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Oh, to dance the night away. Do you remember the scene from My Fair Lady where Eliza "...could have danced all night"? You too can be like Eliza, dancing almost through the night of the wedding reception and having great fun at it. While dancing is a major component of most evening wedding receptions, you can spice up your reception by intermixing ethnic dances and music with the customary expected dances. In addition to the music and associated dances that are currently in vogue, why not include dances from your own ethnic background or bring in different ethnic traditional dances to add pizzazz and fun. Most bands and DJs have a repertoire of ethnic music and can teach the simple steps for dancing. You can do the Tarantella which is popular at Italian weddings or the Hora from Jewish weddings or a Mizerlou which is popular at Greek and Jewish weddings. The Mexican Hat Dance and dancing to La Bamba become festive for all guests no matter what background they have. In fact, one doesn't even have to know how to dance the steps to have a good time with any of these. But before getting wrapped up in the frenzy of some of these numbers, remember that there are a few traditional wedding reception dances. The First Dance is the first official dance of the newlyweds. This dance is often a slow dance to a song or melody that is special and meaningful to the couple. The bride and her father may then dance a father/daughter dance. Sometimes, the groom and his mother dance a mother/son dance. After these dances, the dance floor is opened up for the assembled guests and the world of music and dance awaits. Just plan your play list with the DJ or band ahead of time to make sure everything will flow smoothly. And let's not forget another traditional dance at many weddings. This would be the Money Dance or Dollar Dance. During this dance, guests put cash in the bride's purse or pin money to the bride's veil or the groom's tuxedo in exchange for the privilege of a dance with the bride or groom. Custom dictates that the money collected is used to insure that the couple has some cash to start their married life together. It can also be used for their honeymoon. There is no specific point during the reception for this dance, however, at a large wedding, sufficient time should be allowed for all interested guests to have their go on the dance floor. So, by the time you reach the Last Dance, the final dance of the wedding reception, your feet should be as tired as if you danced the night away.

Copyright 2007 by Mindy Makuta.


Mindy and her husband own a small resort in Lyons, Colorado where they host outdoor weddings and family reunions. For ideas on wedding music to go along with wedding dances, see Wedding Reception Music, on her web-site which covers topics of concern for before, during and after the wedding. They also publish http://www.168colorado.com, a site that helps plan Colorado family and mountain vacations, including referrals for where to stay and what to do when you get there.

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Dance the Night Away at Your Wedding  

In addition to the music and associated dances that are currently in vogue, why not include dances from your own ethnic background or bring...