Our Gatsby Wedding Dance – Rumba, Lindy Hop, and East Coast Swing

Choreographed by Gigi Burton in Tucson, Arizona. Songs: “Adorn You” by Miguel and “Tightrope” by Janelle Monae. Music arranged by the best man, Chris. Video recorded and edited by Lauryn Ann from Lauryn Ann Photography.

Scottie and I decided we wanted to have a very memorable first dance. We hired the best choreographer in Tucson, Arizona, Gigi Burton, and began the adventure of couple dancing for the first time. We wanted something romantic and Gatsby 20s. We decided on using two different songs – both modern and amazing songs but had a classic vibe. “Adorn You” by Miguel has that sexy feel that was perfect for the rumba and “Tightrope” by Janelle Monae has that jazz/swing feel that was perfect for the Lindy Hop and Swing. Our amazing best man Chris put the music together and even slowed down the Janelle Monae song because it was unnaturally fast for us to dance to!

The actual dance classes: They felt like couples therapy! We fought, overcame obstacles, and encouraged each other. It was so fun having a goal to work towards together — making time to take lessons and practice provided us with time we would not have made for each other.  In total, we took about 8 hours of dance lessons and spent countless hours practicing. It was totally worth it to surprise all of our guests with this first dance! Our friends and family had no idea we were plotting a secret dance. Just a heads up: my mom is the the very loud one in the video — clearly she was super shocked by our first dance.

For anyone considering a choreographed dance for their own First Dance, here is my advice… DO IT!

  • We loved the time we spent together. Like, loved it.
  • It was fun learning how to dancing together. I had taken some classes in college, but never really became “good” at it. Scott was totally a dance virgin. We got to learn a new, super hard, skill together. Which brings me to…
  • Don’t give up when you realize it is fucking hard to dance (yes, it looks so easy on tv – it is so much harder to dance in a box than I ever imagined it was). We really almost quit after the first class because we assumed we would have it nailed in 2 classes and came to the realization this was not going to be easy. It got easier and easier with each class and every time we practiced.
  • Give yourself ample time to enjoy the whole dance aspect of the wedding planning. We learned our dance in less than 2 months and it was pretty stressful at times. I would give at least 3 months to have fun with it.
  • It is terrifying to dance for the first time in your wedding clothes. We didn’t know how the lifts would work with all the beading in my dress and if my dress was going to be slippery. Practice BEFORE you bust it out in front of everyone – one of my friends pulled over in a parking lot after they were married to practice their wedding dance. We did a quick practice session when we were taking couples pictures.
  • You will be listening to your dance song(s) over and over again – make sure you wont grow sick of the music. I still am not sick of our songs – but our teacher Gigi said she had one couple who decided 2 weeks before their wedding they hated the song they chose and she had to re-choreograph moves to a new song.
  • It is a bit expensive, but if you search around and find a choreographer who teaches privately and not out of a studio it is much cheaper. Gigi found various studios we could practice in (dance studios, yoga studios, and she even offered to come to our home). We would pay for the studio rental, about $25 an hour, and then pay her fee as well. It was far less expensive than the studios were charging.

I hope you enjoy the video! We will forever cherish this memory and may even continue dancing as a “date night.” I totally fell in love with Swing Dancing! It helps Scottie is very strong and I just get to be picked up.

Photos by Gaby J. Photography

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love, Sarah


2 thoughts on “Our Gatsby Wedding Dance – Rumba, Lindy Hop, and East Coast Swing

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