How to dance with your daughter

How to DIY your Father-Daughter Dance — Duet Dance Studio Chicago

During the process of wedding planning, learning a Father-Daughter dance might seem like a lot of work; however, spending time with your family and creating a unique dance together can be extremely rewarding. After all, weddings are about strengthening family bonds both old and new, and dance is a fantastic way to do that. The wedding experts at Duet Dance Studio are excited to share some DIY tips to begin your unique Father-Daughter dance.

Tip #1: Start Early

As your wedding approaches, time can be in short supply. To best prepare for your dance and to get the most out of it, we recommend starting a Father-Daughter dance at least 3 months before your wedding. This will allow both you and your Dad to get comfortable moving together while creating a great foundation for your learning. Start listening to songs together to find one which best expresses your relationship. See our blog post on unique father-daughter dance songs and the dance styles which best suit them.

Tip #2: Short and Sweet

How long should a Father-Daughter dance be? One to two minutes is standard for parent dances. A short and sweet Father-Daughter dance requires less preparation and prevents a lull in the energy of your wedding reception. Remember, you don’t have to dance to an entire song, your DJ can fade out the music for you as you exit the floor when you’ve finished your dance. For those seeking a more polished or choreographed piece, dancing for around 3 minutes is a good length. Check out our student, Virginia and her dad's dance below. They wanted an upbeat and fun choreography. And their weekly lessons in the 3 months prior to the wedding were a chance for them to connect with each other while learning something new. 

Tip #3: Dance Frame

The way you use your arms to connect with your dance partner is called the frame, and it is a key element of any dance style. Most issues, like bumping into your partner or stepping on each other's feet, can be easily remedied by re-establishing your frame. Watch these short videos to learn about the correct dance position and how to improve leading and following skills.

Tip #4: Start with the Basic

The basic step shown in the video below is perfect for beginners. It is simple to do and work great with a lot of father daughter dance songs. Practice this repeatedly until it becomes second nature. 

Tip #5: Personalize it

Do you and your Dad have a go-to goofy dance move? Or does your Dad love making you spin like he did when you were a kid? Or maybe you both are super fans of classic rock n’ roll and want to do some air guitar. Whatever makes you special, don’t be afraid to express it! A personalized dance is not only entertaining to watch, but creates a close (or closer!) bond between you and your Dad in the process. Enjoy it!

What's your father-daughter dance song? How are you preparing this special moment at your wedding? Please comment below.

And if you'd like to learn more wedding dance moves or need additional help with your father-daughter dance, click the bottom below. We look forward to dancing with you soon!

Online Wedding Dance Program

Duet Dance Studio is a group of friendly dancers who are passionate about helping people and sharing the joy of ballroom dance. Our physical studio is located in Chicago West Bucktown. We offer ballroom dance lessons, wedding dance instruction and private dance parties. Online Wedding Dance Lessons and Skype dance lessons are also available! Dances we teach include Salsa, Swing, Tango, Bachata, Merengue, Waltz and Foxtrot. Sign up for an introductory dance lesson now to get started!

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Everything You Need to Know

Ah, the father-daughter dance. It's that moment during the celebration when the bride honors their father, and it represents the gratitude they have for their father's love as they enter a new phase of life. At best, this dance can provide a sweet moment of family connection; at worst, it can feel a little antiquated. Either way, it's a staple at many, if not most, weddings. The father-daughter dance (similar to the mother-son dance, which usually follows) is a way to shine a spotlight on the person who helped guide the newlywed through life.

As you consider integrating the tradition into your wedding, questions will likely arise, such as: When does the father-daughter dance take place? How long should it last? What song should we choose? Where did the tradition come from, anyway? Well, we have answers to all those questions and more. We spoke to Alicia Mae, owner and lead wedding planner of ILÉ Events, about everything pertaining to the father-daughter dance.

Meet the Expert

Alicia Mae is a New Jersey-based wedding planner and the CEO of ILÉ Events.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the father-daughter dance tradition.

The History and Meaning of the Father-Daughter Dance

As many wedding traditions do, the father-daughter dance stems from our patriarchal history. Back when most marriages were arranged and social, political, and monetary alliances were what led to unions rather than love, the father-daughter dance served as a sort of final demand by the bride's father before their husband became the most important man in their life. After this dance, the bride would be able to dance with their new spouse, whom they had likely only met recently.

Nowadays, the father-daughter dance doesn't carry the same meaning and seldom comes first, at least in American wedding culture. "Initially, in the previous era, the father would have the first dance with his daughter and then 'give her away' to her husband," Mae explains. "As culture evolved, many couples opted for the first dance to be theirs. Now, you will find the father-daughter dance taking place right after the newlywed's first dance."

Since love is the primary driver for marriage these days, most traditions rooted in gender inequality have been reclaimed as special moments between two people who deeply care for one another. The father-daughter dance is regarded as a beautiful moment between a bride and their father and symbolizes their appreciation for the love and guidance they received throughout their life.

Father-Daughter Dance FAQs

When should we have the father-daughter dance?

Most brides have the father-daughter dance right after their first dance with their spouse. If you don't want to have it after the first dance, other good times to squeeze it in are following the toasts and before the cake cutting.

What song should we dance to?

You can talk to your father about what song they would like to dance to, but ultimately, it's up to you. "Some brides choose a heartfelt song that leaves the crowd in tears while other brides option for a song that brings laughter as Dad boogies," Mae says. Whether fast or slow, it should be something that speaks to your relationship. Thankfully, there are a bunch to choose from.

Should we choreograph the dance?

If you're dancing to a more upbeat song, it's not a bad idea. If you're sticking to a traditional slow dance, it might not be necessary, and you can just opt for a couple of dance lessons instead.

Can I also include my stepparents?

Of course! You can always switch partners and songs midway through. If you have a few people you'd like to honor, they can take turns cutting in to share the dance.

Raised by two fathers? Pick two songs, shorten them to about two minutes each, and dedicate a special dance to each of your dads, one after the other.

How long should the dance last?

A lot of the time, the dance will last as long as the song does, granted it falls in the three-to-four minute range. Some people recommend, however, playing a shortened version rather than the full one, since guests' attention spans tend to wane.

Tradition Alternatives

Wedding traditions are not one-size-fits-all and should not be treated as such. There are many ways brides can go about making the father-daughter dance their own. First, it's important to acknowledge that some brides might not have a relationship with their father or, sadly, may no longer have them in their lives. In this case, one might choose to dance with their mother, another family member, or someone else who played an important role in their life growing up.

Mae says that she's seen many creative ways in which couples modernize traditions, which helps to put a unique spin on a wedding. "One of my favorite experiences was watching the newlyweds have their first dance while the bride and groom's parents dance alongside them," Mae recalls. "It was an extended first dance that exemplified the love between each family. Later in the song, other married couples joined in on the fun. This unique twist presented the feeling of family and unity, compared to the old tradition," she says. "Instead of a father giving his daughter away, the two families became one."

As always, whether you stay classic, remix the tradition, or forego it altogether, the choice is yours.  "Individually and collectively, the message or traditions you want to begin as a couple rely entirely on you," Mae says. "Starting and sticking to that truth will help you pick what is most valuable to you while wedding planning." 

7 Viral Father-Daughter Moments From Real Weddings to Melt Your Heart

Wedding dance of father and daughter: types, how to stage it correctly


  • Why does the father dance with his daughter at her wedding?
  • Types of modern dances of father and daughter
  • Potpourri
  • Stage dance
  • Folk dance
  • Dance with song
  • Waltz
  • Classic dance
  • What to choose?
  • How to organize?

A wedding is perhaps the most touching event in the life of every person. On this day, excitement overcomes everyone: both parents and grown-up children. Many traditions and customs are associated with the marriage process: they are honored and believed that compliance with the unspoken rules is guaranteed to lead to a happy and strong union of two people.

One of the most beautiful and touching traditions wedding event is a dance of a father with an adult daughter-bride. But, despite the fact that many consider this ritual mandatory, few people know where it came from.

Beautiful and touching dance of the father with the bride

Why does the father dance with his daughter at her wedding?

The tradition originated in ancient times. Now no one will answer the question of who decided to be the first to dance with her daughter at her wedding, but the meaning of the rite itself has been deciphered. The fact is that a wedding in Ancient Rus' was inextricably linked with death - in the sense that a girl died, and a woman, a mother, a successor to her husband's family, was born. nine0003

The dance symbolizes the girl's farewell to her former family

For the last time her father holds her in his arms - now she no longer belongs to him. A man gives his treasure to another "owner" - her husband. The wedding dance is the last unity of father and daughter, she is no longer subject to him.

In addition, it is stated that in this way the father says that the girl is untouched, pure. He seems to guarantee that none of the men, except the father, touched the girl, and the father passes this honor to own the treasure - an innocent girl - to the groom. nine0003

In modern times, the ceremony of the wedding dance of father and daughter has lost its true meaning.

Types of modern dances of father and daughter

Custom does not state what exactly the wedding dance of father and daughter should be. Below we list the most common options. Mix. It attracts by the fact that the movements do not need to be learned, it is more like a fun improvisation. The potpourri dance gained popularity after the performance of a father and daughter from an American family - they danced cheerfully and fieryly, not really thinking about the rhythm and synchronization of movements. nine0003

Types of wedding dance of father and daughter


Most often performed to a song from a famous cartoon or movie. Heroes - father and daughter - play well-known characters. You need to prepare for such a dance: think over the plot and movements.

Folk dance

Popular among middle-aged people, and young people often play along with them. For example, a square dance looks great: its movements are simple, and the music is cheerful and incendiary.

Dance with song

Requires at least minimal vocal skills. More often, the bride sings a song in honor of her beloved father and invites him to dance, and a slow composition is usually chosen. This option is good because only a girl can rehearse, the father’s business is just to circle his daughter in a dance.


The most beautiful dance. For the first time, a father and daughter performed it at a wedding in the 19th century, since then the waltz has not lost its relevance and has not gone out of fashion. Requires joint rehearsals of dancers. nine0003

Classical dance

The simplest and most affordable option: even those who claim they can't dance can do it. Dad does not have to rehearse, it is enough to remember his young years and circle his daughter in a dance.

Classical dance - the easiest option

What to choose?

First of all, focus on individual abilities. Everyone knows that some people find it difficult to perform in public - in this case, choose a regular slow dance, or let the daughter sing a song and invite her father to dance. nine0003

Remember that a wedding is a very exciting event for everyone. Whatever acting skills a father or daughter has, at such a moment it is very easy to get confused: you should not be wiser with movements.

The following melodies are suitable for slow dance:

  • Mozart "Music of Angels";
  • Sanna Nielsen Undo;
  • Garou "Gitan";
  • Alsu "Father's Daughter";
  • Soso Pavliashvili "White veil";
  • L. Agutin "Father next to you";
  • Eric Clapton Wonderful Tonight. nine0006

Choose the closest one. Perhaps there is a particular composition that particular dancers like.

If a dance scene is planned, it is necessary to rehearse - in this case, professional choreographers or wedding planners can help.

A wedding is an exciting event for everyone

How to organize?

This dance shouldn't come as a surprise. Therefore, if the young people decide to include a father-daughter dance in the wedding scenario, both parties must be ready. nine0003

It would be nice if the background on the screen were shots taken from childhood photographs of a girl in a family circle.

Usually it looks very touching, brings tears to the eyes of guests - such moments are remembered for a long time

Take care of comfortable clothes and shoes. Especially if you are planning a fast, incendiary performance. A broken heel can ruin not only the dance, but also the bride's evening.

If the father of the bride is shy, choose a composition familiar to the man from his youth. Perhaps it will be jazz, blues or even incendiary lambada. nine0003

Announce the beginning of the dance and warn the guests that the performers are nervous, ask for silence. A calm environment will help you concentrate on your movements.

The bride must definitely support her father, say words of gratitude after the dance. The same should be done to the father - it was he who raised the girl who becomes a wife.

Don't try to replicate the blast you saw at someone's wedding. Remember, this is only your day, your wedding and your dance. Whatever they turn out to be, it will remain only your bright memories. nine0003

Good traditions can turn a wedding celebration into a colorful, bright event. Only the right attitude, smile and confidence will make the wedding an extraordinary, fabulous event!

ritual features, ideas and videos

According to ancient traditions, the dance of father and daughter at the wedding is a rite of farewell for a girl from her parental home and patronage. It was believed that the soul of the bride dies in the father's family and is reborn in the husband's family. Now, of course, this is given a less symbolic meaning, but the tradition is not bypassed, and at almost every celebration you can see the wedding dance of the father and daughter. nine0003

Types of dances

Today, almost every girl planning a wedding celebration thinks about how to diversify the dance with dad, amuse the guests, and get pleasure and emotions for life. After all, there are many types of wedding dance, but which one should you turn to? The portal will tell you.


Popular at weddings in recent years is the tendency to create a mix of modern incendiary songs and put rhythmic dances of father and daughter under them. The performance technique depends on the physical and choreographic training of the performers. But most often, these are simple movements that even men in old age can do. However, training and rehearsals are required in any case, because. on this day there will be excessive excitement and, possibly, alcohol. The dance of the father and the bride in America became world famous. See how simple movements ignited the audience, and they themselves enjoyed what was happening. nine0003

And here is a domestic example of a stunning production of a wedding dance from a young father and his daughter. The peculiarity of these numbers is that they start with the usual slow music, but then, as if unexpectedly (this is only for guests), it changes to rhythmic, and the dancers seem to have to adapt to the situation. It turns out very fun and creative.

Father and bride scene: story in dance

If you are lucky and the organizer of your wedding has a rich imagination, then he will figure out how to diversify the wedding dance. For example, you can take the script of some cartoon or movie, and create a small production, supplementing it with choreography. Here's a perfect example of a bride, groom, and father doing a joking wedding dance.


Because most popes 50-70s. birth, then the performance of folk dances will be closer and easier for them. They will remember their youth, remember how they played square dance in rural clubs and plunge into this atmosphere again. Long memorization of movements is not required, because the legs remember. Watch a cool example of how a couple of relatives dance merrily to a Moscow square dance. nine0003


Give your dad a gift - sing a song for him, to which you can dance with him in the process. If you are afraid that your voice trembling with excitement will let you down, write it down in advance and sing along to the soundtrack, this is not very important. Look how gentle and touching this performance looks.

And if dad himself has a good voice, then the song performed by him will be an excellent gift for marriage. The main thing is to prepare such a number in advance so that you can include it in the wedding scenario for the toastmaster. Here is another video proving the improbability of these moments that are forever stored in the heart. nine0003


The waltz was performed for the first time as a father-daughter dance at the end of the 19th century, when culture and art began to develop actively. Previously, it was considered obscene and was banned. Nowadays, the waltz is not often found at marriages, more often at graduation balls. But in vain, because he has aristocratic grace. Waltz is an indicator of stateliness and greatness. Here is a video that conveys all his superiority. nine0003

Classical dance

The simplest option, of course, is the classic. Melodious swaying to slow music can be performed even by the most non-plastic people. However, choosing a beautiful song and correctly setting the light, you get a cute and memorable number. Look at the example and feel the tender feelings that this custom keeps in itself.

How to suit the music

To begin with, decide on the style: an incendiary, waltz or slow wedding dance of the bride with her father will be performed. For the first option, find several compositions of an incendiary potpourri on the net. Listen to them several times, imagine your movements under these mixes and choose the one you like the most. For a waltz, the music from the movie "My Sweet and Gentle Beast" is ideal, as well as the following compositions:

  • Mozart – Music of Angels,
  • nine0005 Sanna Nielsen - Undo,
  • Garou-Gitan,
  • Alsu - Father's daughter,
  • Soso Pavliashvili - White Veil,
  • Eric Clapton

For the classic wedding dance of the bride with the father, compositions such as:

  • Maxim Lidov - Father and Daughter Dance,
  • Adele – When We Were Young,
  • Mariah Carey-Hero,
  • Leonid Agutin - Father next to you.

Or maybe you have your own special song, which is perfect for such an event.

We've told you everything you need to know about dancing with dad. And a professional presenter will be able to competently lead to this moment, and it will become even more touching.

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