This month we look at first dance etiquette tips and alternative ideas for couples that prefer not to be in the spotlight

Typically, most couples save the first dance until after the sit-down dinner has finished, however some prefer to head straight to the dance floor at the start of the reception, which is quite often referred to as the grand entrance.

For the next dance, it is the turn of the bride and her father (or the person who gave her away), while the groom dances with his new mother-in-law. For those that decide to do their first dance at the start of the reception this should be done after the wedding breakfast. It is then the turn of the mother and father of the bride to dance, while the groom dances with this mother and then the groom’s parent’s dance with each other. The best man may then dance with the chief bridesmaid, and the bridesmaids. These can be for entire or partial songs, and finally all the wedding guests are invited up to the dance floor.

If either of you are feeling at all nervous about your first dance, you should both practice dancing to the song before your wedding. If the bride is wearing a long wedding dress or it has a train, she should ensure that a bustle is fitted to avoid tripping over it and also wear shoes that are comfortable for dancing. 

For those of you that want to be a bit more creative with your wedding dance, then you could take up dance lessons. You could start out with a slow shuffle and then break out into a humorous choreographed routine to really help kick-start the reception, alternatively surprise guests with a traditional ballroom dance.

If however, you both hate dancing then have your master of ceremonies or the DJ to invite the wedding party, family and friends to join you on the dance floor about 30 seconds into your first dance. This allows the photographer time to get a few of those all-important shots and takes the focus off you. 

The song for the first dance should be personal to the bride and groom, it does not necessarily have to be classically romantic either as long as it is of sentimental value. If couples are stuck for ideas there are plenty of suggestions online – from the classic to the quirky and contemporary.Of course, there is no reason why you should follow tradition at all, and there are many alternatives to the first dance, especially if you want to do something completely different. Whatever you do, choose something that reflects the both of your personalities.

If either of you are musically inclined for example you could perform a song that you have written for your better half, alternatively you could rent a trampoline and have the first bounce. Sporty couples could get the evening going with their favourite game (be it virtual such as Guitar Hero or a recreational activity like rounders) and then ask the entire wedding party to join in. 

And lastly, while the wedding and reception should be focused on you and your partner, bear in mind your guests when selecting the song list for your evening’s entertainment and think about including your parents, as well as the groom and chief bridesmaid in the song selection.