What's the Order of Dances at a Wedding?

Published 05/26/2021

It’s not a wedding without dancing, right? You have specialty dances that are customary at a wedding reception such as the newlyweds’ first dance, parent dances, and more. What order should these dances be in? Since it is your day, you can do them in any order you would like but based on our 20+ years of experience here is what we suggest ensuring plenty of time for your guests to eat, drink, mingle listen to toasts and get on the dancefloor.

You will likely have created a wedding day timeline with your wedding planner or venue coordinator so be sure to share that with your DJ to ensure everything runs smoothly as they will be the emcee and keep the day moving along seamlessly. Here is the dance timeline we suggest:

Introductions/Grand Entrance

We know it’s not really a dance but sometimes it turns into one. As your cocktail hour comes to a close you will invite your guests to find their seats, which is when we will introduce your wedding party, parents, and finally you! We recommend everyone stay on the dance floor to give extra applause and excitement for when you are introduced.

If you are working with us in your client portal there is an area just for introductions, you tell us who is getting introduced, their names, what song they are coming into and we review all this information with you before your wedding day.

First Dance

After you are introduced, we recommend going straight into your first dance while all eyes are on you and guests being to take their seats.

Parent Dances

A great place for your parent dances to take place is in between courses or at the end of dinner. It is up to you if you would like to dance simultaneously with your spouse and their parent. Or one then the other. We have also had multiple parent dances and even sibling dances depending on your family dynamics.

Open the Dance Floor!

Following either parent dances or toasts, the emcee will announce that the dance floor is officially open!  No need to play the chicken dance or any cheesy line dances to get your guest out of their seats, an experienced DJ (hopefully us!) will be able to read the room and choose the right mix of fast and slow songs to get everyone moving and grooving.  We will also have discussed your must-plays songs that you know will get your guest dancing.


Anniversary Dance (Optional)

Not every wedding has this, but the anniversary dance is a sweet tradition where all couples are invited to the dance floor for a slower song. The DJ or emcee then says something like "Couples who have been married for less than a year, please take a seat." Your emcee will then ask other couples to leave the dance floor until the couple who is married the longest is left dancing. The longest-married couple always gets a round of applause and we like to ask them to give the newlyweds some advice. Many times, couples know their wedding is near an anniversary of a loved one, so it is a nice photo op and surprise for them. 

Bouquet Toss and Garter Toss & Dance (Optional)

Another option dance that we do not see as often is the bouquet and garter toss. It does take some time to coordinate and can be embarrassing yet entertaining for some, but couples that want to dance the night away may choose to skip over this tradition.

Cake Cutting

While it is not a dance it is still an important formality to happen on your wedding day. It is up to you if you want to make your cake cutting the main display out of the dance floor or do it off to the side and still have the DJ announce that it is happening either way. Most couples choose a fun upbeat song that is followed immediately with more dancing.

Cultural Dances

Such as the hora or money dance can be sandwiched in-between all the dancing to keep the party going.

Last Dance

The bittersweet way to end a great wedding is with the perfect last dance. It has become increasingly popular for couples to choose their last dance song which can be a slower emotional song or upbeat song everyone sings along to.

Whatever order you decide, be sure to communicate all your song options with your entertainment. If you are looking for a stress-free way to plan out your wedding day music, check out our client portal, and if you like what you see we hope you will consider working with us and inquire about our wedding DJ services.