Is it worth the time, effort, and money to hire an instructor for your first wedding dance?

My friends are getting married soon and have decided they want to do a 'first dance' at their wedding. My buddy has never danced a day in his life, so I'm concerned it's going to be a pretty heavy lift. His wife isn't a huge dancer either.

They've been looking at dance instructors to come to their house and teach them.


I'm curious if the money is worth spending. This could cost them $500+ to do right and will the memories make the investment worth it? It also seems to be stressing my friend out immensely.

  Topic Dance Subtopic For Weddings Tags first dance weddings dance instructor dance lessons
4 Months 2 Answers 431 views
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Peter Yeargin

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Answers ( 2 )

  1. First off: Yes!  This can absolutely be done, on this budget. It won't necessarily be easy, and it might be stressful, but what price a once-in-a-lifetime memory? 

    That said, when I think about the return on investment in a "first dance," I have some questions:

    Does one or both want the experience of a first dance, or is this checking a box on someone's "how to wedding" list?
    Are there expectations or external (family) pressure for them to do a first dance?
    Do they have reasonable expectations for the performance?
    Are they equally excited about spending the time learning together?
    Because your wedding is a lifetime experience, you invest in it in ways you wouldn't normally. The first dance is a physical representation of the union that was just formalized through the civil/religious ceremony, and consequently remains a key part of American wedding traditions despite a massive decline in partner dancing generally. Spending $500 to ensure that the first three minutes of the wedding reception is special and successful can absolutely be worth it! 

    There are some concerns, though. $500 does not buy a lot of in-house instruction. Four or maybe five hours?  That is not a lot of help to gain a skill that neither of them has mastered before performing in front of friends and family.  Can it be enough?  Absolutely!  If they have a good teacher who has worked with a lot of wedding couples and are willing to practice between lessons, then four or five lessons is enough for most people to Foxtrot or Waltz around the ballroom.  The secret of ballroom dancing is that it is easy to learn the basics.  But to be comfortable you must practice!  If they commit to four or five fifteen-minute practice sessions per week - where they review what they learned and get used to moving in time to their wedding song, then it is totally doable. No one is expecting Fred and Ginger!  :) 

    Another concern is practice space. Do they have a 15' x 15' space they can clear out for dancing?  Lots of people don't, and without enough room to stretch your legs you are going to feel very different when you get to the reception.  For some dances you don't need that much room (Rumba is probably the most popular "spot" wedding dance, followed by swing) but for many of them you'll want to be able to move around.

    The other end of the spectrum from hiring an instructor and learning a dance is going on the floor and just easily moving in time to the music.  A good friend of mine who loved dancing married someone who didn't dance at all. For their first dance they just held each other and swayed to the music, and it was beautiful.  Lots of couples do this, and it can be just as beautiful a moment. Some people might feel self-conscious out in front of everyone just doing the "clutch and sway" and a few lessons would make the experience better.  Others would find adding one more thing to learn and practice stressful and would like to just have a relaxing moment together with their new spouse in the middle of the celebration.  There is no "right" answer.

    The most important thing is that, whatever they choose to do, it contributes to the memory they are creating in a positive way. 

    Accepted UTC 2020-09-15 12:35 AM 0 Comments
  2. There's one simple example as an answer, and that's the tv show Dancing with the Stars.

    Most of the celebrities who participated in the show had two appendages lower and two appendages higher, a body in-between that dared to move right to left in synchrony. Meaning, they had only left feet early on. Many of those same "most" also became a wonder to behold on the dance floor, performing intricate dance steps, achieving a sense of grace and fluidity on the dance floor - dancing in a way their bodies could never imagine. 

    Yes, it's absolutely worth taking dance lessons before the wedding. It is a challenging experience to be sure, but one that will result in a first dance that will be memorable and unforgettable. And it will leave you with an ability to dance with your mate for your lives, a skill that most people, most couples, envy. 

    But just a personal note from a romantic fool - I don't know of a woman alive who wouldn't dream of her partner taking them in their arms and gracefully dancing across a floor like Fred Astaire did with Ginger Rogers. It is wonderful and lovely to be able to dance freely with a partner - it takes you on a journey into the realm of dreams. 

    UTC 2020-09-15 12:43 AM 2 Comments

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