The Toni James Band have performed lots of first dance’s, beautiful ballads, upbeat songs, a waltz! One’s that have stuck out: 'Stay With You' by John Legend. The couple got married in the Caribbean and had a Wedding Party at The Lowry in Manchester. It was my 7 piece band performing and I had a male backing singer called Tim who joined me for this gorgeous song. The couple were both crying whilst dancing and I remember thinking, how am I going to get through this song without crying myself, it was so beautiful. The upbeat ones always get everyone going, we once performed ‘Love Machine’ by Artic Monkeys as the couple leaped around the dance floor, it was brilliant and it really created a party atmosphere. Most recently I was asked by a lovely couple to perform any upbeat number that would get everyone going, like a lot of couples they just didn’t have one song the could decided on. I picked ‘I Got A Feeling’ by Black Eyed Peas and the whole party went nuts, everyone dived on the dance floor and the groom ended up being thrown up in the air, it was just brilliant. This groom bounced higher than anyone I’ve ever seen. He was actually a bomb disposal expert and one of his fellow officer told me, he’s crazy, most of the bomb disposal team are! What a wedding, they continued to PARTY hard all night!
I often advise people, that if they really love the original track and the band they have booked don’t have that special song on their repertoire list, then maybe consider just sticking to dancing to the original song. Would you want a band to perform your song for the very first time, at such an important moment in your day. The band can still call you onto the dance floor and be waiting to kick off once the song has finished. For my wedding I had 3 bands, yes 3!! and we still chose to have the Stevie Wonder version of 'Knocks Me Off My Feet' because we LOVE Stevie.
I did a wedding in Scotland at a stunning venue called The Lodge and the wedding was actually rescheduled because the brides father had died. You could see everyone had had a lovely day, but over the speeches everyone had gotten upset. The first dance was really gorgeous 'The Way You Look Tonight' by Andy Williams, so beautiful in fact that I used the song on our wedding DVD. After this the wedding party danced all night, those Scots really knew how to party
Get your band to gather people around the dance floor for your first dance, this encourages people to join you, when the dance has finished.
Another bit of advise would be to have your first dance a good hour and a half after your night time guests arrive.. around 9/9.30. Have you ever arrived at an evening wedding and jumped straight on the dance floor? I think that people need to warm up(have a few drinks) before they throw some shapes.
I love a good choreographed dance routine for a first dance and I’ve seen quite a few, we were going to do one ourselves but I’m so glad we didn’t now cause I just would have been worried sick all day, oh and I wanted to do an American Smooth not taking into account the size of my dress!! But it can and does work cause I have seen some really cool ones.
The best thing about our ceremony ( apart from us getting married;) was our Gospel Choir. They were absolutely amazing and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. We had ‘Never Would Have Made It” by Marvin Sapp as I walked down the aisle, then a song called ‘Fate Street” that me and my husband wrote a few years before, ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ as we signed the register and then ‘Your Love Is Lifting Me Higher’ Jackie Wilson as we danced out of the room. It really was a truly amazing ceremony.