Below: Karina and Nehal Patel of Los Angeles
practice their first dance before their grand entrance
into the ballroom at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in
Below left: Kate Collins and Will Bladt of Los Angeles relax after inviting their guests to join them on the dance floor during their first dance at their wedding at the Adamson House in Malibu.
Both photos © Ryan Phillips Photography
Elaborate wedding settings, lavish floral
arrangements and elegant cuisine can make a big
impression. But for some couples, they’re nowhere
near as important as that first dance as husband and
Eve and Anthony Anderson viewed dozens of videos on YouTube to help them decide the length, style and tone of their own wedding dance. One of the most popular wedding videos on YouTube, with nearly 33 million viewer hits, is called the “JK Wedding Entrance Dance.” It was that video of a wedding party’s musical entrance into the church that inspired the Andersons to make their first dance surprising, humorous and fun, she said. After selecting “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, they booked some one-hour sessions with Sobel and then put in several hours more rehearsing at their Silver Lake home. The end result was a humorous pseudo-artsy, modern-dance-inspired dance routine.
“[Our dance] was definitely as far away from slow dance or club dancing as it could be,” said Eve Anderson.
With most nuptials being ritual-heavy, a first dance is often one of the best ways that a couple can allow their personalities to shine on their wedding day, said Antonio Madrigal, owner of Hot Peppers Entertainment & Dance Studio in Temecula. “ Compared to past
generations, I think that couples have matured in their creativity and are more open-minded and willing to break traditional boundaries to make their special day whatever they want it to be,” Madrigal said.
At Hot Peppers, Madrigal uses his more than 30 years of ballroom and Latin dance experience to help couples add flair, excitement and drama to their first dance. An increasing number of newlyweds are stepping onto the dance floor to a mixture of ballroom, fox trot and even salsa, he said.
Dean and Amanda Bong wanted their dance to contain an element of surprise and a visual display of their love for each other. They spent four hours with Madrigal to prepare a slow, romantic first dance for their recent wedding in Murrieta. Madrigal created a dance routine using a combination of waltz and fox trot dance steps. The couple danced to “Love of My Life” by Michael W. Smith. “We wanted to show our family and friends the love we have for each other, and what better way to do that than through our first dance,” said Dean Bong. The Bongs recently moved from Southern California to Pensacola, Fla.
Lessons with a qualified dance teacher may not turn you into a professional ballroom dancer, but they will have you practicing some basic steps that will give you
confidence and make it look like you know what you are doing, Madrigal said.
But for all of the energy some couples put into these first steps into married life, others don’t want the added stress of worrying about their first dance.
“To a lot of couples the first dance is very important.
We didn’t place too much importance on it because
we didn’t want the pressure of putting on a spectacular
performance,” said Karina Patel, who married Nehal Patel a year and half ago. She said because her husband moved here from the East Coast four days
before the wedding, they picked their song just three
days before and only practiced for about 30 minutes
Whether they just want to put on a performance with their first dance or just have fun, it’s up to the newlyweds to decide how they want to present themselves as a couple to their guests.
“I am a firm believer that the first dance sets the tone for the rest of their lives,” said Madrigal. “When the newlyweds display strength in their first dance, they also are showing their guests the confidence they have in their new union as husband and wife.”
— Kim Kabar, Special Advertising Sections Writer