Your first dance with your new Husband or Wife, Your dance with your dad or mom. These are big moments, often a centerpiece of the event. Many couples are choosing to shorten their dance with their new spouse, or their parent.
Is editing your wedding dance right for you?
There are many factors to consider. and ways of doing it. In this post, I’m strictly focusing on things to consider when making the decision to shorten a wedding dance song. The very first thing you should do when making any consideration of a dance with dad or mom is to ask them. You can start with a simple statement; “You know, you are going to have to dance with me at my wedding”. What is their response? Are they excited? Dreading it? what excites them, or what do they dread? surely they don’t dread dancing with their son or daughter.
Making them comfortable
Most often the parent dance is for the parent, so you want to pick a song or artist they like, but hopefully they have something in mind already. Choosing a song or artist they like will go a long way to making the dance extra special and memorable. It may even be a song that brings back memories of you growing up.
The purpose of the special wedding dances
Now we know they love the person they are dancing with and they love the song. What else could make them feel uncomfortable? Maybe it’s the spotlight. I can tell you from first hand experience, as well as the experiences of the hundreds of couples I have worked with, that nervousness, the awareness of the spotlight, goes away quickly. As soon as you reach the dance floor and embrace, the spotlight fades, and all that matters is the person in front of you. this is more than a dance, this is their first completely candid moments with you as a married person. This is almost the whole point of the first dance with mom or dad after you are married. It’s a last check in. “you look beautiful. How are you feeling? I’m so happy for you. I’m so proud of you. You’re brother is next you know…” Maybe a little reflective, as many times mannerisms, actions, and scenarios remind them of something you said or did when you were younger. This is a big moment for them, whether they fully realize it or not.
Your first dance is not much different
When it’s your first dance with your new spouse, it is often also one of the first truly candid moments you have together, away from your bridal party, away from other eyes and ears. A moment when you can say whatever is on your mind, a moment to truly be together.
Yes we get it. Now lets cut that dance in half!
Woah, not so fast. 🙂 Once you have decided on the song, listen to it with and without them. You want a song that is long enough to get settled in and focus on each other. Some other considerations you may think about are:
How long is the song? Is it a story? Is it repetitive?
Does the whole thing fit you and your relationship?
OK, so how long should our dance be? We have a party to get to!
The ideal time for any parent dance or first dance song is 3 – 3.5 minutes, plus or minus. Many 4 minute plus songs have a musical bridge in the middle that ties two similar sections together. That is a convenient spot to fade down if you would like. I don’t want to get into all the myriad of ways to edit songs, as it would add up to a whole other post, but I do want to address time. What type of relationship do you have with your parent? The closer you are, the longer you will want the dance to last.
Does it speak to you?
The last aspect you really want to pay attention to are the words. If you have determined that the song is just a bit too long for it’s intended purpose, (anything over 3.5 minutes) Then you want to look at 2 factors. Is it repetitive? Some songs repeat a refrain over and over again. Mostly as a pattern of fours. Most repetitive songs are fairly easy to shorten.
something else to consider regarding words in a song is the story element. Does the song tell a story? If so, do all elements fit? Maybe you don’t want to edit for the sake of time but because a word or phrase doesn’t fit.
If it doesn’t fit, edit it
A couple of examples readily come to mind. Tim McGraw’s “My Little Girl” where I have been asked to edit out the part where he sings “You and I both know He Won’t Be Good Enough” so many times I have dubbed the song where I edited that part out the wedding edit.
The other was a first dance song that fit the newlyweds so well they just had to use it, but there was a part that bothered them tremendously. They are both relatively high level professionals and there is a part of the song where the singer repeats “we don’t have a lot of money, no we don’t have a lot of money, no we don’t have a lot of money” for what seemed to them like an eternity and they in no way wanted their guests to think they were hurting for money. If it doesn’t fit, edit it. 🙂
Thanks again for checking in! If you have a song edit scenario you would like to run by me, drop me a note, I am always happy to help! Chat soon…
~Mike Mahoney, M&M Entertainment
Your wedding day is huge!
It is a big day, and you are a big deal. If you are used to being the go to person for everyone else, this is going to be extremely hard for you. Have someone help you, and make sure that person is an expert at delegating. I am not talking about a maid of honor, or Best Man here, I am talking about the person keeping them on track and on task. I am not talking about your wedding planner, and I am not talking about the venue contact or coordinator. Your point person is good at delegating. They are there to take care of you on your wedding day.
You need a CEO for your wedding day.
The wedding planner sets things in motion and executes the plan. You need someone who can catch things that fall through the cracks, or handle situations that come up. Why? Because you are the center of attention. You are a celebrity for the day. To some that will sound exciting, to others it will sound exhausting, and still others have no idea what that means. people and activities will pull you in a half dozen directions at all times on your wedding day. You will see guests you haven’t seen in years, you will meet some for the first time, you will want to catch up with people , and of course you will want to dance!
Go ahead, pull that thread
A simple single issue is no problem, but think of these problems like loose threads. pull on one and things begin to unravel. you stop to say goodbye to a relative. Like a snowball they start coming over one after the other. In the meantime you are missing sunset photos, or your favorite song on the dance floor. Your wedding CEO will keep you on track. Perhaps your bustle is not cooperating. Wedding CEO to the rescue. You have someone ready at the last minute to grab the errant relative who didn’t think you needed them in the picture. Your wedding CEO will run and grab the jacket, or corsage, or purse, or show aunt Matilda where the special seat is that was reserved for her. You are now prepared to be pampered!
Oh, like that’s gonna happen…
You may snicker or scoff at these, but that is the point. You don’t know what last minute thing will need attention. Wouldn’t it be nice to know you have a go to person for that? Maybe it’s an in-law, or your mom’s best friend whom you call aunt. No matter who you choose, all they have to be is loyal and super dependable. There is no other requirement. Your wedding CEO will help the officiant run the ceremony rehearsal. Have your CEO arrive early to the ceremony site, and to the reception site. Your wedding CEO should ensure favors are laid out, the gift table is just right, the guest book table is properly set up and adorned. They can even make sure the champagne is poured for the toast.
That’s a wrap!
Decorating the reception hall or ceremony site yourself? Put your wedding CEO in charge of decorating and cleanup. This is your day. Unexpected things happen. The more things you can prep for ahead of time, the more distractions and interruptions you can avoid when you delegate someone to take care of it. Enjoy your wedding day to the fullest, you’ve prepared for it properly, and you’ve earned it!
Now, if all this feels a bit overwhelming, perhaps it would help to consult a professional Wedding Planner. They’ve been there, and seen it all. Some of my personal favorites are:
Paula Cano/ A Family Affair – https://www.afamilyaffairmaine.com/
Meghna Torrieri/ B Merry Events – http://www.bmerryevents.com/
Lani Toscano – https://www.lanitoscanodesign.com/
Pinch Me Planning – https://www.pinchmeplanning.com/
Wendy Caron/ Dragonfly Events – http://www.dragonflyweddingcoordinator.com/
Catherine Fairbanks Cliffe – http://www.destinationmaineweddings.com/
In my last post we walked through the budgeting process. There were many great tips on wedding budgeting and links to my favorite wedding coordinators. I also listed the budget numbers for a real Maine wedding. In the interests of full disclosure, that example was my wedding in 2014, and represented a fairly basic, no frills wedding. In this post we are going to look at another wedding, more typical of my clients in many respects. I will point out some differences and some reasons why you may make different choices based on your wedding priorities.
The Wedding Budget
|Wedding Service|| ||Actual|
|CEREMONY|| || |
|Ceremony Site Fee (Courtyard) included in pkg|
| || |
|Officiant || ||$400.00|
|Marriage License|| ||$40|
|Music (incl in venue pkg)|| || |
| || || |
|Catholic Church|| ||$600.00|
|catholic marriage prep|| ||$100.00|
|church tips & Music. Piano 175, singer 150, Fthr, dan 125, alter server 20 || ||$470|
|RECEPTION|| || |
|Room Rental Fee|| || Included|
|Venu & Food & Beverage / Vista (F&B $13,000++)||$10,000.00||$13,250|
|Wedding Night Suite incl in pkg|| || Included in pkg|
|Cake included with venu|| || Included in pkg|
|Specialty Linens|| || Included in pkg|
|DJ/MC – Lighting Technician (delivery, setup, & strike) 4 Intelligent light fixtures, 10 LED lights, 2 truss pillars covered with spandex featuring pillar up-lights (4 Hr Pkg), Add’l Hr(s)(1) – $850.00 Star Maze(1) – $350.00 LED Light(s)(10) – $1,000.00 Video Screen & 3000 Lumens Projector w/ Dress Kit(1) – $1,000.00 (4 to 10 pm)|| ||$2,507.35 pkg price|
|Invitations & Save the dates DIY|| ||$525|
|Guest Book/Cake Knife/Glasses|| || |
|Gown / Veil / Accessories (not to include in budget)|| ||$1,083.00|
|Bridal party gifts/groom part gifts|| ||$175|
|Tuxedo Rental|| ||$175|
|Valet Parking || || Included|
|Vendor Meals|| || Included|
|Make-up || ||$500.00|
|Hair|| || Included w/makeup|
|Wedding planner|| ||$1,200.00|
|Dance Floor|| || Included|
|Cash Bar & Champagne Toast|| || Included|
|wedding website|| ||$0|
|save the dates|| ||$0|
| || || |
|GRAND TOTAL|| ||$33,418.27|
Where did the Money go?
This was a bigger wedding, with about 175 guests and a budget of $30,000. It was also an off-season date wedding, so they were actually able to get some great deals. In fact, between the venue, DJ, Photographer, and Videographer, they were able to save nearly $8,000.00. All of their chosen wedding professionals, including the venue were well established professionals referred by friends. The only thing they went over budget on was the venue, and it was well over their budget, but in the brides words “Once we saw it, there was just nothing else that would do”. The best part for them is that the videographer was a gift from the parents, almost certainly made as a concession for having 2 wedding ceremonies. The rest of the overage was made up with wedding gift money.
What is Off-Season?
Off-season dates vary around the country, but November through April are generally considered off-season dates in Maine, as well as Fridays, Sundays, Holiday Mondays, and select dates such as the weekend prior to Christmas, or the weekend after Thanksgiving. This wedding was the week before Christmas at a resort hotel.
As I mentioned, the couple in this example were catholic with may non-religious friends, so they had 2 ceremonies. Beyond that, and the lighting effects they chose, there is very little that could be considered extravagant. They had a cash bar that was included in the hotel’s package with a minimum total tab, which was cleared easily. Champagne toast was also included in the package offered by the hotel. Check out my Money and Alcohol blog for more tips on saving at the bar while treating your guests right.
The venue costs how much?!?!
When pricing a venue, always ask what is included. This is what makes the comparison of this wedding with my own so illustrative. We paid $1,500 just for a location for our wedding to take place. Everything else was extra – the caterer, linens and associated rentals, decorating, everything. Our wedding had 100 guests with a total venue, catering, rentals, bar & champagne costs of over $9,000.00. This wedding had a space with everything included for 175 people for $4,000 more, and the majority of that cost is for feeding the extra 75 guests. Some of that fee my hinge upon food choices.
How many guests are you expecting?
The number of guests you invite is the biggest variable cost of your wedding. Double your guest count, and you will significantly increase the cost of your wedding. It will double your invitation costs, your food costs, sometimes it affects facility cost. Doubling your guest count will double any costs presented to you as a per person cost. If you can DIY any of these, invitations, place cards, favors, seating charts, etc, you can save a nice bit of money that could be put to a static or fixed cost.
We’ve discussed variable costs, the costs that rise and fall based on your guest count. but what about fixed or static costs? Your Videographer, Officiant, Photographer, DJ, Limo, wedding dress, photo booth, and so on. These are the same price no matter how many people are invited. There may be slight variations, but nothing like the variations that come with per person pricing. With these, choose based on quality, value, and priority.
More to come..
Now we have the middle and lower middle tiers covered. I will do my best to furnish examples of a $10,000 wedding, as well as a $60,000+ wedding to round out the topic. and even more if I can get them. Remember I am including the costs of Honeymoon, rings, formal wear and wedding gowns in these examples. These are ancillary and not necessarily part of the average couples core wedding budget. When possible I am including these figures to give you a full picture of what a wedding costs. These figures are provided by the grace of my clients, so I can’t predict specifically when I will get the next in this series up, but hopefully soon. In the meantime, stay tuned, as there is so much else to talk about!
What are your experiences?
I would LOVE to hear your wedding budget stories! Please let me know what experiences you have had, and any similarities or differences you may have had. you can send me your thoughts by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like. As always, the more information we can share the better. I can’t wait to here your story!
Jill & Alex, How it all began
Jill & Alex meet in high school. All they knew at the time is that they enjoyed each others company. At one point Alex asked her out, and took her to a restaurant that had been a favorite of her families for years! From there things just kept getting better. In a quiet moment at home a few years later, Alex popped the question. He did it right, got down on one knee and surprised the heck out of her (in the best possible way!).
Pleasant Point Inn, When you’re here, you’re family!
Now here we are at the Pleasant Point Inn on Kezar lake in Lovell ME. The inn has been in Jill’s family since 1900! I’ve enjoyed getting to know Jill and Alex, but hadn’t meet them in person til this moment. They and their friends and family were so warm and welcoming. They made me feel right at home. Jill’s grandfather offered me a cookie when he greeted me at the door. I knew at that moment this was going to be an epic day 🙂
Jill was beautiful, and Alex was sharply dressed as well. I had the opportunity to work with the super talented Brittany Jones of 207 Weddings who, along with her team captured everything in amazing photos and video.
The ceremony was on the side lawn of the Inn with the breathtaking view of Kezar Lake just feet away. The bridesmaids came down the aisle to an instrumental version of “A Day without Rain” by Enya. After a brief pause the brides dad walked her down the aisle to the instrumental version of Haley Reinhart’s “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You”.
The ceremony was sweet and emotional with a few light moments courtesy of their officiant Price Hutchins. After a kiss The new Mr & Mrs England were formally presented to their guests and they walked up the aisle to an instrumental version of “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban. It was a chili, but absolutely beautiful day. Even still guests were as much inside as outside enjoying all the beauty and elegance Pleasant Point Inn and Kezar Lake have to offer.
Let the Party Begin!
When the time came, guests were invited into the ballroom, champagne was poured, The bridal party was introduced with the newlyweds coming in to “Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson. When they got to the dance floor the bride laid her flowers down on the table while the groomsmen did a sweet dance step with the groom, and then The new Mr & Mrs Alex and Jill England took to the dance floor for their very first dance as husband and wife to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran and Beyonce.
Deception at the reception
Alex handed his bride over to her dad for their dance. The chicken dance started, played for a few seconds, long enough for the bride burst out laughing, and the correct song began playing, Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. It was a nice light moment. Next it was Alex’s turn to dance with his mom, and it was only fair that he get pranked as well. As they took to the dance floor, “Hit The Road Jack” began playing. Everyone laughed including his mother Pamela, while Alex looked a bit surprised, and the correct song began – “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts. this was definitely one of my favorite parts of any wedding I’ve been in
To the Newlyweds!
The toasts followed. Best man Christopher Griffin began with a masterful presentation. Maid of Honor Emily O’Connor followed with a sometimes emotional, heartfelt toast. With that, dinner was served. A bountiful feast to be sure. The energy was high, and the guests would be ready to dance. Sure enough, as the dinner music gets more modern and peppy and we get into Motown and early 70’s toes start tapping, heads start bopping, and voila, they are dancing!
We take a brief break as loud booms begin outside… Fireworks! The guests all head outside for an amazing fireworks display. Fairly short, maybe 10-15 minutes, but just awesome! Everyone came back in, Alex and Jill cut their wedding cake, and we danced like crazy people to everything from Grand Funk’s Some Kind of Wonderful to Prince Royce. It was a grand evening, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it.
Happily Ever After…
Congratulations Jill & Alex! Thank you for asking me to be a part of such a very special day. I wish you all the best and hope you will stay in touch!