The Typical Order of Dances at a Wedding

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Once you sign the dotted lines, you are home-free! The next item on your agenda should be to let loose and dance in celebration of a successful wedding. The wedding dance is one of the most anticipated reception activities, so you need ideas and organization to pull it off. You don’t want a situation where guests will get bored. Instead, we have curated an order of dances at a wedding guide that helps with an easy flow and transition during the reception. The guide includes everyone, from couples to parents, and guests. So check this post for ideas on prioritizing your dancefloor, and enjoy the tips, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the father-daughter dance come first?

No. The father-daughter dance comes after the couple’s first dance. This dance may also take place after dinner.

Is the first dance before or after dinner?

The first dance can happen immediately after the guests settle and before dinner. However, many couples choose to dance while the dinner is ongoing or after.


Traditional Order of Dances at a Wedding

The traditional order of dances at a wedding are the ones that go in the usual format.

  1. It starts with the bride and groom taking the dance floor to a slow or fast song.
  2. The parents follow up by dancing with the couple in the father-daughter and mother-son dance.
  3. The bride then dances with the groom’s father while the bride’s mother dances with the groom.
  4. The best man, maid of honor, and the wedding party will come through at this point, followed by the post-cake cutting, money, anniversary, and last dance.
  5. The guests can feature in the order of dance at any point, except the first and post cake cutting dances.


First Dance

The order of first dances at weddings tops the list because it is the very dance that opened the floor. This highly anticipated dance is for the couple alone or they can have guests join them. The first dance would normally happen immediately into the reception. But it is your day, so you can choose when and how you want it, like before or after dinner. Here are other tips that can help you through the first dance.

  • The tempo and style of your first dance remain at your discretion. You can choose slow, fast, classic, upbeat, quirky, romantic, or anything. It should reflect your tastes.
  • Curate the playlist for the first dance early enough and practice freestyle or routine choreography. You can also make defining gestures to selected lyrics in the songs, like a twirl, deep, or kiss.
  • Smile, get lost in the moment, and blossom so that the joy and love you feel radiates
  • Think about comfort and change your shoes to something more bearable.


Father-Daughter Dance

The father-daughter dance is one of the most special and much-anticipated events at a wedding. It is a sentimental and vulnerable dance where daddy and girl bear their hearts and love. We always advise that this dance should be short and sweet, peaking at five minutes maximum. This is because the new couple is the focal point of the wedding. You don’t want the father-daughter dance to overshadow the couple’s first dance. You can also combine father-daughter and mother-son dance to take the dancefloor at the same time. To get the dance moving…

  • Involve your father and mother in the playlist curation process because they have songs to share.
  • Opt for lyrics that emphasize the relationship you share, the respect and love you feel, and your appreciation for them
  • Choose songs that suit both your personalities and theme, which could be slow or upbeat.


Parents Dance

There is no hard and fast rule to the order of parent dances at weddings. Although; traditionally, they come after the couples have taken the dance floor, it may not always be. You could serve the guests their dinner immediately after the first dance. And then while dining or later in the reception, the parents can come up, drawing the guests’ attention back to the dancefloor. Whatever the case, see these dance tips for the parents.

  • Consider choosing songs that have meaning to you as a couple and the parents. You want lyrics that tell them the magnitude of love for them in your heart.
  • Get your parents involved in choosing the songs because they may have song ideas that bond them to you. Normally, the bride’s father and daughter will dance first, while the mother and her son dance next. Step parents may even stand in, depending on what the couple wants.
  • But if the couple is not heterosexual, they can handle their dance as they see fit. There is no rule cast in stone that the dance must go a certain way.


Wedding Party’s Dance

In the proper order of dances at a wedding reception, the wedding party dance ranks between third and fourth place depending on the couple. This is a time when the wedding party takes the stage right after the parents dance to show off their steps or choreograph a well-rehearsed song to honor the couple. But before the wedding party gets the stage to themselves, here are some tips to follow.

  • The dance opens with the best man and maid of honor taking the stage to show off their bougie steps.
  • The groom follows behind by dancing with the maid of honor while the bride takes the best man.
  • All the groomsmen will pick a bridesmaid and dance with them, followed by the ring bearer and flower girl. So, ensure that the numbers are even.
  • When the wedding party is all set, guests and their wedding dates can join them on the stage for the general dance.


Post-Cake Cutting Dancing

Cake cutting is one of the most exciting parts of your wedding day and reception because the photos are just stunning. Previously, cake cutting often occurred immediately after dinner so that dessert is served. But now, more couples are cutting their cakes later in the evening. The cake cutting marks the end of the formal wedding and many guests, especially the older ones may leave after this part. However, if you choose to play music after cutting the cake, follow these tips.

  • If you want a romantic ambiance, opt for slow and sweet-sounding music. This will put everyone, including guests in a sentimental mood. Also, they can capture the best pictures with slow songs.
  • You may opt for fun and upbeat songs if you want to get the crowd vibing and hyped up. Bask at the moment and enjoy yourselves as dance. Guests can also join you on the dance floor.


Money Dance or Other Cultural Dances

One of the traditional orders of dances at a wedding is the money dance which happens towards the end of the wedding. A cultural deed as old as time, the guests offer the new couple money to dance with them. This is done to help the couple raise money to begin their lives together while showing them love. If you want to have the best money dance, take these tips from different cultures.

  • Like the polish tradition, offer your guests a shot of premium wine after they have danced with you. Also, remember to change into a reception outfit (and preserve your wedding dress) if they have to pin the money to your dress.
  • You can take a cue from the Nigerian money dance by taking the stage with your spouse while family and friends spray you with endless streams of money
  • You may also pass around your shoes so that guests can put money in them.
    Also, get creative with your playlist so that the songs contain the word “money” in their lyrics.


Last Dance

The last dance is saved for when the reception is ending. The songs played at this point could either be slow or upbeat, depending on the mood you want to set. But these tips will help you pull it off.

  • Keep the song slow if there is no after-party. Also, slow songs help the excited and tipsy guests cool down. Alternatively, if you have an after-party scheduled, opt for an upbeat song to keep everyone in high spirits.
  • Be intentional about the lyrics and ensure that it is wedding appropriate. This is because many slow and upbeat songs have great rhythm until you listen to the words.
  • Choose songs that suit your style, the celebration, happiness, and optimism of the moment. You want to consider a people pleaser that will get guests to perk up.
  • After dancing with everyone, kick them out and enjoy a private moment, and dance with your new spouse. Come out when you are done with shouts, cheers, flower throws, and confetti.


Wedding Dance Tips

There are typical orders of dances at weddings with their specific tones and rhythms. For instance, the first dance will be slow and romantic while the last dance features upbeat and fast-paced songs. However, regardless of the timing, follow these tips to help you.

  1. Curate only wedding-appropriate songs that are suitable for each order of dance. Compartmentalize your playlist and make sure your DJ adheres.
  2. Keep every dance to a maximum of seven minutes even if they are choreographed. However, if your venue does not have a curfew, you can extend the time for the anniversary, money, and last dances.
  3. Get flip flop favors to strategic points for the guests and make sure your stage is spacious.
  4. Take some lessons from professionals or practice by yourself, even if you wouldn’t choreograph.
  5. Of course, there will be anxiety and nerves, but let loose, relax, smile a lot, and enjoy the evening.


Anniversary Dance

Anniversary dance is better described as the bouquet dance, which couples now incorporate into their big day. It is quite interesting because this involves only married couples. The anniversary dance is one of the last dances that happen at the wedding reception. To pull off this dance, follow these tips.

  • Curate a playlist of slow romantic songs for this part of the dance.
  • Have your emcee invite all the couples to the dancefloor.
  • After they have danced for a while, start eliminating the couples from the earliest married.
  • When you have only the longest married standing, hand them your bouquet or have the audience give them a round of applause.
  • To make this dance more interesting, you can have a tangible gift ready for the longest married couple. It is also beautiful when you incorporate them into your wedding by asking them to give practical advice that has helped them in their marriage. Plus the dance is another moment to help them bond.

After your vows and ceremony comes the reception where you let loose and dance the day away. Follow this order of dances at a wedding to enjoy the best of times while carrying everyone along. We have curated a list that organizes the wedding reception dances according to priority. You will also find tips that guide you from the first to the last dance in this article.