Choosing The Best Time To Have Your First Dance

It is important to plan the timing of your first dance and parent dance to ensure a smooth flow of events and that your guests are not becoming too restless. The big question is usually about whether the first dance should be before, during or after dinner.  Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each time option.

Before Dinner

This option is usually right after the cocktail hour and after the wedding party has been introduced into the reception.  Many couples choose to go straight into their first dance at this time.


  1. Once the formal dances are over, you can sit down and enjoy some dinner.
  2. Your guests have a break between cocktail hours snacks and dinner.


  1. Your guests may still be carrying on conversation if the cocktail hour and reception are in the same location. It may take time for the crowd to settle.
  2. There is generally a lull in dancing after your dance is over since the focus returns to food. You may need to re-initiate dancing after dinner.

During Dinner

You can choose to eat a little first or wait to eat your meal until after the first dance and parent dance.


  1. This provides entertainment for your guests while they eat.
  2. It helps with overall timing if your reception is fairly short.


  1. This option leaves little time for the wedding couple to eat their meal.
  2. Generally, speeches are done at the start of or during dinner service so you will have to coordinate the timing and length of speeches along with the dances.

After Dinner

After speeches and dinner service can be a great option for your first dance.


  1. The dances usually kick off dancing for the rest of your wedding guests and can be a good segway from dinner to dancing.
  2. This timing provides a break for guests between dinner and dessert.


  1. If guests finish eating early, they may want to dance themselves and will have to wait until your first dance.
  2. The end of dinner is generally a great time for the new couple to walk around to guest tables. This may be cut short if you are called for your first dance.

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