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How To Choose a First Dance
Posted: 26 July
So, for any veterans of this here blog you'll know that usually in terms of information which may be useful to you when considering options for organising your wedding or choosing your wedding band we are a little thin on the ground and generally unhelpful, much like the proverbial chocolate teapot. If, on the other hand, you're looking for random stories of complete and utter nonsense that 3 guys and a van get up to, the slagging off of the cheddar cheese of our competitors and other participants in the 'Wedding Band' industry or the answers to the question, "I wonder what pisses that Dee guy off?" then this here blog is like an emporium of all of your favourite things under one nice, big roof.
You may be thinking, "Dee, didn't you write a blog about How to Book a Wedding Band and about booking a band for New Year's Eve? They were packed with semi useful facts which aided me in my cause. Though I did notice they were not written in your usual 'flowery bollocks' style of writing. Were you having an off day that day?" I must confess, my dearest, little Splendettes, I did not write them. I lied to you. Duped you. Deceived you. Pulled the wool over your eyes and shafted your confidence with a truncheon of deceit. I whole heartedly apologise. For anyone that's read our Blog about Website Guys, around that time, one of them said, "Here, Dee, post this blog on your website and pass it off as your own because it will help with your ranking on Google."
"But, Sir," replied I, "Firstly, this feels very dishonest and most certainly breaks the Gentleman's Rule, 'Thou Gentleman shalt not lie' and secondly, surely my beloved readers and faithful Splendettes will be able to tell the difference between a normal person's writing and the mad, whimsical, nonsense which spouts fourth from thyne fingertips?"
"Stop being a dick and post it." was the reply and in my weakness and ignorance of online stuff, I lied to you, made you think I had lost my zeal for the flowery use of language and wrote a boring blog about normal things. I apologise.
But given the frequency of the question, "What should I do about my first dance?" I thought I would write a handy guide from my own knowledge as a performer of what works best, but written in a less boring, more Splendid Gentlemen, not as formal type fashion as some other guides may be.
The First Dance
It's no biggie really. You've just spiritually, financially, legally and lovingly committed yourself to one person until the end of your days, thrown a big expensive party to celebrate it and the last formality, before the party in the evening, is to pick a song which sums up your relationship in its entirety, which reflects you two's 'youness' and awkwardly dance to it in front of all your friends, family, nearest and dearest. No pressure eh?
In truth, it's not that scary. Whatever you pick, the moment is about you two. If you want to be traditional and pick something nice and slow, that's easily done. If you want to go quirky, you've just paid a bloody fortune for this day. You want quirky, you bloody go quirky. So long as you enjoy your moment, your friends, family and onlookers will enjoy it also, so pick whatever the Hell you want.
As a band we've done everything from absolute standards, newer classics like Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud to some more interesting choices like That's Amore by Dean Martin, The Street Where you Live by Nat King Cole, A Kiss From a Rose by Seal, we've done a Disney song, a James Bond song, a German Punk Band song, (yes, you read right, it was great fun) all the way to the cheesiest of cheese with extra cheese Country and Western songs. We've even done the Scissor Sisters song, I Don't Feel Like Dancing. Once, we saw a couple come in to the room to the Star Wars Theme on MP3. Hands down, coolest thing I've ever seen. Just saying. What I'm trying to say is, it's your party. Do what you want.
Here, however are a few pointers:
1. Pick something which has meaning to you, or your relationship.
It's easy to pick a standard, generic slow song to shuffle away to and just get the dance over with, but the nicest ones we've ever done have been the personal ones. Maybe a song you both loved from when you met? Something which has special significance to a specific date you had. Anything which has meaning to you both will show in your faces when you're dancing to it and make your moment much more magical as your family and friends will observe this too and join in the merriment. Which brings me to my second point.
2. Don't worry if it doesn't sound very 'First Dance' like.
Any good band worth their salt, or their money, as most bands don't take payment in salt, can customise a song to make it just right for you. Like I said before, there are no rules to the speed the song it has to be, so if it's a bit fast and you want it that way, keep it that way. But a good band can always slow any song down for you and make it sound more 'pretty' like a traditional first dance. We've slowed down Kings of Leon's Use Somebody a number of times now and almost prefer the slowed version. You can also change the words if you want. We've been asked to do a Chris Cornell song (one of my favourite singers ever, ever, I might add) called Murderer of Blue Skies, where the chorus lyrics are, "I can't wait to never be with you again." which isn't very 'First Dance Sentimental'. We can change the lyrics to "I cant wait to be with you again" so it's nicer, or just leave it as it is, so long as you like the song and it means something, do what you want.
You can even have a secret first dance. We had a second dance once being the "Unofficial First Dance" as the song Laid by James has the line, "She only comes when she's on top." which the couple felt was not suitable for a first dance with their Granny in the room. But with the Groom in question being an absolute legend, he jumped up and down, pointing at his good lady during that line and it kind of gave the game away. Top lad: we appreciate this kind of behaviour.*
*Because we're busy we can only promise to learn one song per wedding, so for secret first dances, pick something from our repertoire first and we'll learn your secret first dance for you.
3. It's alright to have an MP3
The first dance is a lot of pressure for you, with everyone watching and all that. How do you think we feel? We have to take your favourite song and do it justice so as not to ruin your big moment. Sometimes that means taking an entire orchestral arrangement with 30+ musicians and breaking it down to, "Right, cool, so on the guitar it's just G, C and D, with the A minor at the chorus."
I don't really ever suffer from stage nerves, never have, but occasionally on a tricky first dance I find myself a little dry in the mouth and a little on edge just because I want to make sure I get it right. But should you really just prefer the original and find yourself thinking, "How do I say to my band I don't really want them to play the first dance? That's awkward." Fear not! This is completely okay with us. Some bands might get insulted. We don't. It takes a little of the pressure off, you can enjoy your favourite song as it was originally intended, in the version you fell in love with, with your chosen significant other in your arms and then we can crack on and do our Thang. MP3's are completely cool with us.
4. Pay Attention to the Lyrics!
This is somewhat contradictory to my other points. So far I have said, whatever you want to rock as your first dance, you just go for it. If you guys got together round about the time Ugly Kid Joe released 'I Hate Everything About You' and it reminds you of your first kiss, then have it as your first dance. That's cool. But what I caution against is those lying songs that seem like nice ones, but actually are not. Sneaky bastards is what they are.
What I am referring to here is things like The Lumineers song Ho Hey. There you are, family and friends watching as you share your first dance as a married couple singing, "I belong with you. You belong with me. You're my sweetheart." and everyones giving it beans with the big "Aww's", but you've been duped! Even more than when I lied to you about the other blogs. Should you care to pay attention to the lyrics the song is actually about a fella who is longing after some lost love who's decided to be with someone else instead. "I don't think you're right for him. Think of what it might have been…..you should be standing next to me." Not so first dancey now eh?
Same again with David Gray's, The One I Love. It seems all nicey nice, couple on the dance floor, gazing lovingly in to each others eyes singing, "You're the one I love! The one I love!". But not so nice is the fact that if you listen to the verse lyrics, it's actually about a soldier who's had his guts blasted out on the battlefield and as he lies there, with bullets flying past him, bleeding to death, his last thoughts are of his beloved back home and as he dies, he doesn't go to Heaven or Hell. He's magically transported back to a cherished memory with his poor, widowed lass back home. Not quite as romantic as originally thought.
Chasing Cars is about a dog. I know, I know. I was caught by this one myself.
So be cautious when choosing. Listen out for those deceitful little tunes.
5. Call Up The Bridal Party.
If you're feeling a little nervous about the first dance, as many people are, don't worry. If the thought of standing in the middle of a circle for 4 minutes, with all eyes on you sounds like Hell, Option A. Tank a few shots at the bar and go for it. Option B. After the first chorus, we can call the bridal party to the floor, who will swoop in with their partners, fill up the floor and obscure the two of you from everyone else's view, so it doesn't feel as scary. Then everyone has a jolly old time, you get a big applause at the end and you are free to proceed with your night as you wish.
Unless you're an accomplished dancer or have a specific routine planned, I would recommend this. I would even recommend combining Options A and B and tan some shots then call up the bridal party. We've seen some people who want the whole dance to themselves, but then after about 30 seconds discover that it's a really long 4 minutes when you're the only ones dancing and start to look somewhat panicked. Should you find this happen to you, just give your friendly band a nod and they can call up the bridal party for you.
The only catastrophic strategy we have seen we shall list in a Do Not section:
DO NOT get really stoned before your first dance and then discover that your wife has secretly ordered a light up dance floor. This will cause you to think you are falling through space, and while it's amusing for everyone else to watch, it's not the ideal solution if you have the first dance nerves.
6. Family or Friends are cool with us.
Much like with the MP3 predicament you found yourselves in, having a family or friend sing your first dance is a great way to make your wedding that little bit more personal. We are not insulted if you would prefer someone else to sing your first dance. We've had beautiful renditions by fathers, brothers, sisters, etc. coming up to sing a first dance with us. We've even had bands reunite after years at our gigs. Having people up on stage really gets the audience involved. The only note of caution we will add is this will need to be arranged prior to your event and they would have to bring their own instruments because if they break ours we'll kill them and that always puts a downer on a wedding. They'll also have to pay for the repair or replacement after we've killed them too, which is always a bit of a kerfuffle.
7. Please, for the love of God! Stay away from the Country and Western
You may have noticed that through points 1-6 I have had supporting statements to back my advice, coupled with real life examples acting as fables to warn and advise. For point 7 I don't have anything but the knowledge that should you ask me, I am able to play some of the worst songs the Country and Western Songbook has to offer. I have no argument or supporting statement other than I am a nice man and I try my best to do what's right in life. Please don't punish me with any more stories of hardy Cowboys who are too tough to fall in love, but then find that despite their tough exteriors and manliness, they've gone and fallen in love and there's no hiding it so they can only confess their burning, undying love through the medium of song, with awful music videos filmed on a ranch, accompanied by awful fiddles, awful lap slide guitars and awful 3 part harmonies. Please….I just cant take it anymore.
8. The Stone Roses…
Please see Road Stories Volume 1.
So there you have it. Your first dance is your moment to do exactly what you want on your big day. There are no rules, no standards. Just you, your significant other and your chance to have a lovely moment that reflects your day and your 'youness'. Hopefully you have found this writing useful and informative. Make the most of is as next blog will probably be back to my usual ranting nonsense.
Thank you kindly as always for your time.