Dance The Night Away

By Tawny McCray

January 31, 2017 5 min read

Weddings are incredibly personal events, as they are crafted around the personality of the couple. One place to really put an extra personal stamp on things is the first dance, as well as the mothers' and fathers' dance.

Some couples might go all out and do the choreography to classics like the big dance number to "Time of Your Life" in "Dirty Dancing" -- lift and all! Others may start with a more traditional song then break out and do some fun moves to their favorite hip-hop or country song.

Others might get creative and write their own songs to dance to with their new spouses.

When Lynda Sterns married her husband, Michael, in March of 1969, their first dance was the first time they had ever danced together.

He was in college and she was in high school when they got together, so they never attended a school dance together. Lynda had only ever danced with her peers and on dates at summer dances in junior high and high school.

So her first dance with Michael -- to The Beatles' "Here, There, and Everywhere" -- was especially meaningful.

"We were love birds when we got married, and we adored each other. I finally got to dance with my love."

Sterns said that led to them taking several dance lessons, like swing dancing and line dancing, together over the years.

"The swing still serves us today because you can swing to rock, country or Duke Ellington. Somehow Michael gets this kind of beat."

Kristen Bollman married Bryan in November 2010. They danced to two songs together, from different genres, at different times in their ceremony. The first was "Come a Little Closer" by Dierks Bentley, and the second was "Faithfully" by Journey.

"We just really liked both of them," she said.

When it came time for her to dance with her dad, Bollman said he surprised her a bit.

"My dad didn't want to dance with me, because he doesn't like to dance or be the center of attention. He saw me starting to dance with my father-in-law and said, 'Hey, wait a minute, I'll dance with you,' and cut in. Super sweet of my dad."

Sherry Engberg said a song she and her husband Bob loved listening to in college -- Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong's version of "Our Love Is Here to Stay" -- ended up playing a role in their daughter Catherine's wedding decades later.

"Bob would play it in his dorm room as a freshman," she said "When it came to the line 'the Rockies may tumble, Gibraltar may crumble, they're only made of clay' his roommate, a geology major, would interrupt and blurt out 'igneous intrusions!'"

Years later, Catherine got engaged to Tom -- a geotechnical engineer.

"We knew what song should be played for the father-daughter dance," Engberg said.

Catherine and her dad danced to the song at her wedding.

Maria Nieto Senour said she had a very moving first dance to one of John Lennon's best songs with her son Carlos at his wedding a couple years ago.

"Carlos took my hand and led me to the dance floor as "Imagine" started playing. It surprised and moved me so much I both wept and laughed."

Senour said it was one of the best days of her life and she fondly recalled her new daughter-in-law beaming at the two of them on the dance floor, "knowing that a man who loves and respects his mother is a man who will know how to love and respect his wife."

When a bride or groom has lost a parent, that first dance might be omitted altogether.

One married couple -- high school sweethearts who have been married for nearly two decades -- said they skipped that part of the ceremony on purpose.

"I know it sounds bad, but my dad and I are not that close and I didn't want to fake anything at my wedding," said the bride. "And my husband's mom passed away years before our wedding."

She said when it came to her first dance with her hubby, they selected a song that resonated with them both.

"We chose "Luna" by Smashing Pumpkins. The chorus is 'I'm in love with you, so in love.'"

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