In the age of viral videos, “surprise” first dances are no longer very surprising. But that doesn’t mean your only other option is to stick with a traditional first dance for your wedding.If you want to make your first dance unique and memorable, there are plenty of ways to do so — that aren’t already represented in thousands of YouTube videos.
1. Commission a custom song
Why pick your first dance song from the Billboard charts when you can have a brand new one created especially for you? Websites like Custom Song and Custom Serenade will create a number — complete with unique, personalized lyrics — for you based on information you provide and your feedback.
2. Do a costume change
Plenty of brides opt to change into a separate “reception dress” after their wedding ceremonies. But, even if you want to wear your one wedding dress the whole night (after all, you may as well get as much use out of it as you can!), you can still do a quick costume change for the first dance only. Throw on silly matching sweatshirts over your formal wear, or don themed head-to-toe garb that relates to your song or dance — the possibilities are endless.
3. Go local
“Choosing a favorite song that means something to them as a couple — like a regional or school or college them — really makes the friends and family crowd go wild. Some big first dance hits include “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra at a wedding in Brooklyn or “Sweet Home Alabama” at a wedding on a southern plantation. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a song about a location; it can be a song that’s special to your hometown. Are you and your groom (and most of your guests) diehard Chicago Bulls fans? Choreograph something unique to the infamous starting line-up song. Think about any music that unites your community, city, or state.
Photo Credit: Bartlett Pair Photography
4. Add your own voiceover to the song
If this is something you’re interested in Ever After Entertainment can give couples the opportunity to record yourselves talking about your feelings for each other. We take the sound bites and edit them into your first dance song for a truly unique take. There’s nothing better than hearing the sweet, funny, sassy, heartfelt comments as a bride and groom dance their first dance together. Your guests will love it, too! Guests will burst out laughing to the funny stuff. They’ll shed a tear and smile for the romantic expressions. And most of all, they’ll have this look of awe because we’ve taken what we can sometimes be a standard moment and made it something extraordinary. That’s what we do at Ever After Entertainment.
5. Make it a medley
Can’t decide on one song? Well, who says you have to? There are plenty of programs out there, like Apple’s Garage Band, that allow even novices to easily “mash-up” multiple songs to make one monster tune. Choose a few different songs that can flow into each other well, and you’ll pretty much guarantee your final track will be different from any other first dance songs you’ve heard. Plus, the change-ups will keep your guests interested and entertained, while they’re gleefully guessing what might be next.
6. Bring in the “real deal”
Surprise your spouse and your guests by hiring the actual musician behind your favorite song to perform while you do your first dance. If that musician is beyond your budget (or just totally ungettable — something tells us Beyoncé doesn’t really do weddings), just go with the next best thing. A surprise appearance by The Blues Brothers or Celine Dion to sing the first dance — or an impersonator, if that works best for the budget — makes for a huge wow factor for both the happy, shocked spouse and the crowd.
7. Incorporate your personal style with props
You don’t have to go to extreme lengths to make your first dance unique or memorable. If you want to stick with a mostly traditional format (or perhaps you’re dead set on a “surprise” first dance but want to make it a little different from the rest), try just adding a couple easy props. Think: funny sunglasses, stick on mustaches, or feather boas. Pick something that reflects your personalities, and it’ll add just the right amount of pizzazz to your first dance.
8. Hire a band or musician specifically for that song
Distinguish your first dance from the rest of the night by bringing in a musician specifically for that song, and let your main band or DJ control the soundtrack the rest of the night. Do you have any friends who are musicians? Ask if they can learn your favorite song. Or perhaps there’s a local artist who does the style of your first dance song especially well. Whoever it is, when there’s one person or group dedicated to your first dance song, it’ll make that moment extra special.
9. Do a flash mob
Okay, we completely agree that flash mobs are kind of played out — in any circumstance but weddings. As popular as flash mobs were for a while, they didn’t really make the transition to wedding receptions, especially not first dances. Pick your favorite song and get the entire bridal party involved. It’s a great way to get the party started because everybody is already out on the dance floor.
Photo Credit: Hollywood Pro Weddings
10. Pick a song that’s so uniquely “you”
Don’t give in to the pull of picking a popular or traditional first dance song. You don’t even have to go the romantic route if you don’t want to. If Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On” is your all-time favorite song and you feel like it reflects the two of you better than anything else, go for it. Make a statement about the two of you as a couple — your style, your personality — and bring that to life through the music. Regardless of the actual song you pick, if it’s unique to the two of you, it’ll be memorable. Some couples like to entertain their guests with first dance ‘performances,’ but sometimes it can be really special if the song has a meaning that’s just between the couple.
11. Do something besides dance
Who says your first dance has to be, well, a dance? Take a cue from this couple, whose Star Wars-inspired light saber battle went viral. Sure, it was set to music, and it was certainly choreographed — but the couple opted for sparring moves rather than typical dance moves, something clearly special and fun for them, which in turn made it fun for everyone else.
12. Channel pop culture
Think outside the first dance box and choose a popular TV or movie theme song, or even a favorite Broadway number, for your music. You can stick with something romantic, like “I’ll Cover You” from the musical and movie Rent, something nostalgic and sentimental like the Cheers theme song, or something hilarious that’ll certainly get your guests energized and laughing, like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Airtheme song.
13. Incorporate musical instruments
And we’re not just talking about the ones your band is playing. Do either of you rock the guitar in your free time? Or do you have a close family or friend who plays an instrument? Find a way to incorporate that into your first dance, even if it’s as an accompaniment to the recorded song. Even bagpipes can be played during first dances at weddings — as long as it’s meaningful to you, it’ll be memorable.
Photo Credit: Lovesome Photography
14. Go with the “snowball” method
If you and your new spouse aren’t super comfortable being the center of attention (or just think you’ll have reached your threshold by the time the reception rolls around), consider gradually inviting others to the floor during your first dance song. The two of you can have a special moment for the first minute of the song or so — just long enough for many couples — and then gradually invite others to occupy the dance floor. As the song progresses…pull in parents, then other guests, so by the end of the song the dance floor is full. Not only is it a great way to minimize the attention on yourselves, but it’s also a perfect segue into the rest of the reception.
15. Preempt the dance with something else special
Lead into your first dance with a special, funny, or unique moment. Think: a video montage of your lives or a pre-recorded voiceover of your love story. Ever After Entertainment can create a “Love Story” recording: Both the bride and groom separately record their versions of their relationship, from how they met to how they got engaged. We script and edit both versions together for a unique, recorded retrospection of the relationship — and it’s the perfect thing to play before the first dance.