The Importance of The Wedding Dance: Part 1

Dear Thriving Bride,

It is 36 days until my wedding, and I just got home from our second wedding dance class. We are both pretty good dancers, so we thought we could put a few of our moves in there, learn a few new moves and be good to go.  Well, we were wrong.  The truth is, I was wrong.  I don’t think PJ knew (or had any idea) about what to expect.  He said it would be fun to learn the Tango and I debated if I had a short enough dress in my closet.  He said maybe we could also talk to our instructor about dancing into the wedding instead of doing the regular mannequin wedding march, and I thought that was a great idea.  And then, today happened. Note to brides: PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO EVERY PART OF THE PREPARATION. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING THERE THAT WILL ENRICH YOUR RELATIONSHIP.

Today we arrived for class and I had prepared by sending a few songs we both liked to our instructor.  I was looking pretty fly in my black sequined fancy dress.  PJ insisted that I mention this part, so I will. The truth is, I wanted to wear something similar to my wedding gown so I could get a feel for moving in such a long dress.  We all listened to them and picked our top three.  And then we started to dance.  For the sake of clarity, let me back up here.  I am writing this just after returning from our class because I believe that there is nothing like documenting the real time experience of this wedding journey.  During our initial class last week, we just started dancing and PJ tried to turn me around and I went the other way. He flat out called me out when he said “she’s not letting me lead.”  And I flat out said “I am fine to let you lead, but I need you to lead so I am not confused.”  And these statements were goldmines for our instructor. She then proceeded to teach PJ how to lead with a few tricks of the trade.  I noticed that the more he understood what leading meant (and how to do it) the more he relaxed and allowed me to follow.

I hope you got all of that.  I am telling you all of this because just when you think that this process is all about the flowers and the color of your dress, you run right straight into reality and realize that it is about the relationship you want to have and build starting now.   I needed him to lead and to take charge, which is not the same as controlling.  Leading feels like he’s inviting me to share my life with him, and the dance is a metaphor.  In the dance, he’s letting me know that he’s got me and even if we fumble, he’s got me.

I’ve been waiting my whole life for someone to fully have my back.  As much as I love being a modern woman, I want the man I love to lead me, support me and protect me.  So, I said it! Usually, I am pretty laid back and am okay with not knowing what will come next.  For me, that’s pretty incredible considering the fact that I could not do this when I first left home and went to college.  But after the death of two brothers and the realization that life gives you opportunities to accept what it has to offer, I know I can’t control anything.

During this whole planning process, I’ve been very casual about many things and everything has worked out just fine.  For some reason, today was different .Today I thought that I had worked out my issues last week with the whole leading thing and then I ran right into another wall.  Actually, I will leave the word wall here because it is exactly what is true for me.  But in this moment there is also something else very true for me (and rewarding) as well.  Today, I ran right into a space that was waiting for me to find it and realize it needed to be healed.  I ran right into the way I felt when my parents said they would “have my back”, but instead they let me fall.  I ran right into unsigned permission slips and waiting many hours for someone to realize I was sitting in front of the school and pick me up.  I ran  into the space that allowed me to see my girl self and tell her “he’s got you.”

I also ran right into acknowledging how important dance is for me.  It is important for me to move, and to do that with my partner.  I ran into facing the fact that PJ and I have not done much of it because since I’ve known him he has dealt with a neurological condition that affects his leg.  The man I love walks with a cane, and he’s the one who suggested we take a class.  The man I love wants me to always know “he’s got me” even if he can’t do everything that he thinks he’s supposed to do, which includes dancing “like the other guys.”  I ran right into wondering how much we will dance and knowing that this man will do whatever it takes.  I ran right into space that was enough for me, for him and for all that we are and will become.

The instructor said that many couples come to her to save their marriage.  We are going to her to inspire ours. I am going to her to find a space where I can see myself clearly and love the woman I am becoming.  So dear brides, pay attention to this journey.  Pay attention to every moment.  Even if you are angry or scared, pay attention don’t be afraid to run into any wall that presents itself to you.  All of these things are like preventative medicine.  For us, it’s like going to the doctor before you are sick, so you don’t have to go later.  Why not do preventative wedding planning?  Don’t be afraid to run into walls or spaces.  Usually, you are running into yourself, and if you pay attention and listen to yourself, there will be so much to learn there.   So, I’ve got my dancing shoes off until next Monday, but  I absolutely look forward to the next dance!

Keep an eye out for Part 2.  I will be interviewing our dance instructor!



  • Maria

    really beautiful post. trying to save some tears for the actual day- stop making me cry!!! I, of course, have a very short, very perfect, dress for you to tango in….