If you’ve ever typed the words “wedding dance fail” into YouTube, you know how horribly wrong things can go. I don’t mean to freak you out or anything, but not being fully prepared for your first dance as a married couple is a major risk. Not only will you have to deal with some unexpected nerves, but also you’ll be surprised by how the length and style of your dress, the height of your heels, and even the position of your guests can affect your moves. The last thing you want is to trip on your train in the middle of “At Last” and take a tumble backwards, am I right? (Believe me, it has happened!)
So what’s the best way to prevent a first dance disaster? By taking a few lessons before the big day. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment—we’re talking five or six lessons max, unless, of course, you’re planning to do the Dirty Dancing lift (in which case, more power to you, though I wouldn’t recommend it). To get some basics down, I tapped New York City-based ballroom pro and instructor Stirling Taylor of Taylor’D Dance, who introduced me the American-style rumba—a dance that works with “literally any piece of music that’s ever been written.”
And while you might feel like a pro after watching the video above, Taylor actually advises against learning your first wedding dance online. “It looks really easy because professionals have worked really hard and put a lot of effort into making it look simple,” he said. “Plus, you may have differences of opinion. I’ve seen that happen before. You may see it one way, and your fiancé may see it another way. So you don’t want this situation of where now you’re fighting over a dance. This is the fun part of organizing your wedding. It shouldn’t be something you argue with."
Taylor’s other crucial piece of advice? Make sure you chat with your instructor before you get started so you can tell them about your dress, shoes, and the overall vibe of your wedding. Your teacher needs to know if you’re wearing a mermaid-style gown, for example, because some moves can’t be executed in something so form-fitting. If you end up feeling limited by the style of your dress, you can always switch it up. “A lot of my clients have had multiple dresses,” Taylor explained. “They’ll have their full ball dress for the ceremony, and then for the first dance they’ll have something like the one you’re wearing from Miari Dancewear.”
Miari Dancewear has a number of beautiful dresses for both practice and performance—most of which are machine washable, which is alway a bonus. And for your man, Stirling recommends SRDJAN Practice Wear Line. Because even if you can’t master the steps like the pros, at least you can look the part, right?