You're getting married in a few months, and unlike some of your friends, you value convention and have planned a very traditional wedding. Everything is all set, including the music for the ceremony and reception. You can't wait for that first dance. You even managed to convince your fiancé to enroll in a dance class so the two of you can glide across the floor with ease. Of course, you want to do the first dance the traditional way, so here is a reminder of who dances with whom during that event.
During the first dance, the bride and groom traditionally take to the floor alone and dance to their favorite song. After a few bars of music, the father of the bride cuts in on the groom to dance with his daughter, while the groom asks the mother of the bride to dance. The number of couples on the dance floor now numbers two.
The groom's parents then join the couples on the dance floor, with the father of the groom cutting in on the father of the bride to dance with the bride and the groom asking his mother to dance after the father of the bride cuts in on him to dance with his wife. The number of couples on the dance floor now numbers three.
At some point, the groom's parents will dance with each other and exchange partners with the bride's parents, while the best man dances with the bride and the groom dances with the maid of honor. Finally, the entire wedding party will make their way onto the dance floor and the rest of the guests will be invited to join them.
Traditionally, this is how the first and sometimes the second dances go. Keep in mind that you can switch it up. You can dance one song entirely with your groom, the next with your parents and the last with your wedding party. For guests itching to get onto the dance floor, you might want to limit the initial dances to one or two, and to ensure everyone knows where they should be during those dances, you might want to have the DJ announce the exchange of partners.
Once everyone is on the dance floor, you can have various special dances. You can have a dollar dance, during which anyone who dances with you and the groom donates a dollar or more toward your honeymoon or some other purpose. You can also have an anniversary dance, where all married couples get out on the dance floor and leave as instructed until the couple that has been married the longest remains.
The options for dancing at a wedding are limitless. Don't be afraid to shake things up a bit after you have completed the traditional dances.
Wedding music selections
By Rhonda Addy
The to-do list for your wedding is slowly shrinking. You've bought your dress, you've booked the florist and the caterer, and you've selected the invitations. You still need to decide what music to use during the ceremony and at the reception. Here are some suggestions to help you with this task.
The location of your wedding ceremony may affect the type of music you can have. If you are not having your ceremony in a religious setting, you can probably have whatever type of music you want, as long as it is tasteful. If you are having your ceremony in a religious setting, you may encounter some restrictions regarding the type of music you can have. Secular music may be allowed before the ceremony while the guests are being seated but not during it. It is a good idea to check with the church for guidelines regarding the type of music you can and cannot use.
The length of your wedding ceremony will determine the number of music selections you need. On average, you will need one to four. There is a good chance the church may not allow recorded music, so you may need to hire an instrumentalist or a vocalist. If you decide to go with an instrumentalist, check with the church to see if you are restricted to using their organist or pianist or can bring in someone from the outside. If you decide to go with a vocalist, keep in mind that there may be restrictions as to when they can sing. Again, you will need to check with the church for guidelines regarding recorded and live music.
When choosing songs, you should look for ones that mean something to you. Ask your instrumentalist or vocalist for suggestions and page through their sheet music. If you find some songs you like, have them play or sing the selections. If they don't have anything that works for you, go to a store that sells sheet music and browse through their selections. If you positively can't find anything, you may want to hire a songwriter/composer to create something just for you (just make sure you give them plenty of time).
Once you have your ceremony music under control, you can concentrate on your reception music. You will probably have a diverse group at your reception, so you want music that will appeal to everyone and guarantee they have fun. There are two major choices for musical entertainment: a DJ or a band. Which one should you choose?
In order to make your choice, talk with various DJs and bands. Find out about their music choices, schedules and fees. DJs are generally less expensive than bands. See if you can drop by a wedding they are working at. That way, you can see them in action and find out how the crowd reacts to them. Ask for references and follow up on them.
The location and length of your wedding reception may affect your choice. The area may not be large enough for a band and a dance floor. There may also be some restrictions on the type of music allowed. The average reception lasts about four hours. Can you imagine having to play an instrument longer than that? Having a DJ would be the wiser choice if you are planning a long reception.
You want a DJ or band that is flexible and willing to work with you on your music selections. You want a performer that can keep the fun going and the audience motivated. You want a performer that can adapt to changes in the crowd's mood and keep the reception classy and memorable.
When booking musical entertainment for your wedding ceremony and reception, you should do it early. It is not unusual for musicians to be booked a year in advance. The really good ones could be booked farther ahead than that. Happy hunting!