When I got married, my (now) husband and I decided fairly early on which elements of the big day were important to us and which ones were lower priority. Straightaway I knew that, for me, flowers and cars were low priority because I don’t know anything about either and didn’t feel that our enjoyment of the day would be affected by having a particular set of wheels, or real roses rather than foam.
Now, I appreciate I might have lost half of you already because you may love real flowers and feel passionately that your big day would be more enjoyable if you had the real thing rather than fake. Or maybe classic cars are your thing, and you’ve always imagined arriving in a particular set of wheels. I do get it – we all want different things.
As a wedding dance teacher, I obviously feel that the first dance is an important element of the day but I know that some people don’t. Perhaps you’re not going to have one at all or perhaps you will be happy just holding each other and swaying to the music for a few minutes before friends and family join you on the dance floor – no problem. That’s your style. You do you.
However I will admit to feeling dismay when people say that they are going to have a first dance but instead of having lessons, they are going to teach themselves some steps by watching videos online. Unless you have some dance experience and you’re just looking for choreography ideas then you really need someone there to give you tips and corrections that suit you as a couple. Even if you only have one lesson to help you feel comfortable on the floor.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy if that’s not your style. Online tutorials would have everyone looking like they’re trying out for Strictly with a full on ballroom hold, but that doesn’t suit everyone. Couples are different heights and sizes, and the space they have and the clothes and shoes they’ll be wearing will impact on what moves are practical. Some people want a more laid back vibe that suits their style. Others want it to be funny or quirky. It’s not one-size-fits-all.
Also, having constructive feedback as you go along is invaluable. I have seen a few first dances where the couple had replicated moves from YouTube but they had little things like the hand placement slightly off, which then resulted in clunky turns and uncomfortable positions. If they’d only asked a dance teacher, they could have been advised to make just one or two very simple changes to make the whole thing flow more smoothly.
This brings me to another story about my wedding. I didn’t want a make up artist as I wanted to do it myself, but I did want some tips from a professional so I booked on a half day course on eye make up techniques. Sadly, the professionals there spent the whole time telling me it was a mistake to do this and trying to encourage me to book a make up artist rather than just helping me improve, which left me feeling deflated.
I see parallels with this and those who might not want a full-on routine but might want some advice on hold and timing etc, and I promise that if anyone books me for just one session to give them a few tips then that is exactly what I will do. I won’t spend the whole session trying to talk them into getting a fully choreographed routine or tell them that their own efforts look amateurish – I will spend the time they have booked with me giving them tips to look and feel more comfortable.
I will promise one other thing as well: it won’t be as scary as you might think it will be. Popular culture always portrays dance teachers as either terrifying, stick-wielding old witches or prancing luvvie-dahling creatures but most of us are quite normal really. We enjoy our work and want you to enjoy your lessons so we’ll have a laugh and we’ll work in a way that suits you.
If you’d like to find out more about wedding dance lessons with me then please see my dedicated Forever Wedding Dance site http://www.weddings.dted.co.uk