Personal – Dancing at Weddings

Photo by Nan PalmeroCC BY 2.0
Photo by Nan Palmero CC BY 2.0

The Boy and I were at a wedding this weekend for a good friend of mine, and at the cocktail hour before the reception began, a small group of us stood around talking about the evening ahead.  We were excited about dinner, about meeting more of the bride and groom’s friends, but mostly , we were excited about dancing.  One friend looked at me and asked, “Will you be out on the dance floor?” and I said in all seriousness, “Dancing at weddings is my favorite.  You better believe I’ll be out there!”

And what I told him is the truth – I love to dance, but the problem is figuring out where to do it.  Obviously I could dance in my own home, and yeah, I do sometimes.  But there’s just something different about being surrounded by 100+ people, with a drink or two in you that makes you feel free.  Some of you smart alecks out there might say, “But what about dance clubs?”  To that I say, people who go to clubs are usually there on a mission and it’s to hook up.  Since I’m happily ensconced in my relationship, dancing at clubs doesn’t appeal.  So what kind of semi-public gathering with a little bit of liquid courage is left to me?  Weddings.

Firstly, you’ve got the joy of the occasion – your friend or family member has just made a joyous commitment.  You and everyone else want to celebrate!

Secondly, at least for me, you don’t know even half the people at a wedding most of the time, and will never see them again.  So in addition to the loosening of inhibition that an open bar provides, you’ve got the fact that if you embarrass yourself in front of large group, chances are you’ll never see them again.  There might be photographic evidence somewhere, but if my sister’s wedding is any indication, they’re not going to keep the ones where you’re making a completely ridiculous face mid-move.  No – they’ll choose the one where you look happy and enthusiastic and that’s what will be kept forever.  The rest get dumped in the digital trash.

Thirdly, it’s fun.  Letting loose and moving your body to the music feels primal.  And for someone like me who has very generic taste in music, and who tends to remember words to a lot of top-40 type stuff, this is my wheelhouse.  The kind of music that gets played at weddings is fairly standard, so you’re not likely to get hit with something you don’t recognize or can’t dance to.  It’s also a great place to try out new dance moves, because even if you are afraid of looking silly, the number of people who are looking at you is minimal.  They’re looking at the bride and groom, or they’re looking at that other person over there who is attempting to break-dance in the middle of a circle.  Bust your newest move with abandon, and without fear of mockery.

Finally, I find it’s a pretty good workout.  If you’re having a few drinks, plus appetizers, plus a two course dinner, and cake to top it all off, you’ve just consumed a lot of calories.  You can either let them sit and form a lump in your stomach, or you can put all that food energy to good use, and burn up the dance floor.  I find that the sooner I need to put my hair up in a ponytail, the sooner I feel my makeup dripping down my face, the better the dancing has been, and the better workout it is.  Again – don’t worry about looking nice – there were lots of other occasions for pictures pre-dancing, and chances are if you haven’t posed for something by the time you’ve been cutting a rug for an hour, you won’t have to.  And if you do, everyone else will be a sweaty mess as well.

My main tip for those who also love to dance at weddings is this: once you’ve started dancing, you should probably cut back on drinking.  You’re going to be overheated and sweating, so what you really need is water, and plenty of it.  Wedding venues tend to be pretty good at refilling water glasses, but if they’re not, keep an eye peeled for a pitcher of ice water on a tray, or ask your friendly bartender.  If you want something a little fancier that looks like a drink, ask for seltzer water.

Do I think I would dance with abandon at my own wedding?  Probably not.  When you’re the bride, everyone’s eyes are on you all the time.  I’m just introverted enough that this would mortify me, and I don’t need evidence of the ridiculous faces I make while dancing, either through the comments of those in attendance, or through the many pictures a photographer would take.  It’s kind of funny the things that you love for other people, but don’t necessarily want for yourself.  Luckily, I’m at the age where my friends are still getting married, and I have at least two events in the next year or so where I will probably be given the chance to let loose on the dance floor once again.

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