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Wedding Dance Customs & Traditions

Photo By Swensen Photography

For today’s blog we thought it would be fun to look at some different Wedding Dance customs and Traditions.  Obviously there is no right or wrong way to have your wedding, but if you want to go off of some traditional wedding customs these are some of the things we found interesting.

We also found a fun website that shows various different fun/unique wedding dances.  http://www.bestweddingdances.com/

Photo By Opie Foto

Who Dances the First Dance at a Wedding?

Traditionally the first dance is for the Bride and Groom. It is a symbolic dance expressing that the two are joined in union. In traditional European weddings the dance was usually a Waltz. This tradition carried forward as Europeans immigrated to the USA. Of course in today’s modern world, the bride and groom have musicians and wedding singers play more contemporary music, so the dance is not as formal as it once was.

Photo By Swensen Photography

The second dance is traditionally the father-daughter dance. This is the dance where the bride and her father dance. The symbolization is the father giving his daughter away so the dance carries the wedding tradition into the reception. The song choice is up to the bride and her father, most will have the wedding band or Disc Jockey play one of the more traditional songs; such as Daddy’s Little Girl by Al Martino or a contemporary song such as Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle.

Photo By Tiny Comet Photography

While these two dance are the most traditional the mother-son dance is becoming a mainstay dance as well. The groom and his mother share a dance. Unfortunately we can not always have historical accuracy on when certain traditions started or how they came about, but as an idea gains in popularity and new tradition is born.

Other Dances


The money dance is an event at some wedding receptions in various cultures. During a money dance, male guests pay to dance briefly with the bride, and sometimes female guests pay to dance with the groom. The custom originated in Poland in the early 1900s in immigrant neighborhoods.

Sometimes guests are told that the money will be used for the bride and groom’s honeymoon or to give them a little extra cash with which to set up housekeeping.


Whether it be the Boot Scootin Boogy, The Electric Slide , YMCA or one of numerous other line / group dancing options this has become a very popular way to get several guests involved all at once learning simple steps that are done over and over again.  It can make for some really fun times for so many people.

Photo By Rachael Tyler Photography

While researching wedding dance information we came upon a few different interesting cultural wedding dance customs.


Dance of Isaiah

The first dance to take place during a traditional Greek wedding celebration is the Isaiah dance. This takes place during the wedding ceremony itself. Near the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom are led by the priest around the altar table three times to signify their first steps together as husband and wife. The entire process is symbolic; the circle in which the couple walks represents their eternal bond. This dance is usually accompanied by traditional hymns, but rice or flower petals may be tossed as well.


The kalamatianos is a traditional Greek circle dance. It is usually the first dance performed at the wedding reception. The kalamatianos is led by the bride and her maid of honor, or koumera, and traditionally includes women only at first. The entire bridal party eventually joins hands and dances in a circle. At many weddings, though, men are invited to participate as well.


Dancing is a major feature of Jewish wedding. It is customary for the guests to dance in front of the seated couple and entertain them. Traditional dances include:

The Krenzl, in which the bride’s mother is crowned with a wreath of flowers as her daughters dance around her (traditionally at the wedding of the mother’s last unwed daughter).

The Mizinke, a dance for the parents of the bride or groom when their last child is wed.

The “Horah” is a Middle Eastern/Israeli style dance usually played as a second dance set.

The gladdening of the bride, in which guests dance around the bride, and can include the use of “shtick”—silly items such as signs, banners, costumes, confetti, and jump ropes made of table napkins.

The Mitzvah tantz, in which family members and honored rabbis are invited to dance in front of the bride (or sometimes with the bride in the case of a father or grandfather), often holding a gartel, and then dancing with the groom. At the end the bride and groom dance together themselves.


Guests get in touch with their wild sides and enjoy a performance called the lion dance, in which performers dressed as powerful felines sway to the beat of drums, gongs, and cymbals to scare away evil spirits.

Regardless of what traditions (if any) you choose, we just hope that your wedding day is a memorable one and that your guests leave saying we had a great time at their wedding.

Photo By Opie Foto

Sources – weddingpartynetwork.com, wikipedia.com, entertainmentguide.com,theknot.com, weddingwire,com, mywedding.com

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