How to Survive Your Father Daughter Wedding Dance

By Azure Nelson, Published Sep 10, 2009

In movies, the father/daughter dance always looks so beautiful: There are flashbacks and fuzzy camera work, everyone cries tears of joy. In reality though, it can be stressful, even if you don’t have a “complicated” family relationship. The truth is, most of us don’t have a lot of practice dancing with our dads, and a lot of dads don’t like to dance. Here are some tips on how to survive your father/daughter dance. 1) Talk to your dad Find out how your dad feels about this. Maybe he wants to take some dance lessons, maybe he wants to practice ahead of time, maybe he wants to skip the whole thing. Knowing how he feels will help you make the rest of your decisions. 2) Pick the right song. Most people, even if they don’t like to dance, can manage to sway in place for a few minutes if you pick a song with the right tempo. Talk to your wedding coordinator, or band leader for suggestions, or check out our list from yesterday. 3) Keep it short If you or your dad feels uncomfortable, you only have to dance alone for a few seconds, make sure the photographer takes pictures quickly, then have your groom ask his or your mother to dance. Let a few other relatives know that this is the signal to join in the dancing. This will take the focus off of you and dad. 4) Go ethnic If you’re having traditional or ethnic dancing at your wedding, make sure you and your dad are standing near each other at some point, and have the photographer snap photos. There’s something about folk dancing that lets even the worst dancers shine. My dad can’t manage a simple waltz, but he can do the hora with the best of them! 5) Take it down a notch As I said, my dad can’t dance, and he hates to dance, but he did want to dance with me at my wedding. So, we just didn’t make it a big deal. We agreed that instead of opening with or announcing a father/daughter dance, he would just pick a time and ask me to dance. It turns out that the time was “My Old Kentucky Home,” which was admittedly weird, but since I’m from Kentucky, strangely appropriate. I warned the photographer ahead of time that he would need to keep an eye out for this. One final note, just because your dad isn’t a dancer, doesn’t mean your mom isn’t! If your mom likes to dance, make sure your groom, the best man, and other polite young men ask her to dance. Are you worried about the father/daughter dance? Tomorrow, a little Father’s Day quiz!

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