When planning your reception timeline, one of the key questions is going to be when to do your first dance. Before dinner? After dinner?

I’ll start out by saying that your band or DJ are the experts here. When you meet with them to figure this out, they can give you specific advice that’s relevant to your personality, your venue and your guests. Here’s what my friend and top Pittsburgh wedding DJ Eric Schiemer has to say:

It mostly comes down to the type of audience you’d like.  You’ll have more of the guest’s focus when holding the first dance immediately after introductions.  After dinner, people will watch for the first minute or so, then shift their attention back to previous conversations or dessert.  While most couples I work with choose to hold the dance early, some who aren’t as comfortable in the spotlight prefer having it later in the evening when the atmosphere doesn’t feel as formal.

DJ Eric Schiemer

If you have your first dance before dinner, Eric suggests that other dances, like parents’ dances, are held after dinner, so that there is an event to kick the party off and get things going.

I feel having no dances after dinner can make it more awkward when getting the party started.  That is why I encourage people to leave the parents dances for later which transitions nicely into getting everyone up.

DJ Eric Schiemer

Remember, there are no right or wrong choices here. It’s only a matter of what you want and what feels right for your celebration. What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A dramatic choreographed first dance before dinner at the Carnegie Music Hall Foyer, with all the guests looking on from the balcony above.

Right after Katy and Gautam were announced into their reception, they wowed guests with this stunningly sensual tango.

A low-key first dance after dinner.