Imagining the moment when my fiancé Rigo and I will be introduced to our guests as husband and wife always brings a smile to my face. One of the first things we'll do as newlyweds is have our first dance, and although it'll only last about four minutes, tops, we feel that it can set a beautiful tone for the rest of the evening.
We enlisted the help of the pros at our local dance studio, Arthur Murray Dance in Merrillville, Indiana, to prepare us for our June wedding. Dance lessons are based on time, budget and "ability" level, and they usually start at $100 and up. Our package includes 10 private sessions, choreography, and free group lessons three times per week. Here's what we've learned so far!
Photo Credit: Elevate Photography
1. Pick the perfect song — don’t let the song pick you.
The first step is choosing a song that reflects your relationship as a couple. Start your list early and remember that half the fun is making it together. Although there are many contemporary songs that Rigo and I enjoy listening to, we didn't want to fall into the trap of choosing a song that's too trendy — we want something that will stand the test of time and speak to all generations.
We selected a beautiful, modern rendition of a classic tune by Frank Sinatra (sorry, I can't tell you exactly which one, or it'll ruin the surprise for our guests!). Check out some of our favorite first dance songs for inspiration.
Also, listen carefully to the musical arrangement to ensure that it'll flow well with your dance. Some songs are great to sing along to, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're good for dancing.
2. Practice even if you're not planning on doing choreography.
Once we decided on a song selection, it was time to practice the dance. Dancing for just a few minutes each day will help familiarize yourself with the beat and movements. We've always considered ourselves to be "good" dancers — until we walked into the studio. We were so impressed with the dancers' professionalism and talent. After we had a few sessions, we realized that we definitely needed some help in this area. We started our professional lessons about two months before the big day.
Since then, we're learned to listen and feel the music while we dance, as well as practice proper body mechanics. The main reason why we decided to purchase our package with Arthur Murray Dance is because it includes learning different types of dances, including the waltz, salsa, meringue, and many others. These additional classes will help us not only have an amazing first dance, but be more comfortable with our dance skills in general. This new hobby has helped us express ourselves, and it's also brought us closer to each other.
3. Take your dress and accessories into consideration.
If you plan on doing a waltz, will your dress's poufy skirt trip you up? A long train might make those elegant spins a little more difficult. A romantic dip can send your tiara airborne if it's not secure.
Photo Credit: Elevate Photography
4. Practice your dance in the same shoes you'll be wearing for your wedding.
Practicing in flats and then switching to high heels is harder than it sounds. Wearing your wedding shoes helps you break them in and resolve any potential issues before the big day. If you haven't purchased or received your shoes yet, practice in a pair with a similar heel.
5. Keep the size of your dance floor in mind.
You don't want to find out that your five-step tango only has room for three steps on the big day!
Photo Credit: Walter Wilson Photography Studios
Practicing our dance has been fun, silly, and exciting. Although it can be difficult at times, this has been a wonderful experience for both of us. We're excited to show our family and friends our new moves! We're very proud of each other and plan on continuing the lessons after our wedding. Remember, this is an exciting time and you should enjoy every single moment, so don't let your dancing debut make you nervous. No matter what happens, you're dancing with your best friend, and in the process, creating a beautiful memory that you'll treasure for years to come.
—Rigo and Claudia
Meet the winners of our Pin to Win a Dream Wedding Design by David Tutera Contest, Rigo Garcia and Claudia Hernandez! Claudia is a registered nurse in the surgery department, which is where she met her fiancé Rigo Garcia, a nurse anesthetist. They became best friends and fell in love with very little effort, a trend that continues today. They will be married at Meyers Castle in Indiana on June 8, 2013. They are planning a fabulous wedding filled with traditions, entertainment, surprises, and many unique ideas inspired, in part, by David Tutera.