keep On Movin’ – 5ive
One Day Like This – Elbow
You’re My Best Friend – Queen
Lover Of The Light – Mumford and Sons
Dancing In The Dark – Bruce Springsteen
Mountains – Biffy Clyro
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Your Body Is A Wonderland – John Mayer
Mean To Me – Brett Eldridge
In the end if you’re really not keen on having a first dance that’s ok. But if it’s due to a fear of dancing alone in front of your friends you can always convince the best man or bridesmaids to join you with their partners, then the dancefloor’s already full for the band’s first set.
I hope you’ve found this useful. If you need help choosing a great band to play at your wedding please get in touch. Either pick us or we can recommend lots of other acts for you!
Bass / Double Bass