Why You Should Take Wedding Dance Lessons Before the Big Day

Get ready to put on your dancing shoes.
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
by
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Oct 26, 2022

The first dance is one of the most common wedding traditions. And if you're planning on doing one, you might be nervous because you think you have two left feet or don't like the idea of being in the spotlight. Luckily, there's a way to combat that. Wedding dance lessons minimize your nerves and offer numerous other benefits to your pre- and post-marital life. Read below to learn everything you need to know about wedding dance classes and why they are worth adding to your wedding budget.

Commonly Asked Questions About Wedding Dance Lessons

Before we get into why you should take wedding dance lessons, let's address the logistics of this fun prewedding activity. We answer all the most common wedding dance class-related questions, from how long your dance song should be to what you should wear to your sessions.

How much are wedding dance lessons?

The cost of your dance lessons depends on how many sessions you take and the experience of your desired dance company. Kalli Siamidou, the owner of Wedding Dance Vows, says wedding first dance lessons can range anywhere from $80 to $180 per hour. Elizabeth Marberry, owner and founder of Wedding Dance Coach, recommends couples budget around $750, which typically gets them about five lessons, for their wedding dance lessons. If you want to take dance lessons and save money, Siamidou suggests you start with group classes since they are less expensive, then switch to private lessons as it gets closer to your wedding day.

If you're considering getting dance lessons for the father-daughter or mother-son dance in addition to your first dance lessons, Marberry says it's worth investing in a dance package. This way you, your partner and your parents can take advantage of the classes.

The Knot Expert Tip: If you want to save money, inquire if your desired dance company offers discounts for couples who book a certain number of classes.

When should I book my wedding dance lessons?

Marberry recommends couples book their wedding dance lessons three to four months before their wedding. "If it's in the middle of peak wedding season, it's always better to book at the five-month mark." Marberry says scheduling your wedding dance classes three months before your big day is the sweet spot. "You want the movement to stay fresh in your mind and your body. You don't want to learn the moves and then sit on it for a year." Another reason couples should schedule their lessons three months in advance is so they have scheduling flexibility. This way, there's room for work, an unexpected illness or other prewedding events.

Where can I book wedding dance lessons?

Book your wedding dance lessons using The Knot Marketplace. You can find dance instructors in the city of your choice, look at reviews from real couples and request a quote through the site. Make sure you thoroughly read through each dance company's Marketplace page and official website to find the best instructor for your dance needs.

Should I pick my first dance song before I book?

Yes, it's extremely helpful to have your song picked out before your wedding first dance lessons. If you and your partner are having trouble choosing a song, bring up to three options so your dance instructor can help you decide which song works best for the type of dance style you want. You can also do a song mash-up of two tunes you like. No matter which option you choose, send something to your dance instructor before the first lesson. "This way on the day of the first class there's a clear plan on what you will be dancing to, and the choreographer can start making their magic happen," Siamidou says.

While in the song-choosing process, Siamidou urges couples to "make a list of the songs that you love––songs that are meaningful to you and your relationship. Maybe it's a song that played on your first date or a song that has lyrics that speak to your heart. A good music choice is key for making your dance special to you."

How long should my first dance song be?

"I recommend no longer than three and a half minutes, otherwise, it just goes on too long. You want to keep your guests engaged and entertained the entire time," Marberry says. The three-and-a-half-minute max includes song mash-ups too. It's best to get your song professionally edited if you're doing a mash-up, so ask your DJ or dance company if they can do it for you.

How many wedding dance classes do I need to take?

"Most of our couples do anywhere from five to 10 lessons. I would say the average number is five lessons, and they'll book them one to two weeks apart. This gives couples adequate time to go home and practice in between their lessons," Marberry explains.

What should I wear to wedding dance lessons?

"In the first few sessions, I suggest wearing comfortable clothes and shoes––usually athletic wear. Later on, I suggest that the bride wears shoes similar to the ones they'll be wearing on the wedding day, and I also provide them with a practice skirt. After we know the whole choreography, we want to practice dancing with circumstances being the closest they will have on their wedding day," Siamidou says. Practicing in your dress shoes, heels and wedding day outfit during the dance lessons will result in you being more confident on the dance floor on the big day.

The Knot Expert Tip: If you're wearing a dress during your wedding dance, let your dance instructor know the length of your dress. By doing so, the instructor can plan choreography that works best with your wedding attire.

Can I get lessons for dances other than the first dance?

Of course! You can book wedding dance lessons for parent dances too. And no, the style of choreography you learn for a first dance isn't the same as the steps you would learn for a mother-son or father-daughter dance. "With parent dances, it's tricky because people are always like, 'I don't want it to be romantic.' But there are so many simple and fun moves you can learn for parent dances that spice things up," Marberry says. So sit down with your parents and talk about which song you all want to dance to, then allow your instructor to craft a dance that'll be fun for your guests to watch and for you to do.

Reasons Why You Should Take Wedding Dance Lessons

Your first dance is one of the many moments of your wedding you'll never forget. Here are six reasons why you should take wedding dance lessons before your time in the spotlight.

You and your partner will step up your dance moves.

All eyes are on you during the first dance. Do you really want to be stuck dancing the same moves you did with your crush in the eighth grade? Taking dance lessons for the wedding allows you to add a new move (or two) to your repertoire. You don't have to learn lifts or a full-on choreographed number if you don't want to. But picking up some basic ballroom skills to help you look like you know what you're doing is well worth it.

You'll be less nervous on the dance floor.

Taking dance lessons before the wedding is the number one way to make you less anxious about the first dance. Practicing your dance steps instead of doing your first dance without choreography will make you feel more prepared and confident.

If you think you'll be nervous on your wedding day, Marberry suggests connecting with your partner by looking them in the eyes. "Trust in your partner, look into each other's eyes, and allow the guests to fade away." Focusing on the music helps with anxiety too. "I find that the music is an anchor that helps you not rush and be in the moment," Marberry adds.

You get the chance to connect with your partner.

One of the best ways to feel in sync with someone is while learning something new together. "Most couples I've worked with have mentioned that dance classes feel like a very intimate part of the planning process. It gives them the chance to be present together while learning a new skill and takes a lot of pressure from the wedding planning as they get closer to the wedding day," Siamidou says. Remind yourselves why you're making this commitment, laugh and fall in love all over again every week while learning how to cut a rug.

It's a fun date night.

Amid wedding planning, work and regular activities, "date night" can turn into you and your partner meeting on the couch with a glass of wine and your seating chart in front of you. Although technically a part of wedding planning, wedding dance lessons are a fun way for you and your partner to do something new and step outside your comfort zones.

It's a good form of exercise.

Trying to tone up for your wedding? No one said you had to do it exclusively at the gym. Think of wedding dance classes as a cool new addition to your workout routine. You'll barely even notice you're exercising until the next day when you have to walk up a flight of stairs.

You can use what you learned at other weddings.

Just because you're taking wedding first dance lessons doesn't mean you can't use what you learned in other scenarios. You can try your moves during your last dance after your reception or while attending another wedding (but be careful not to show up the newlyweds).

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