Wedding Preparation

Nothing gets a wedding reception off to a fun start better than a fantastic first dance. No matter what your style- from classy and elegant to wildly entertaining- Mary will work with you to create a first dance that captures your personalities and will have your guests raving for years to come. Her first dance choreography has even been featured in the Wall Street Journal and on several viral video shows.


In order to schedule a private lesson, please call Mary at (323) 828-2420. Time and location will depend on your availability and location as well as studio and instructor availability. Most private lessons are booked a week or more in advance, however same day appointments are sometimes available.

Payments can be made by cash or check.

How Many Lessons Will We Need?

Private lessons may be purchased on a lesson per lesson basis or in packages of five or ten lessons. Most couples who are preparing for their first dance purchase a package of ten lessons. If you want choreography for your first dance and to learn the basics to some other dances. I recommend purchasing two sets of ten lessons.


If you should need to cancel your lesson, at least 24 hour voice notification by phone is required. You must speak to Mary or leave a voicemail at (323) 828 - 2420. Neither text messages, faxes, nor e-mails count as notification. If you cancel less than 24 hours prior to your scheduled start time, you will be charged the standard fee for a private lesson.

Additional Servicesfirst dance

• Fun and easy group dance lessons at
the reception to get guests on their feet.

• Choreographed Performances.

• Professional dancers to dance with guests during the reception.
Out of town wedding? Dancers are also available to fly in for your big day.

Gift certificates are available and make great wedding gifts!

Picking Your Music

Look for a song with a medium tempo. Often people make the mistake of picking an extremely slow song. Really slow songs are sometimes even harder to dance to than really fast songs. If it makes you want to move, it's probably a great song to dance to. If it makes you want to grocery shop or take a ride in an elevator, it may be too slow.

Don't be afraid to pick a song that isn't a waltz or foxtrot. The song should represent your personality as a couple. I have choreographed great first dances that were to R&B, rumba, salsa, tango, pop, cha-cha, hustle and musical theatre songs. What matters most is that you love the song. If you love the song, it will show when you are dancing. If you are having fun while dancing then your guests will love the song too, no matter what the style.

Some Song Ideas

For The Happy Couple
"Exactly Like You" - Abby Lincoln
"Thinking Out Loud" Ed Sheeran
"Fly Me To The Moon" - Frank Sinatra
"At Last" - Etta James
"This Will Be" - Natalie Cole
"All My Life" - K-Ci & JoJo
"I Could Write A Book" - Harry Connick, Jr.
"The Look of Love" - Diana Kroll
"Unforgettable" - Nat & Natalie Cole
"The Best Is Yet To Come" - Nancy Wilson
"Till There Was You" - Peggy Lee
"Come Away With Me" - Norah Jones
"That's Amore" - Dean Martin
"I Will Be Here" - Steven Curtis Chapman
"Truly, Madly, Deeply" - Savage Garden
"It had to be You" - Harry Connick Jr.
"The Way You Look Tonight" - Frank Sinatra
"Give Me Forever" - (I Do) John Tesh & James Ingram
"Cheek To Cheek" - Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald
"I Wanna Grow Old With You" - Adam Sandler
"I Could Spend My Lifetime Loving You" - Mark Anthony & Tina Arena
"An Affair To Remember" - ("Our Love Affair")- Nat King Cole
"From This Moment On" - Shania Twain & Bryan White

first danceFather/Daughter Dance

"I Loved Her First" - Heartland
"My Girl" - The Temptations
"Isn’t She Lovely" - Stevie Wonder
"Daddy" - Beyoncé
"Wind Beneath My Wings" - Bette Midler
"Because You Loved Me" - Celine Dion
"You are the Sunshine of My Life" - Stevie Wonder

Mother/Son Dance

"I Hope You Dance" - Lee Ann Womack
"A Song For Mama" - Boys II Men
"When a Boy Falls in Love" - Sam Cooke
"Wind Beneath My Wings" - Bette Midler
"Because You Loved Me" - Celine Dion

Wedding Party

"Love Shack" - B-52's
"Lean on Me" - Bill Withers
"You've Got A Friend In Me" - Randy Newman
"I've Got Friends in Low Places" - Garth Brooks
"That's What Friends are For" - Dione Warwick, etc.

Featured Dances

Often family members and friends of the engaged couple also want to take dance lessons in preparation for the big day. It is very common for parents and members of the wedding party to take dance lessons prior to the wedding. Usually anyone with a featured dance (Father-Daughter, Mother-Son, Parents of the Brides or Grooms) will want to take some private lessons together or get special choreography prior to the wedding day. A fun way for members of the wedding party to prepare for the celebration is to take semi-private dance lessons (three or more people) together.

Editing Your Music

For your first dance remember to "KISS" (Keep It Short and Sweet). I tell all of my clients to edit their music down to 1.5 to 2 minutes- at most. You will be surprised at how long that seems when all eyes are on you. When you watch professional ballroom dancers competing on television, do you notice how they fade their music out after about a minute and a half? Five minutes of the same song gets boring to watch even when you are watching professional dancers. The last thing you want is for everyone watching to be grinning politely through their teeth thinking, “Is this song ever going to end?"

Before I begin editing a song, I always print out the lyrics. This gives me a better understanding of the structure of the song and alerts me to repeated words that I can splice together to make a cut mid phrase. When possible, I like to use the real beginning of the song and the real ending. Usually I cut out a big middle chunk so there is only one cut in the song. Most often I tack on the ending mid word, towards the end of the second phrase. For example, if the song is written in anAABA form, I will usually edit it so that it's goes AA. I use the free user friendly program Audacity to edit all my music.

Coaching Your Partner

Never correct your dance partner. Your partner will take direction much better from the professional who has been hired to teach the two of you. Most of the time your partner knows they made a mistake and just needs some practice to get it right. If you are repeatedly having the same problem in rehearsals, privately ask your dance instructor to work on it during your next lesson. Have fun and do your best to make your partner look good.

When to have the "First Dance"

Your first dance should be done as soon as you arrive at your reception. Have the DJ introduce you and go straight for the dance floor. An exciting first dance can set a festive tone to the night and serve as a conversation starter for guests who don't know each other. It is tradition that no one is allowed on the dance floor until the happy couple have had their first dance together. Having the first dance at beginning of the night opens up the floor for cute flower girls and adorable ring bearers to freely twirl around while their parents are finishing their meals. Also, it's always best to have the first dance done before the champagne kicks in.

Wardrobe Tips For Brides

I recommend you remove your veil before doing your "First Dance". If it is long, it may get caught under the Groom's hand on your back. When is comes to hem lines err on the side of being too short. No one looks good tripping on their gown. At your fitting, try doing your choreography in your dress. Are you able to walk backward without stepping on the dress? How big of a step can you take in it? Let your choreographer know about any potential problems you may have dancing in the dress. The choreography can always be altered to accommodate the gown. Depending on the cut of your gown, you may need to hold the skirt during parts of the dance like Cinderella at the ball with Prince Charming. Practice in a skirt with a similar cut to your wedding gown and in comfortable shoes with the same heel height as your reception shoes. Ideally, you will purchase dance shoes for your first dance. Many women's dance shoes come in white satin. They can be easily dyed any color, so you can get lots of use out of them on your future dancing date nights.