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First Dance

Reception First Dance

After your grand entrance, your first dance usually comes next. This is a great idea for many reasons.

First, it's surprisingly difficult to command the wedding guest attentions. I have countless photographic examples of reception traditions featuring a couple in the foreground and distracted or disinterested guests in the background.

If your first dance follows the grand entrance, since guests haven't yet been served their meal, their attention is fully focused on you and your partner. If you wait until later in the evening, after the meal has been served, some guests will invariably be more focused on eating, talking, clinking their silverware, visiting the bar, or taking a restroom break than they are on observing your first dance.

Likewise, prior to the meal the tables that are typically visible in the background of your photos are still pristine and free of clutter. Later in the evening, after the meal begins, the tables aren't as immaculate.

Finally, and perhaps most important as your wedding photographer, if your reception is held outside or in a room with windows, and if your first dances is held prior to sunset, I'm able to photograph your dance using natural light—which can often yield more pleasing photographic results than flash photography.

The first dance typically takes about 5 minutes from beginning to end—depending on the length of your song.

The Tradition

The reception first dance tradition was once the official signal that the dance floor was open. As the guests of honor, the couple has that privilege.

Some people think that the dance illustrates the couple's harmony. But I'd never put that much pressure on you guys. Call me crazy, but for your it's a great time for you to show off your two-step to Houston friends and for me to create great wedding photographs.

27 Romantic First Dance Songs

Having witnessed 300+ first dances as a wedding photographer, these romantic first dance melodies are sure to please everyone. The songs include country, pop, easy-listening, bluegrass, classic rock, soul, and R&B.

When you're on the dance floor, waltzing around your friends and family, this music will help set the tone for the rest of your celebration.

Dance Floor Lighting

Avoid disco lights, lasers, and colored pinpoint first dance lighting.

When multicolor "disco" lights are used by your DJ or lighting designer, your faces and apparel might feature Technicolor skin blotches or pinpoints of colored light in your wedding reception photos.

Please ask your DJ or lighting designer to refrain from those lighting styles until the general dancing begins. I'll typically mention this consideration to DJs prior to your grand entrance but those folks will heed your suggestions over mine.