The Wedding Waltz is an age old tradition done by our parents and grandparents in the days of handkerchiefs and stockings. In the past the Wedding Waltz was actually a Waltz (shock horror) done to classic music such as "Could I have this dance" - Anne Murray and "You Light Up My Life" - Debby Boone, which actually have a 3/4 or triple time rhythm. 'What?' you say...... Well the dance WALTZ, is a ballroom style that specifically has 3 steps and combinations of 3 steps, danced to music with 3 beats per bar. Many people do not know what a 3 beat song is compared to a 4 beat song, and there is a point in where I am headed with this....
Couple A phone me and say they'd like to do a wedding waltz, they've chosen a song: John Legend All of me. I say 'great'! Now this song is lovely, but you can not do a WALTZ to this song, it is the wrong beat. Now I can create a very lovely dance to this song OR I can teach you WALTZ but this will require a different piece of music. Unfortunately you can't fit A into B. The song choice trumped over dance style and so I was able to teach more of a foxtrot based dance to their music and we were all very happy :)
Most music you hear on the radio today, most top 40 songs are 4/4 time, that means you can count to 4 over and over consistently with the beat. Perfect for many styles of dancing (just NOT waltz). So how does this relate to Wedding Waltz? You will have heard of the FIRST DANCE. This is more commonly used today because couples still want to do a Wedding Dance, but they have chosen a song with a 4/4 rhythm.
Perfect examples of music choices that suit WEDDING WALTZ:
Kiss from a Rose - Seal
I won't give up - Jason Mraz
A thousand Years - Christina Perri (quick waltz)
Gravity - John Mayer
Three times a lady - Lionell Ritchie
Open arms - Journey
Iris - Goo Goo Dolls
Like I'm gonna lose you - Meaghan Trainor (very quick waltz)
Never tear us apart - INXS (very quick waltz)
Unchained Melody - Elvis (very quick waltz)
Music choices that are not waltz but rather great for a FIRST DANCE:
Say you won't let go - James Arthur
From this moment - Shania Twain
All of me - John Legend
Thinking out Loud - Ed Shearan
Everything - Michael Buble
The way you look tonight - Frank Sinatra
You're beautiful - James Blunt
I do - Colbie Caillat
You make me feel my love - Adele
Marry Me - Train
(most other songs you could put in this category!)
So Brides To Be, now that you know the difference, you can feel comfortable asking your dance teacher to help you put together whichever is suitable for you. There is nothing wrong with either and obviously the more popular choice these days is something from the general top 40 pop genre (First dance). Thanks to the help of social media and youtube, the Flashmob wedding dance is now HUGE, as are mashups or mixing songs. The First Dance is no longer JUST Bride and Groom, (also Bride & Bride, or Groom & Groom); nor does it have to be romantic, more and more brides are opting for surprise fun dances and even funny dance routines. You can have your whole wedding party put on a very entertaining show. Groomsmen put on hilarious dance routines, alternatively the Bridesmaids have killed it on the floor. You can do Mother and Son dances or Father and Daughter dances too! The sky is the limit when it comes to what is acceptable for your Wedding Waltz or First Dance/Wedding Dance.
Now depending on whom you seek to be your teacher, will depend on what songs they accept! Ballroom studios like to use songs that fit a certain style for example foxtrot, rumba or waltz. Latin dance studios will like songs that fit bachata or cha cha or salsa. ME, Im pretty flexible as I can do all of these things, plus I have a background in jazz and commercial dance styles. If there really is a song I can't create to, I will probably speed or slow the tempo first before suggesting you choose something else! Good luck and happy dancing!