Important things to think about when sorting out your wedding dance:-
How much space will you have on the dance floor? This is important. After working for several sessions on a fast waltz all round the ballroom, a couple mentioned that their reception was to be on an 3-metre-wide Thames pleasure boat with their audience lining both sides, leaving a far-from-ideal dance floor slot of about 1m x 12m.
Catherine and Josh dancing an old-time waltz
Is the skirt of The Dress wide enough to allow freedom of movement?
Does The Dress have a train? Dancing brides need to be able to step backwards with confidence, without getting a heel caught in the hem. Most bridal outfitters are capable of providing a discreet means of ‘bustling up’ the back of The Dress. A short train needs a loop and button down the centre back of the skirt. A longer train may need to be draped over the bride's left wrist.
Brides need to be able to raise their arms comfortably and, if possible, turn round without becoming tangled up. If The Dress is strapless, we need to proceed with caution. (There is a difference between ‘strapless’ and ‘topless’!)
A groom may wish to shed his jacket, depending on the formality of the costume and the dance.
There is something to be said for matching the dance to the costumes as well as the music. If the outfits are very formal, like Morning Dress, it would look good to do a slow waltz rather than a jive. Slow dances show full-skirted dresses off to great advantage.
Brides - platform shoes are not good for dancing. If the wedding costume includes very high-heeled or platform shoes, consider whether it is worth having a more manageable pair put by just for the dance.
Grooms - it is very hard to dance in shoes with long, extended toes, so you may also need to have a second pair of shoes put aside. Bear in mind that new leather soles can be very slippery and may need roughing up a bit.
You both need to learn in shoes as similar as possible to the wedding shoes so that you are the right height.
The Dance itself:
This is not a competition. Everyone watching will be on your side, delighted that you are doing something rather than just swaying aimlessly for three minutes. There are far more important things going on than dancing!
You may have had a glass of champagne. Try not to have more than one drink before you dance because the brain-to-foot connection is weakened by alcohol. All the more reason to keep it simple.
Has either of you had much dance experience? If we are starting from Square One, my aim will be to put together something fairly simple that you can carry off with confidence. If you practise until it feels a bit boring, you know it well.
I prefer, if possible, not to dictate a rigid sequence. When all the steps are inter-changeable, there is no need to worry about mixing up the order. If a couple would prefer a formal script, that is fine too. This is not the occasion to launch into elaborate lifts or ‘dips’, however.
Our first session is spent listening to the music, getting the measure of each other, discussing all the things above and seeing how you move together, deciding what sort of dance fits comfortably within the rhythm you have chosen and learning some starting moves.
Slightly offers wedding couples a special rate of £115 for four one-hour lessons including choreography. Some couples add on one or more at the usual rate of £33 an hour for good measure, but this is not often necessary.
We have had good fun working with several same-sex wedding couples. All couples present the same set of dance challenges. Slightly sets out to help you feel and look happy dancing together so that you can share a few personal and very special minutes with your friends and relations.
Where is the audience? Is there a ‘front’? Will you be performing 'in the round'?
Do you have a favourite piece you would like to use for your first dance?
Do you have a second choice in case it is not danceable for some reason? (Some music is much better suited to the end of the evening than the beginning; some is too fast, some too slow for comfortable performance in a wedding dress in front of relatives).
Will it be ‘live’ or recorded? Can you bring a recording to lessons for us to work with?
It is sometimes helpful to record a lesson to help practise at home and that is OK as long as you ask - not for publication, private use only.