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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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