FAQ: How long should the first dance last?

There are a hundred things to consider when you are planning your reception, including how long your customary dances should last.

Keep it short and sweet.

My recommendation is to keep your first dance on the shorter side (around three minutes or less) if no one will be joining you out on the dance floor during the dance. It can be a little longer or a little shorter depending on your music, whether or not you can find a good spot to fade out a longer song and of course, your preferences.

Where does the dance fit into the reception order?

Keep in mind that receptions typically open with the couple’s first dance and then move on to other traditional dances before anyone eats dinner. If you’ve had a long period in between the ceremony and the cocktail hour or the reception, your guests may be ready for dinner to start. In this case, make sure you have some great signature drinks for your guests to try and consider going right into dinner after the first dance. This way, the first dance gets all the focus and your guests have a great time.

Mix it up.

If you opt to go straight into dinner following the first dance, you can do the father/daughter and mother/son dance after dinner and flow right into the dance party from there. Just make sure to tell your bridal party (so they can populate the dance floor and encourage others to get out there) and choose a song that’s upbeat and appeals to most of your guests.