Thursday, April 24, 2008

Choosing An Instructor

What is the difference between a wedding dance specialist and a general ballroom dance teacher? Your goals. One of the problems with selecting a standard dance studio or instructor is that they view wedding couples as "lost leads." This is because the wedding couple has a short term goal - - the wedding, which does not usually lead them to take very many lessons. Keep these facts in mind when you call or go into a studio:

Experience of the instructor: Since wedding couples generally purchase small packages (less than 20) many studios have their most inexperienced instructors teach the wedding couples. Our instructors have been specially trained for the unique needs of wedding couples and are all competition or performance level dancers. Dance lessons are as important as any other service you might hire for your wedding. You have every right to ask how long your instructor has been teaching. Would you want to hire a chauffeur who just moved to the area, got his license last week and has never driven the limo before?

The Teacher: The personality, demeanor, image, teaching style are all important factors to consider when selecting a dance teacher. Just because they are good dancers does not guarantee that they will be good teachers. The teacher must genuinely enjoy working with beginners and ideally have compassion and understanding of the unique pressures that wedding planning involves.

Click here to see our staff bios.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Is a Dance "Crash Course" Worth it?

People often ask us:

Is it worthwhile to take a “crash course" of just a couple lessons if we've procrastinated?


We are the only dance company that GUARANTEES a wedding dance in one lesson! Just be sure to let us know you only plan to take one in advance and limit the attendance to one couple and one dance style.

We do our best to accommodate last minute requests and believe that even ONE lesson is better than resorting to the “high school prom sway.” We will focus exclusively on your wedding dance, give you a lovely entrance, help you move as a team around the room and a lovely finale and exit off the floor. These are the three components that your guests will remember most.

All components of the dance are uniquely customized to your song and your personal style. We also provide an optional complimentary crinoline dress rehearsal and in-class videotaping for you to evaluate the final product.

Testimonial: "Our appointment with Jim went great...we just met with him once to get some ideas to incorporate into our song. He gave us many good tips and it was amazing how much he was able to fit into an hour!" Thanks, Debbie Vanetti and Mike Platz, July 2005

See more testimonials:  The Wedding Dance Specialists success stories.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How Many Dance Lessons Do We Need?

The most common question we hear about wedding dance lessons is invariably:

How many dance lessons do we need to look good at our wedding?

While we GUARANTEE that in one lesson you'll have a complete wedding first dance and look much better than if you never took a lesson, the average couple takes about 4-7 lessons (that's our most popular selling package).

Here's some advice to decide how many lessons you'll need.

Determine what your dancing goals are first. This will affect when you start and how many lessons you choose. Don't worry too much about time constraints when considering quantity because we can offer double sessions. Once you have determined your goals, we can better advise you as to how many lessons we recommend for your individual needs.

Consider the following:
  • Do you want to learn enough just to "survive" the wedding dance?
  • Do you want to have an interesting variety of moves for the wedding dance?
  • Are you participating in additional Honors Dances?
  • Do you plan on fast dancing during the general reception?
  • Do you want to learn to dance in general at future social events?
  • Do you want to enjoy a dinner/dancing date night with your fiance(e) during the wedding planning process?
  • Do you want to share dancing as a hobby even after the wedding?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

7 Tips to Ease the Discomfort from Your Wedding Dance Shoes

Formal wedding shoes are notoriously uncomfortable. The ideal solution is to purchase formal wedding ballroom dance shoes from a ballroom dance catalog or online. In addition to being generally more comfortable and softer than street shoes, these shoes have suede on the bottom to provide traction and slickness simultaneously. Elegant nude colored and dyeable white satin are available for women and sometimes offer adjustable width options. Black patent leather are more comfortable than typical tuxedo rental shoes for men. The arches of all ballroom shoes are supported with a steel shank and the soles are pliable and bendable to minimize sore feet and maximize your balance during dancing.

Here are a few tricks to ease your discomfort:

1) For slippery leather soles, scuff the bottoms on cement.

2) Use Dr. Scholl's "moles skin" pads wherever blisters may develop (Achilles’ heel, bunion, knuckles)

3) Use “moles skin pads” to make a loose shoe fit more snugly. (example: Low on heel for loose heels)

4) If you select shoes that do not hold your ankle in place with a strap like Mules, sling backs, or pumps you can use a nude or white colored elastic band or rubber strap to slip over your shoe and arch to hold the shoe securely on your foot. You can make these straps or order them from ballroom dance shoe catalogs or online.

5) To manage sore feet, bring a second pair of shoes with a different size heel, either higher or lower. Wedding sneakers or slippers are a comfortable alternative and a new trend.

6) If there is room in your shoes for padded inserts, wear them. Avoid the liquid gels as they may leak ink and damage your shoes and dress.

7) If your feet hurt at the end of the night, rinse them alternately with cool water then warm water, while massaging them. You can also rub a mentholated or peppermint foot cream on them to increase blood circulation.

We hope these tips help.  While we can't guarantee that your feet won't hurt, we can guarantee that if you take dance lessons with us, at least you won't be stepping on each other's toes!


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Dancing and Romancing!

During the hectic months of planning your wedding, some of the most fun you can have is when you take time out to be with each other and learn a new skill.  Many of our students turn their weekly dance lessons into a dinner date.  What's better than dinner and dancing, after all?

Learning to dance for your wedding is important but also useful! It is a skill you can keep and use after the wedding! The cake is done once everyone has their piece.  However, you can use your new skills in creative ways and unusual places to enjoy the spice of life and keep the honeymoon alive! Opportunities to dance will present themselves, when they do – live in the moment! If there is room and there is music, there can be dancing!

You can use your dancing while listening to a live band, attending a casual or formal social event, at a dance studio practice party, on cruises, in bars and nightclubs, at dance competitions, outside among nature or even in your own living room! If you are really in a spontaneous mood, you can even use dancing to kill time in a crowded parking lot after a show by blasting your car stereo with your favorite music and dancing until the traffic eases. Dancing is not just a skill but a lifelong opportunity to turn a mundane or even aggravating situation into a magical moment!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Selecting Your DJ or Band for Your Wedding Day


Make sure you have heard your band or DJ's style in advance. Ask for referrals and follow up to see if other customers were satisfied with their services. Check their play list and ask for a cassette or CD of their music. DJ's have different styles, some are able to motivate the crowd while staying behind the scenes, others are highly visible and interact with the crowd, teach line dances, give out party favors, etc…Additionally, to guarantee your favorite songs are played, provide a list of “MUST PLAY” songs. To prevent inappropriate or unfavorable songs from being played on your special day, provide a “PROHIBITED SONGS” list.


Find out what is included in the band's repertoire so that there are no surprises or disappointments. Most bands and DJ's have a song list. Some bands may specialize in a particular genre like Rock & Roll or Big Band music. To create different moods, some weddings incorporate a live trio during the ceremony, one instrumentalist during the cocktail hour and a DJ during the reception. With enough notice, the band may be willing to learn a song (maybe two) by special request. But it would be unrealistic to expect them to change their entire repertoire.


Look into the various pricing options. If a large band is not within your budget, a smaller sub grouping may give you a similar sound at a more affordable rate.


Verify that the music played during your dance presentations is the same version as what you have practiced. Be aware that intentional tempo variations in a song is a method band's use to express their unique style. Before signing a contract, ensure that the band agree to play your song at your preferred tempo provided you give them some advanced notice so that they can be prepared. Your dance instructor can figure out how many measures or beats per minute there are in a particular song. A slight modification in tempo is not difficult to adjust to but more than 5 measures per minute can make a dramatic difference in one's ability to dance comfortably. Another simple solution is to email a digital copy to the band to listen to or snail mail a CD.


 Ask your bridal coordinator or Best Man to bring the DJ an extra copy of your wedding song on CD. Make sure you have clearly labeled the song - "FIRST DANCE # x" so that there is no confusion. Providing the DJ with the song is a good idea because the DJ may have a different version of the same song and not realized it.

The Wedding Dance Specialists provide complimentary bridal consulting services by pre-screening the area's top wedding vendors. Most of these vendors do not normally offer discounts but due to our strong professional rapport they have allowed us to negotiate a special offers that are exclusively for the benefit of our clients and website visitors. In order to redeem these exclusive discounts please let the vendor know we referred you by printing this page and present it to the vendor upon purchase of their products or services (in cases where prices are not posted, it is suggested that you present coupon after a price has been quoted).

Click here for the special offer discounts from top D.C. area wedding vendors.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Choosing a Great Song for Your Wedding Dance

Most Wedding Dance Song lists are based on popularity alone.  Often times couples will chose a song they love without considering the lyrics.  Examples of this type of song are the song from "Titanic" and "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston.  It is a beautiful song and a popular choice for weddings.  However, they contain lines like, "My heart will go on," and "I'm not what you need." These forsee the end of the relationship and therefore are innappropriate for a wedding song which should be upbeat and celebrate the couple.

Unsure of which song to pick?  Check out our extensive song suggestion list.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Your Vision for Your Wedding Dance Debut

The first step in getting what you want from your dance lessons is knowing what you want. Imagine the mood you want to feel and project as you are dancing. Do you want your dance to look simple and elegant? Classic and traditional? Peppy and cheerful? Sensual and romantic? Elaborate and Showy? Make sure you share your vision with your instructor.

At The Wedding Dance Specialists, we've got some of the best dance instructors around.  With multiple locations throughout the metro-D.C. area, there's sure to be a location to fit your needs.  

We founded the company as an engaged couple and our vision of our first dance was an exotic and sensual expression of our love.  That's why we chose the Argentine Tango.  Click here to view a video of our first dance.