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The Best Time For The First Dance At Your Charleston Wedding

13 September 2017

Let me first begin this post by congratulating all the brides and grooms and wedding vendors in the greater Charleston area who had their wedding spared by the wrath of Hurricane Irma.  While the greater Charleston area ended up getting a strong tropical storm, things could have been LOTS and LOTS worse had the city seen a direct hit by a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. I lost some sleep last week thinking about the weddings that could be ruined by a major hurricane like Irma. But, let's all breathe a sigh of relief right now and keep our fingers crossed that we can make it through the rest of the Fall wedding season without any cancellations caused by a hurricane or natural disaster.  You know one of the biggest questions I get from bride and grooms is when the optimum time is to do their first dance. The first dance is absolutely one of the biggest moments of your entire wedding day.  Should the first dance be done before dinner or after dinner?  Each option has with it some benefits and drawbacks and we'll discuss both in this post.

 Doing Your First Dance Prior To Dinner

The decision to do your first dance prior to dinner is probably the most common choice by brides and grooms at Charleston weddings. One of the big reasons is the dance will end up occurring at the very beginning of the wedding reception when everyone is at attention right after the bridal party introductions. You'll need an experienced DJ / MC on the microphone at this time to get everyone's attention in the reception hall.  Your professional wedding DJ that you book will announce the bridal party, then smoothly transition to your first dance.  The spotlight will then be on the bride and groom. After the first dance, you might also do the father / daughter dance, followed by the mother / son dance.  After those three dances, you might have a welcome speech, a blessing or prayer before dinner. This is the preferred method I've seen done at most of my weddings, because it goes well with the flow of your timeline.  
The truth of the matter is you'll be pulled in just as many directions as you have wedding guests as the reception gets underway. At the beginning you have everyone's attention. Doing the first dance and other dance's before dinner gets them finished and is one less thing to worry about later in the night.  Plus, from a photography standpoint, you'll look fresher on your hair and makeup than after socializing for an hour or two. 

Doing Your First Dance After Your Dinner
This option is definitely much more rare in modern weddings today. This option has a tendency to go against the flow of most wedding timelines but occasionally a request is made to do dances after dinner.  I don't recommend doing all three dances after dinner. If you are going to do any of the special dances after dinner, the recommendation would be to do your father / daughter dance and mother / son dance after dinner and the toasts and after those dances are complete open up the dance floor for open dancing. And actually by recommendation of a couple this past summer, I made an announcement to the guests that (Insert names of bride and groom) would like everyone to join them right now on the dance floor.  It was actually VERY effective and something I will be using at future wedding receptions.  One of the big reasons why doing these dances after dinner can be cumbersome is what we discussed up above. At the beginning of the night, the focus is completely on you. After dinner, you'll do your toasts, cut the cake and start the open dancing. When you decide to do these dances after dinner, it's just "one more thing" that gets moved after dinner. Also, if you have 150 or 200 guests, then your planner or coordinator or DJ needs to come and hunt you down to get you ready for the dances. 
For modern weddings in 2017, this is not the preferred method.  If a bride and groom insist on any dances being held after dinner, I generally try to negotiate this and sell their first dance before dinner, and the other two special dances after dinner.  For me, I've done the dances before dinner so many times that this method just doesn't feel right. When you see it all drawn out on a timeline, it looks like everything is happening in the middle of the night. From the toasts to the cake cutting to the first dance.  It just feels like the flow to your wedding reception is off when the dances are done after dinner.

An experienced wedding DJ / MC will be able to work the flow of your reception in either of these scenarios. Now that you have a few ideas about "when" to do your first dance at your wedding reception, have you thought much about what your first dance song is going to be? Be sure to make it very special. Make the song about you. Check out this blog post I uploaded back in July 2017 showing you 20 First Dance Ideas For Charleston weddings

Wanna Speak To Mike Bills About Being Your Wedding DJ?
It's full speed ahead in the next several weeks at Mike Bills Entertainment. The fall wedding season kicks off very soon and it's hard to believe that another engagement season will be right around the corner. Time goes by so fast in the busy Charleston wedding market.  If you are reading this blog right now, I greatly appreciate your click over to my professionally designed website for the modern bride in mind. Are you recently engaged and in that mode of searching for your wedding vendors? Have you booked your wedding venue yet? It's recommended right after you book your wedding venue that you book the wedding entertainment (DJ) next because the highly sought DJs are booked up well in advance. I love meeting with brides and grooms to discuss the music for their wedding reception and I'd love to meet YOU. Be sure to click the link up above to be taken over to my contact form so that you can provide some quick details about your upcoming wedding and tell me a little bit about your big day. I look forward to speaking with you about your upcoming wedding day.