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Does The Bride Dance With Her Father First?

The dances that take place during the wedding reception could not be more iconic. The bride and groom dance typically becomes one of the memorable moments of the day. But what about the bride-father dance? When does this take place and how does this fit into the schedule? Does it happen first or come much later in the sequence of events? Here is what you need to know.

So, does the bride dance with her father first? Typically, the bride-father dance will come second. Instead, it is traditional for the bride to dance with the groom first. The bride-father dance is also optional. But if it does go ahead, the groom is expected to dance with the bride’s mother at the same time.

There’s actually a traditional order to the dances at a wedding.

We’ll soon take a closer look at it.

And while this may sound rather rigid, it does give those family and bridal party members some direction as to when it will be ‘their turn’.

And its not set in stone either.

The order can certainly be changed according to the preferences of the couple.

Nevertheless, you probably have some further questions about the father-daughter dance and the rest of the schedule.

So without further ado, let’s get you the answers you need!

How Long Do Father-Daughter Dances Last?

Father-daughter dances tend to only last for between 1-2 minutes. It is advised to purposefully keep it short so that the focus remains on the bride and groom.

Of course, the bride and groom dance should have preceded it.

And it is important that this moment is not overshadowed, nor the father-daughter dance goes on for too long that it starts to look odd, or feel strange.

Typically, the father-daughter dance is one that should signify a moment, rather than being an extended event.

Do You Have To Do The Father-Daughter Dance?

You do not have to have a father-daughter dance at your wedding. Some brides choose against it, whereas other brides may not be able to share this moment due to personal circumstances.

Equally, some brides decide to dilute the attention of this dance, but ensuring the groom is dancing with their mother at the same time.

Either way, it is ultimately up to the bride, and potentially her father, to decide.

While this dance is traditional, it certainly is not mandatory.

And you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so because of tradition either.

There are some instances where it may not be appropriate.

Others at all possible.

The important thing here is that everyone is comfortable.

The dance should be meaningful – so if a bride does not share a good relationship with her father it is probably advised not to have it altogether.

Whatever you decide, it is best to keep the communication open in advance.

If you can speak with your father in advance.

Be upfront, set expectations, and leave nothing to interpretation or to the day itself!

What Is A Good Father And Daughter Song?

A good father-daughter song is one that is meaningful, upbeat, sentimental, and appropriate!

If do you decide to have a father-daughter dance, then you’re going to need to choose the right song for it!

Of course this will vary from bride to bride, but here is a good way of trying to find a song:

  • Consider memories shared with your father surrounding a particular song
  • Find a song that resonates with you both, and that you both like
  • Consider the lyrics and what the song is trying to say
  • Consider the tone and beat of the song,
  • Consider the theme of the wedding.

Here are 5 songs that appear to be particularly appropriate:

  • Dance with my father – Luther Vandross
  • Lean on me – Bill Withers
  • Thank You – Dido
  • You’re My Best Friend – Queen
  • Come Fly With My – Frank Sinatra

That should give you some starters and help you get thinking.

Besides its certainly a challenge to find the right song.

You want something moving and emotional; but not too much.

Chances are, you are not going to practice it with your father so it’s going to be relatively off-the-cuff anyway.

This doesnt necessarily mean you have to go for a slow, romantic song – but these tend to be the most common.

Whatever you choose be sure to enjoy this special moment.

Does The Bride Dance With The Grooms Father?

It is not traditional nor typical for the bride to dance with the groom’s father. Although, it has been known to happen organically and without planning. Equally some brides may decide this is something they want to do and plan it into the schedule.

This is actually relatively uncommon.

You will not see this in your typical dance order schedule.

That being said, we are all different.

Circumstances and relationships are all very unique too.

Thus, there is no rule or reason to say that the bride could not dance with her partners father.

That being said, it’s essential to get the music right and ensure that everyone is comfortable.

It generally helps that everyone is versed in advance.

What Is The Order Of Dances At A Wedding?

Wedding dances traditionally follow a particular and set order.

However, it is ultimately up to the bride and groom to decide when they would like each dance to take place.

Of course, it’s essential that the wedding party is notified ahead of time!

Here is the traditional ordering:

  1. First Dance – Bride and Groom
  2. Second Dance – Father-Daughter Dance (Father of the bride and bride). Sometimes, the groom and mother of the bride will dance with one another during this time.
  3. Third Dance – Brides Father and Brides Mother
  4. Fourth Dance – Groom and grooms mother.
  5. Fifth Dance – Groom and grooms parents
  6. Sixth dance and onwards – The best man and/or groomsmen may dance with the bride, groom with the bridesmaids. This can be for a full song or part of a song.

From here, the rest of the wedding guests will typically take to the dance floor and everyone will be dancing.

Consider that this is just a general, traditional ordering.

Circumstances may cause the order to differ somewhat or mean that changes are required.

What is important is that everyone has fun, is fully comfortable and that everyone can share a moment celebrating the marriage of the bride and groom.



That’s when the bride and father dance traditionally takes place.

And it doesn’t typically last long either. Just a couple of minutes.

Then again, this is not a dance that all brides can have, or will want.

So it may or may not happen at every wedding.

That is something you will ultimately need to decide.

Nevertheless, keep communication open, clear and be sure to have those conversations as early in advance of the wedding.

People need to set their expectations, understand their roles.

This is not something that ever should, nor needs to take place on the eve of a wedding.

Or worse – the wedding day itself!

Have other questions related to the first dance? Then you may want to check out my other articles: