Boogying in front of your bedroom mirror when no one’s watching is all well and good, but having to break it down in front of the watchful eyes of a hundred people? TERRIFYING! Or is it?
Rashmin Sappideen, Creative Director of Hype Events & Leisure dishes on groovy tips that will bolster your wedding dance game, whether you’re the nervous bride or a terrified bestie about to do her first mehendi shimmy.
Arguably one of the most fun parts of a wedding is seeing the newly-minted bride and groom dance for the first time, and watching their friends break down elaborate choreography, in celebration of the wonderful union that’s just occurred. But, what if you’re actually one of the people that has to do the dancing? Some relish the opportunity for a little group show-off (I’m in envy of you all); others, like me, are terrified by the mere thought, and would much rather be hiding out by (read: under) the bar. But, as this year’s wedding season gears up and all your friends (and maybe yourself) decide to get married, the dances are bound to come fast…and furious. Instead of running for the nearest G&T – never a good idea, in Rashmin’s opinion – here’s how to stand your ground and pull off the wedding dance you never expected.
You’ve been under so much pressure the last couple of months, organizing guests lists, putting together invitations and finalizing menus, now’s the time for you to kick back and enjoy your fairytale day.
Tip 1: Visualize
If you’re feeling a little on edge about the emotional first dance, relax. “I often tell brides to sit down, even for 30 seconds, and visualize,” says Rashmin. “Think about being on the dance floor with the man of your dreams.” It helps you to breathe and to focus on what you want to accomplish. Also, it’s fine to be emotional, comments Rashmin, but instead of allowing this emotion to hinder you, use it during the dance. “After all, dance means expressing your emotions and your feelings, and leaving it out there for the world to see. During a first dance, your guests want to experience the love and happiness you share with your husband, so don’t be afraid to show it!”
Tip 2: Time it right
“Typically, the first dance is scheduled as the processional is done, and right after you cut the cake,” explains Rashmin. “That way, the excitement levels are still high and it’s a great culmination to a perfectly planned out series of events.” Plus, if you’re nervous, it’s the best time to get through the dance, so you can enjoy the rest of your festivities without it looming over your head.
Pro Tip: If the both of you are nervous dancers and are not comfortable winging it (AKA swaying side to side), Rashmin suggests taking dance classes in the lead-up to the wedding. “I always say, ‘practice makes perfect!’ Couples who are beginners at dance and need some choreography should think about taking classes six weeks ahead of the big day. This excludes the week before the wedding, as the latter tends to be too hectic for the bride and groom to even think about attending dance practices!”
Tip 3: Remember, you’re in this together
At times, married life is going to be fraught with difficulties, but at your wedding, you’re promising each other to face them together, head on. Think about your wedding dance much the same way. “Before you step onto the dance floor, some couples like to give each other a pep talk,” laughs Rashmin. “It’s a great way to encourage each other and remind your partner about how secure you are together.”
Then, when you’re on the dance floor, “look into your partner’s eyes and think about the wonderful journey you’ve been on together,” she recommends. “The dance will be over in no time.” Still need a little stress relief on the dance floor? Squeeze your husband’s hand as you sway! The crowd won’t notice, and you’ll feel better almost immediately. Just give him a head’s up before you dig your nails into his palm, and he’ll have plenty of time to get his game face on. And remember, if you make a mistake, chances are that none of your guests will even realize—they’ll be too busy marveling at just how in love you look!
Tip 4: Really commit, and go for it
As the bride and groom, you’re only on the dance floor for a couple of minutes—now’s the time to enjoy the mix you’ve chosen for your first dance, because you’ll never get it back! “Some couples like to go super fun and crazy, choose upbeat music – like their favourite Michael Jackson song, or a mashup of songs they’ve liked over the years – and really get going! A fast track is often also a great surprise for your guests,” says Rashmin.
Still, some couples will prefer to go for a traditional, slow and romantic track, which is beautiful. “It’s a sure way to get an ‘awwww’ reaction throughout the room!” she comments. But if you’re going for a ballroom-type dance, tell your choreographer to make the moves natural. “Otherwise, it might look like you’re gearing up to win the Latin Ballroom Championships…which is not a bad thing generally, but it should be avoided on your wedding day!”
Whichever type of music and dance you pick, focus only on yourselves for the duration. Look at each other, forget everyone else in the room and just relax into it. It’s the best way to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Your BFF is getting married and, obviously, she wants you front and centre of the dance your friends are putting together. While you might want to run for the hills, she’s counting on you to add to, not ruin, her big day. “If you really love your friend enough, you just have to suck it up and do it!” nods Rashmin.
As with the couple, the more you practice the better you’ll be on the day. Once you have a vague understanding of the moves, practice in the shower till you’re comfortable, and then move in front of a mirror; this will help you understand which moves you’ve got down pat, and which moves you need to improve upon. In addition, all that mirror-time will make you comfortable with how you look during the dance, lessening the pressure of the guests looking at you. Remember, it’s for a good cause.
Try and make it personal to the couple
You know your friend best, so don’t be afraid of referring to inside jokes during the dance—the couple will appreciate it and the guests will have no idea! It’s also a great idea to re-create the couple’s love story through fun songs they like, recommends Rashmin. Just make sure it doesn’t overlap with the song they’re using for their first dance!
Pro Tip: Another way to keep the nervousness at bay is to use props during the dance. It keeps your hands busy, and distracts the audience slightly—#winning.
Know your limits
It’s one thing for you to get over your fear of dance for your best friend, but there’s a limit. “Try not to attempt the impossible,” recommends Rashmin. “Say ‘no’ to acrobatic moves or break dancing, unless you’re a trained dancer!” There’s no better way to injure yourself in formidable manner, in clothes that do not make moving easy. Another thing? “Don’t drink too much before the dance because an extra glass of champagne can make you forget your impeccably rehearsed moves.” Keep the tipples for after the dance, and everything will be a-okay.
So, you – or the gal next to you – mixed up some of the moves and you feel like you need to stop and get it all together again. Maybe you should wave your hands for the DJ to stop the music and restart? “Oh, NO!” says Rashmin. “Just keep going. No matter what, you have to carry on. Don’t look around, act sheepish or make a face. Remain confident and pick up right where you left off.” That’s the spirit!
Rashmin recommends: Great songs for besties to boogie
“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
“Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake
“Can’t Stop This Feeling” by Justin Timberlake
“Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey
“Sugar” by Maroon 5
“Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice
“Love On Top” & “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé
“Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child
Anything by the Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls
A baila tune
This article was originally published as ‘A Guide To Creating The Most Epic Wedding Dances, Ever‘ in the June 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more life advice and tips, grab a copy of our latest magazine.
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