There are specific rules and traditions to follow in any Jewish ceremony, especially weddings. The Jewish particularly view dance as a merrymaking tradition with the newly-weds during their special occasion. The most common dances you can witness in any Jewish wedding ceremony are the Hora and the Mezinke Tanz. Still, apart from these traditional dances, the couple may also add special dances to the event.
So, do Jewish weddings have a first dance? During the reception, the couple may decide to incorporate their first dance before the other dances. They may choose to dance to a live band or recorded music. This dance expresses their love and paves the way for the ceremony’s other dances. However, it is not necessarily a Jewish tradition but is still vital for the newly married couple.
In case you find it challenging to plan for the first dance at your wedding, we delve into the world of Jewish weddings to help you find the best way to incorporate your first dance at your Chuppah. We also show you how to plan for it and give you tips on having one of the best first dances.
The Essence of the First Dance
This is one of the ceremony’s essential dances that most couples use as an invitation for the other guests to the dance floor. Although there are other traditional dances, the couple may still decide to have a first dance, a more modern alternative. Doing so includes other guests unfamiliar with the religion or who value more contemporary dances.
The first dance is the couple’s way of showing their love and closeness as they step into their new world as husband and wife. It also marks the beginning of their love life, and the intricate steps involved are symbolic of how intimate their relationship is. Through body language and delicate steps, they can express their chemistry and undying love.
Most couples decide to invest in making their first dance epic for them and their guests. They may go at great lengths to get a professional choreographer or train for months preceding their wedding. The result is a well-synchronized dance that leaves the guests gushing for the rest of the ceremony.
Planning for the First Dance
Every couple wants to have the best first dance at their wedding that they can look back to and remember. Unlike the other traditional dances, this one is more intimate and personal to both of them. We take a look at some of the factors that you can help you plan the best first dance for your ceremony. Read on;
The choice of music is crucial not only for the dances but also for the entire ceremony. You can either have a DJ or hire a live band; hiring a DJ is less costly than a live band, but a live band makes the music more personal and intimate. For the best band experience, you can select a band conversant with traditional and contemporary music; this way, they can play through the ceremony, from the main ceremony to the reception.
The first dance usually takes place at the reception after the Chuppah, a convenient time for both the couple and the guests. This is because scheduling it after the high energy traditional dances may be hectic since the couple may be worn out from all the activities.
The best timing is soon after the arrival at the reception, this way, you can capture the guests’ attention, and you and your partner will be more active. Proper timing ensures that the parents can join, followed by other couples, and soon, the guests can all join in the dance floor for other high energy dances like the Hora.
The groom can dance in the same suit he had during the main ceremony, but some brides opt for a wardrobe change, especially if it’s a long trailed dress and high-heeled shoes that impede their dancing.
Due to the nature of the reception activities, such as dancing and merrymaking, it may be challenging to comfortably move about in a bulky, long-trailed gown or tight high shoes. The best remedy is to change into a shorter but decent dress and wear more comfortable shoes such as flats to help you move around at the reception (some brides skip the shoes and dance barefoot).
Some choose to hire a professional choreographer or ask for an expert friend’s help for this particular dance. One can start practicing as early as possible to perfect the routine, but it all depends on how complex it is and how fast they can learn it (a simple routine may be faster to learn than a more complex one). Giving yourselves a time frame of two or three months is ideal for most couples.
Wedding Dance Etiquette
Since there are many guests in attendance, there is a need to make them feel comfortable throughout the ceremony. In case you need to have a dance that includes them, tell them in advance, so they adequately prepare.
They need to know when to join in for the other dances; it is crucial to ensure proper timing lest they feel left out. Wedding etiquette dictates that you keep the routine short, but fun hence leaves room for other dances.
Tips for the Most Memorable First Dance
Here is a summary of some do’s and don’ts to make your first dance one of the most memorable aspects of your wedding.
- Let the dance reflect your personalities; pick the music and the routine you and your partner love.
- Go easy on the steps to avoid doing a very complicated routine that will take you many months to learn; you can have a fun yet straightforward routine instead.
- Ensure that as the bride, your dress and shoes are comfortable to avoid tripping or being uneasy during the dance.
- Practice the dance often to avoid any mishaps when the time comes, but if either one of you forgets a step, you can play it off so that the guests don’t notice.
- You can have your guests involved by switching up the music as a cue for them to join in or have the MC invite them for you when you are done.
- When picking a reception venue, select one that has enough room for the dance. Remember, there are still other traditional dances that include all the guests, so pick a spacious room that will accommodate them.
- Make fun your priority for the dance by letting loose so that you don’t get nervous about messing up. You can even incorporate a random high energy dance to make it more entertaining at the end of your slow dance.
Apart from the exchange of vows, there are certain aspects that you will remember about your wedding, such as the first dance. It is a form of expression between the married couple; hence most people strive to make it as memorable as possible.
Although Jewish weddings have a foundation of traditions and rituals, you can still incorporate modern trends to make it more fun. With more people embracing more contemporary traditions, having a great first dance is one way to make all your guests feel included.
Pick a simple dance routine (according to your prowess as dancers), accompany it with the perfect song that is personal to you, and have the dance at the most appropriate time of the event. It will guarantee a first dance that neither you nor your guests will forget.