Best Dances for a Wedding Reception

Summer is here, and that also means wedding season is already upon us!  If you are just learning to dance specifically for a wedding, you may be wondering which kinds of dances you would need to know.  All dances can be useful for certain social situations and outings, but there some that are absolutely essential when it comes to being confident during a wedding reception.  If you expect to be pulled out on the dance floor during your friend or family member’s wedding (or your own), here’s a list of dances you will most definitely need to know and why you need to know them.  After reading this list, make sure you ask your dance instructor to get you up to speed on these dances, or sign up for a lesson if you haven’t started yet!



The most essential dance you should learn is the Rumba.  This one is easy to lean and is usually the first thing new students taught when they are just starting out.  The Rumba is a slow Latin dance that works well with most mid-tempo and slow songs that are typically played at weddings.  Since many love songs are typically this tempo, and because it’s not too hard for most people to pick up, you can see why Rumba would be the perfect dance for weddings.



While the Rumba works best for most slow songs, the Hustle is the go-to dance for most of the fast music at weddings.  Wedding DJs typically play a ton of popular Top 40 music, and Hustle is a dance that fits perfectly with that genre.  Like Rumba, it is easy to learn, lead, and follow along to.  There are also a good amount of underarm turns you can do in this dance which adds extra fun to it (just be careful and don’t make your partner dizzy)!



Some popular love songs are written with a ¾ time signature, meaning that the rhythm is counted in threes.  In that case, it’s best to dance a Waltz.  Unlike the other previously mentioned dances, this one is a progressive dance, meaning that it can travel around the dance floor.  Even though it is progressive, Waltz is still a slow dance where you can take your time while gliding across the floor.


Foxtrot and Swing

Sometimes wedding DJs will play big band classics from artists like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.  In this case, it would be good to know a dance like Foxtrot.  Foxtrot is also a progressive dance, so you and your partner will be able to add a little flair to the dance floor.  Additionally, East Coast Swing is another good dance that will work well with this genre of music.  Swing is bouncier and moves a bit faster than Foxtrot but is equally entertaining.  There are also other genres of music that work well with Swing, including rock and pop.


Bonus Dances:

Nightclub Two Step

This dance is another good one for mid-tempo songs, but if you’re dancing to a song that seems just a bit too fast for Rumba, Nightclub Two Step would be the best fit.  This dance is typically done to popular love ballads, and since that genre of music will certainly be played at weddings, this is a great dance to know.  It incorporates small rocking steps and gliding movements that will almost make you feel like you’re floating across the floor.



Bolero is a beautiful dance you can learn if you plan on dancing to very slow romantic songs.  Most slow music works well with a Rumba, however if a song feels way too slow for Rumba steps, this is where Bolero comes in.  Bolero, which is also a Latin dance, has drawn-out, sweeping motions and a slight rise and fall, similar to Waltz, which also gives it a nice, airy feeling.  If you have already learned Rumba and are feeling successful with it, you can try tackling Bolero!



This final dance is another great one to have in your back pocket.  If you are comfortable with Hustle, then you’ll likely have no problem picking up this dance, as it is fairly easy to do.  The Merengue is danced mainly in Dominican communities and Caribbean cruises or resorts, but it can also work with a lot of fast-paced pop music (It may also come in handy for a tropical destination wedding!).  The basic step of this dance is a quick 8-count marching step, so it’s not too difficult to lead or follow.  There are also various underarm turns in this dance that leads can easily initiate and follows complete with no trouble.


Happy Dancing!  ^_^