A true story
Sabrina thought of everything she wanted for her wedding… including a special dance choreographed with her two kids, but she forgot to make sure her gown was fitted to her flat dance shoes instead of the high heels she wore to the ceremony!
Imagine this: Your wedding day finally arrives. You have spent countless hours making sure everything will go off perfectly. You even took dance lessons to make sure that your first dance would be enjoyable and memorable for you and your guests instead of terrifying and boring. But for all the time you spent practicing and perfecting your moves, you never tried dancing in your wedding dress until the actual moment when you needed to. And then it was too late.
Check out what one of our dance lesson brides recently reported about her special dance we had created for her and her two teenage children:
“So, the dance did not go very well! Not because we didn’t know what we were doing but because my dress was too long! When I switched to sneakers for the dance, I lost about 2 inches in height, and it messed me up bad! In addition to that, my train was not bustled correctly. I was slipping and tripping with every step. The kids tried desperately to keep up with me and help me stay on track, but it just didn’t work. We did what we could, we laughed throughout it all. Everybody thought it was so cute, but it wasn’t what we practiced! Regardless, thanks so much for all your help! We had a blast!”
What Sabrina learned, the hard way, was that your dress is important in more ways than one. Benefit from Sabrina’s experience: Always make sure that your dress is altered to the shoes you will be dancing in. Sabrina always wore the sneakers she planned to wear to the wedding to her lessons but never told us she was planning to switch from higher heels and that her dress would be fitted to the higher heels.
If this is your plan, be sure to explain this to the person fitting your dress so it can be altered accordingly. Or if the change is too drastic, just choose comfortable shoes for the entire night. No one is looking at your shoes anyway!
And what about the shoes?
While you can’t very well show up for your dance lessons in your wedding dress, you can and should practice in your shoes. High heels change the height of the bride-to-be, which might throw off your partner during under-arm turns. You don’t want to have to duck to get under an arm that was expecting you to be shorter than you now are!
Many brides have tried dancing in their high heels only to discover how uncomfortable it was and revert to comfortable shoes. In fact, most brides these days are opting for comfort and are choosing sneakers or flats for the wedding and dance. Some, like a couple we are currently working with, are wearing shoes that reflect their personality: hiking boots for her and cowboy boots for him. But when we had her dance in her hiking boots, we discovered they squeaked! In fact, the squeaking with every step was louder than the music. A simple solution of duct tape on the soles fixed the problem. Thankfully, we discovered the issue during practice instead of on the big day!
What about accessories?
Accessories are another element that often goes forgotten. Not only did our couple referenced above wear the hiking boots and cowboy boots they planned to wear at the wedding, but we also asked the groom to wear the cowboy hat and vest he planned to wear. This helped enormously as we soon discovered that his fiancé kept catching her bracelet (which she also planned to wear) on the sleeve of his vest during their turns. Once she realized this, she easily decided to forgo the bracelet.
Wearing the hat during rehearsals not only allowed the groom-to-be to make sure it wasn’t falling off his head during crucial moves, but it gave us the opportunity to build it into their choreography—stealing it back and forth from each other during the two-step/country swing number we had created for them. This added an extra fun element to their dance that captured their playful personality.
So always consider what accessories you may need to “dance around” in your first dance.
Your big day is not the time to discover your dress is too long or your shoes are all wrong! Use your dance lessons to not only rehearse your moves but also to simulate as close as possible what you will be wearing. That’s why performance professionals always have dress rehearsals.
Practice with the shoes and accessories you will be wearing, and make sure the dress is hemmed to fit. A little planning will go a long way in your confidence in dancing in your dream dress.
For more tips on dancing in your wedding dress, see my previous article, “Choosing a Wedding Dress to Dance in: Five Questions to Ask Yourself.“