Monday, June 25, 2012

...With Somebody Who Loves Me

{This is the first post about specific wedding details that some of our guests may wish to be surprised by.  If you are coming to our wedding and don't want to know ahead of time our plans for the first dance, please don't read any further!}

I've mentioned a couple of times that I used to be a dancer.  "Used to be" as in I have not actually performed on a stage for an audience since high school and I am so out of shape it's not even funny.  I tried out for the student-run dance company at Tech as a freshman, and honestly it's a good thing that I didn't make it- I needed someone to officially inform me that while ballet was my entire life before college, I needed to grow up and focus on things I'm actually good at.  Besides, I wouldn't have been able to maintain my B-average in mechanical engineering if I had spent 3 to 4 nights a week in dance class or if I had spent exam week rehearsing for end-of-semester performances.  Nevertheless, I miss it terribly, and every year without fail I find myself getting teary-eyed during the audition episodes of So You Think You Can Dance because although I am a successful recent college graduate with a well-paying, steady job, I find myself envious of the bubbly 18-year-old on television that is about to begin a career doing exactly the thing that makes her heart the happiest because in addition to the passion, she's also been blessed with the body and the talent to have such a career.

A few times over the past few years, I've signed up for adult ballet classes offered by local studios, and each time I've been the only student in the class who didn't have a daughter in the high school company.  Yes, there is a satisfaction in standing at a barre and receiving gentle corrections from a very nice, if slightly disinterested instructor, but at the end of the day, what I loved most about dance growing up was not the exercise it provided, but the chance to perform.  For me, dance just isn't as much fun unless I'm putting on a show, sharing my passion with other people.

Enter: social dancing.

Sophomore year, my friends and I took a few free lessons from the salsa club and the swing club.  The crowd at the swing dances quickly proved to be way more laid back and fun than the sometimes-conceited salsa crowd, and when I went to DC for my co-op job that spring semester, my friends- especially my now-bridesmaid MrsL- got REALLY in to swing dancing.  For the rest of my time at Tech, I spent most of my Friday nights at the YMCA on Main Street learning new tricks in East Coast and West Coast style swing, Lindy Hop, Charleston, and Blues.  My friends and I took a few lessons from the ballroom club, too, so I'm competent enough to follow a good lead in foxtrot and waltz, though just barely.  Granted, following the whims of a lead's imagination in the middle of a crowded dance floor is not quite the same as performing choreography on a brightly lit stage in front of a packed theater in an obnoxious costume with the team you've been rehearsing with for a year...but it's equally fun!

What does all this have to do with wedding planning?

Well, while Mr. Geek is not necessarily a dance prodigy, and while we won't be taking formal dance lessons, the dancing at our reception is a Very Big Deal.  It's our goal to have people on the dance floor for the entire reception, and we hope to accomplish this by providing a playlist full of everything from Rihanna to Michael Buble in the hopes that, even if it's just the Middle School Sway, everyone will have a chance to show off their best moves.

This also means that we want the important dances- our first dance and our dances with our parents- to be more than just your typical awkward Standing There Hugging while also not falling into the realm of Stiff, Lifeless, Over-rehearsed Choreography That was Probably Too Advanced to be Feasible Anyway.

How do we hope to achieve this?

We're going to choose unique yet danceable music, and while I won't be choreographing anything firm for the dances with our parents, I do want to at least teach Mr. Geek and my dad a few simple, sweet moves to get them through the three minutes in the spotlight.  (Don't worry, I'm totally choreographing something for our first dance.  It's going to be epic.  Easy, but epic.)

Not all of our music choices are set in stone quite yet, but here's a taste of what we're looking at:

Before we got engaged, when I'd envisioned a fairytale-themed wedding (motivated by the Disney World honeymoon), I wanted our first dance to be "So This is Love" from Cinderella:

I know what you're thinking- "Gee, bet Mr. Geek wasn't exactly on board with that!"

Weeeeeell, you see, Mr. Geek has great taste in music- he really does- but his favorite music isn't necessarily stuff you can dance too.  (Aside from the electronic stuff he likes- although that stuff isn't exactly First Dance material.)  So I played him this song, pointed out that it's only 1 minute 27 seconds long, and that if we devolve into the Middle School Sway it really won't be that bad.  My logic prevailed, and so up until recently, this song has been mentally labeled as our First Dance song.

A couple of months ago, someone was asking me about wedding planning, and she asked if, since dance is my Thing, I was going to choreograph some long, silly routine to a medley of songs like the ones that are popular on the internet.  I said I hadn't really thought about it, and at the first available moment, I asked Mr. Geek his opinions.  He said that, while it would be really fun, he kind of wants our first dance to be...serious.  Not necessarily train-for-years-under-Russian-ballroom-instructors-serious, just a-distinct-lack-of-pop-songs-serious.  Fair enough.

But the idea of choreographing a big number stuck with me, so I went hunting through my music collection for something suitable.  Apparently I have an awful lot of Disney music on my computer because this is what stuck out at me:

(Obviously the song track cuts out the dialogue bits.)

I envisioned this huge (but simple, I swear!) dance routine involving our whole bridal party, where we all dance around and then suddenly when Prince Phillip starts to sing, Mr. Geek cuts in and everyone else slips away...I started explaining my vision to Mr. Geek and just as the words were coming out of my mouth I realized how very, very complicated this would be.  And overly theatrical.  Which is very, very me, don't get me wrong, but it's not very very us.

Cinderella it is, then.

But wait!

On our Epic Road Trip to Alabama for the Week of Wedding Work, we listened to my music collection on shuffle for a bit (to take a break from The Lord of the Rings audio book) and this song made an appearance.  I've heard this song a million times, but apparently I've never listened to the lyrics:

"They're wedding vows!" I blurted out.


"Play it again!"

All I want is for you to be happy and
Take this moment to make you my family and
Finally you have found something perfect and


Want to treasure the rest of your days here and
Give you pleasure in so many ways, dear, and
Finally you have found something perfect and


Do you want me to show up for duty and
Serve this woman and honor her beauty and
Finally you have found something perfect and
Finally you have found
With me, will
Agree to take
This man
Into your world
And now
We are as one

Red Hot Chili Peppers are Mr. Geek's favorite band.  He's seen them live three times- the third was just a month ago, courtesy of a Valentine's gift from yours truly (it was my first time seeing them live).

We got there really, really early so we wouldn't miss anything // {personal photo}

I realize this song doesn't sound like your typical First Dance song, but what about this wedding really looks or sounds like your typical wedding?

The jury's still out on what we're going to dance to.  "Hard to Concentrate" is a beautiful song and certainly unique, but it's also long and has some interesting/weird competing rhythms that would be super fun to mess with in a lyrical jazz piece but are posing problems for a ballroom-style piece.  (Oh yes, I've started drawing up actual choreography.  No, the bow ties aren't done, and we still don't have a [expletive deleted] photographer, but I'm working on freaking choreography, okay??)

So, ladies (and gentlemen?) which would you go for:

So This is Love from Cinderella
Hard to Concentrate by Red Hot Chili Peppers

[Of course, ultimately, our final decision will not be swayed by the opinions of The Mighty and Powerful Internet, but it's always fun to seek what those opinions are!]

What are you dancing to for your first dance?

Much love,
The Geeks


  1. Ooh, I love the RHCP idea! I think that main rhythm would be really fun to dance to. Maybe if you knew someone who was good with sound programs you could edit out the slower bridge and make it both shorter and overall dancier...?

    I like "How Sweet It Is" by James Taylor for danciness and "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel for lyrics. Yes, I'm single and totally guilty of thinking about this.

    1. Definitely considering shortening it, yes, as it's crazy long.

      And I've been thinking about this since high school, lol, no shame ;)