Courtney
Expert September 2022

How long of a First Dance?

Courtney, on November 2, 2021 at 12:59 PM Posted in Wedding Reception 0 10
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Hey all! FH and I are getting ready to start dance lessons, and we’ve picked a song we like but when I was listening to it earlier I realized it was like 4-5 minutes long and I feel like that’s way too much.


It won’t be standing and swaying, there will be some choreographed elements to it, but do we talk to our DJ and have him grab the bit of it that he thinks would work best for a dance portion?
How long was your guys’ first dance, and did you take any lessons?

10 Comments

Latest activity by Kari, on November 6, 2021 at 11:45 AM
  • Samantha
    Rockstar May 2022
    Samantha ·
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    Double sided answer.. if the song means a lot to you and you really don't want to change it, then that's not too long for your special moment. If the song is just one you picked randomly, choose something shorter. As a many-time, former wedding guest, all the special dances get boring real quick and most people wander away lol.

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle Online ·
    • Flag
    Practice dancing to the entire song at home. Many couples do the high school sway. You can always ask the dj to edit out a chorus or guitar solo if it’s too long. Many first dance songs are played for the song and others are only a verse and chorus before the music for guests begins. There is no right or wrong.



    Honest truth is many guests don’t pay attention during the first dance and they zone out for parent/spotlight dances waiting for the dance floor to open to everyone.
    • Reply
  • Bird
    Devoted June 2021
    Bird ·
    • Flag
    I would ask for the DJ to play 2 and a half minutes of the song!
    -

    My reason being the guests won’t get bored but also YOU might not get self conscious wondering if the song is too long or what everyone is thinking and sometimes it can be awkward having everyone staring at you. -

    My first dance song was 2 min and 11 seconds long from start to finish without editing it. It was the perfect length cuz my husband isn’t much of a dancer. -
    The dance with my father was 3 and a half minutes long and I felt like it was too long even tho we’re both really good ballroom/Latin dancers and had tons of moves and turns and tricks. In the moment I felt like guests were starting to get antsy -
    Good luck in your decision!
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  • A
    Dedicated October 2021
    A ·
    • Flag
    We had our DJ invite people to join us on the dance floor about 2 1/2 minutes into our four minute song… And it was the best decision we could have made! Everyone came out on the dance floor to join, and then stayed there the rest of the night! Might be a good option for you guys!
    • Reply
  • Laura
    Savvy September 2022
    Laura ·
    • Flag
    Either have dj help decide where to cut or the easiest based on your choreography have dj invite others onto the dance floor after your choreographed piece is done.
    • Reply
  • Rosie
    Rockstar February 2022
    Rosie ·
    • Flag

    I've been in the bridal party of several weddings and after the amount of first dancing the couple wanted to do was over, they had organised a signal in advance to tell the bridal party or certain friends/family they were welcome onto the floor. Eventually guests usually join, or the dj says the dancefloor is open from there.

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  • Katherine
    Expert October 2021
    Katherine ·
    • Flag
    Me and my husband took dance lessons and our first dance was a combination of 2 songs and lasted about 8 mins. Everyone loved it!
    • Reply
  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari ·
    • Flag

    Five minutes is a bit long for a first dance IMO, but I think you also need to consider the combined length of all of your special dances and whether you do them all together or split out over your evening. As a guest, I do not want to sit and watch 15+ minutes of two people dancing while twisted awkwardly in my seat. Its boring and uncomfortable. So if you are only doing a couples dance and skipping the father-daughter and mother-son dances, or doing your couple dance right after your grand entrance and saving your parent dances for after dinner, five minutes is probably fine. However, if you are doing some grand entrance dance routine, a couples dance, a father-daughter dance, a mother-son dance, other special dances, etc then you need to be aware of the overall time these take up. As a guest I find the best part of weddings participatory, and I'm not overall that interested in just sitting and observing for long periods of time.

    Our first dance was about 3 1/2 minutes and that was perfect. I would not have wanted to dance much longer with everyone staring at us. It just wasn't necessary at all.

    Your DJ should be able to play a portion of the song you picked, or might be able to find or edit a shorter version for you. Typically when gymnast, ice skaters, or dancers compete they have timed routines, so the songs they choose need to be edited to fit. Shortening your track should absolutely be doable.

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  • Courtney
    Expert September 2022
    Courtney ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    That my big issue with it, I also hate sitting and watching people for long periods of time.


    We don’t have a wedding party, so no long grand entrance, but we are doing mother/son father/daughter dances. I actually want to do those dances before our ‘first dance’ because it’s a nice send off and it would make me feel better about PP suggestions to invite people on the floor halfway through.
    Kind of rude to invite them on and then kick everybody off afterwards
    • Reply
  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari ·
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    You should talk with your DJ about the order of dances and when you do them. Our DJ was pretty adamant about us doing them after the entrance because he says guests are too distracted after dinner. We were going to do a combined parent child dance (so one song to share instead of separate bride-parent and groom-parent dances) but our parents didn't want to so we just did one couple's dance right after walking into our reception, and then sat down to eat.

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