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Duet Dance Studio

2412 W North Ave., #201, Chicago, IL 60647

312.823.8199 |

Send us a message to schedule a lesson or ask any questions. We look forward to getting to know you and dancing with you soon! 


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2412 West North Avenue, Suite 201
Chicago, IL, 60647
United States


Duet Dance Studio Chicago offers ballroom dance lessons and wedding dance classes. We teach salsa, swing, tango and waltz dance lessons. Privately and in groups, for adults and kids.

How Long Should the First Dance Be?


Get useful tips on ballroom dancing and wedding dance preparation and watch tutorial videos created by Szewai Lee, founder of Duet Dance Studio.

How Long Should the First Dance Be?

Szewai Lee

Ever wonder how long your first dance or father-daughter dance should be at your wedding? In this blog post, you will find out all of the useful information regarding the length and etiquette for your first dance, father-daughter dance and mother-son dance. Let our wedding dance experts at Duet Dance Studio answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding wedding dances!

How Long Should the First Dance be?

The wedding first dance should be between 2.5 to 3 minutes long. From our experience, this amount of time gives you ample time to make your first dance magical and romantic without feeling too overwhelmed (all eyes will be on you) or boring your guests. Try rocking side to side to a full song that is more than 4 minutes long. Awkward, right? Even if you have a fully choreographed dance, dancing a minute in front of hundreds of guests can feel like forever. For professional dancers, it is rare that they dance more than 2 minutes. Notice most "Dancing with the Stars" routines are about 1.5 to 2 minutes long. So, what if your first dance song is more than 3 minutes long? It's simple. You can either have your DJ fade out the song or have your band play a shorter version of the song. 

How Long Should the Father-Daughter Dance or Mother-Son Dance Be?

The father-daughter dance or mother-son dance should be around 2 minutes long. Again, the key is to keep it short and sweet. Especially since the focal point of the reception should be the newlyweds, it is recommended that the parent dances to be shorter than the first dance of the bride and groom. That way, you can enjoy the sweet moments dancing with your parents without overshadowing the first dance. For those of you who feel awkward dancing with your parents, you can combine the father-daughter dance and mother-son dance (dancing to one song). That way, you will feel less stressed about being the center of attention.

What is the Order of Wedding Dances?

Nowadays, we usually see the bride and groom performing their first dance first followed by the father-daughter dance and then mother-son dance. However, back in the day, the father would first dance with his daughter and then "give her away" to her groom for the first dance. There's really no "right" way to do this. It's all up to you! Now, you might wonder when the dances should take place? Before dinner or after? That's also up to you. For those of you who are nervous about dancing in front of your guests may find it nice to "get it over with" sooner (before dinner). On the other hand, doing your first dance after dinner, specifically at the beginning of your reception, will set the tone of your reception and really get the party started!  

To Button or Not to Button?

This question might seem minute but we often get asked by groom-to-be. "Should I have my jacket buttoned or unbuttoned during the first dance?" The answer is again - "It's up to you!" We suggest practicing your dance moves with your jacket on. That way, you know what feels comfortable (buttoned or unbuttoned.) Since there is no strict rule on this, simply go with whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident dancing.

What are Some Simple Dance Steps that You Can Do at a Wedding?

Below are a couple of simple dance step that you can do to a majority of wedding dance songs. These steps work great for both first dance and parent dances. You can also speed up the steps or slow down your footwork to match the tempo of your song. 

Any other questions regarding wedding dances? Please comment below. Want to learn more useful dance steps? Click the button below.

Have fun dancing at your wedding!

Duet Dance Studio is a group of friendly dancers who are passionate about helping people and sharing the joy of ballroom dance. Our physical studio is located in Chicago West Bucktown. We offer ballroom dance lessonswedding dance instruction and private dance partiesOnline Wedding Dance Lessons and Skype dance lessons are also available! Dances we teach include Salsa, Swing, Tango, Bachata, Merengue, Waltz and Foxtrot. Sign up for an introductory dance lesson now to get started!