The Wedding Dance Specialists The Wedding Dance Specialists
<April 2009 WP 411>

" We turned our dance lessons into a dinner and dancing date! It became a welcomed weekly escape from our hectic wedding planning." Cindy Rich, Newlywed and Assistant Editor of Washingtonian Magazine "

April 2009 Newsletter

Dance Tip: The Veil, The Tiara, The Updo, Oh My!

If you are doing a fast dance with a lot of spins and turns, we suggest remove your veil during your dance. Even shorter, “blusher veils” can get snagged or interfere and complicate spins and other movements involving raised arms and rotating torsos. For those who have a strong desire to wear the veil for most of the reception, the veil can always be replaced on the head after the dance, plus brides get to show off their special hairdos when the veil is removed!

For slow dances with minimal complicated spins, the tiara, the updo and veil can be managed with a little finesse and technique. For example, Brides can employ such techniques as staying close to the Leader during an underarm turn and turning under her own arm. Grooms need to be sure to cup the Bride's shoulder blade "under" the veil not on top of it.

Wedding Planning Tip:  The Wedding Vows 

Your wedding vows is more than an expression of love to your partner, it is a solemn pledge and should express what marriage means to you.  The vows represent the commitment you are making to your future husband or wife.  Wedding vows have been said over the years in  many ways:  traditional or non-traditional, religious or secular, serious or humorous.  Legally it doesn’t matter what vows are said as long as you get a marriage license signed by two witnesses and a state licensed official.  Here are some tips for deciding what vows you and your fiancé will use at your wedding:

  • Talk to your spouse and decide whether you will use the traditional vows or write your own.  If you choose to write your own, will you say the same vows you write together or will you say completely different vows written independently?
  • Talk to the officiator to make sure he/she is fine with personalized vows.  Some religions may not allow you to deviate from traditional wording, or some may allow personalization as long as certain phrases are used.  If traditional vows must be used, you may find that you still have some choices on what phrases are used as the vows are said.
  • If you choose to write your own vows begin by writing down your thoughts about the person you are marrying, think about your love, relationship, memories, experiences and your shared thoughts on marriage.  Once this information is on paper you can begin writing your final draft, if you are in need of help, you may find just the right words in a song or poetry.  Remember that your wedding vows should finish with a sentence that begins “I promise” or “I vow”.  Here is a standard order of service:
    • The Greeting
    • The Declaration of Intentions (Wedding Vows)
    • The Exchange of rings
    • The Pronouncement
  • When you have it finally written, practice it out loud and share with a trusted family member or friend so you can get constructive feedback. 
  • Continue to practice once your final draft is complete and have a note card available at your wedding on the slight chance you may need it (even if you are sure you have it memorized).

Your wedding vows are significant and reflect your feelings about your partner and your marriage.  Take your time when deciding what vows you will use and take pleasure in knowing that each word you say is an expression of your total love and commitment to your spouse for the duration of your marriage

Featured Dance Style: Viennese Waltz

The romance, elegance, charm and classic air of the Viennese waltz stirs up nostalgic fairytale images of Cinderella meeting her Prince Charming on the dance floor. Currently, the Viennese Waltz is a fast version of the Modern Waltz. It is danced at a tempo of about 180 beats per minute.  Two great Austrian composers – Franz Lanner and Johann Strauss gave this dance a tremendous boost around 1830 and set the standard for the dance. The rapid pace and continuous circling will make the novice dizzy at first, but with practice it is a lot of fun. The nature of this dance requires both the leader and the follower to maintain a good frame. It is a "Smooth Dance" so it travels counter-clockwise around the room at high speed. Warning to new dancers. The outside edges and corners of the room are considered the Fast Lane and we pass on the outside! Until you learn to move together well you want to dance more to the center of the floor to allow the space for the more advanced dancers move freely. Viennese Waltzes:

"Annie's Song" John Denver
"Caribbean Blue" Enya (Shepherd Moons)
"My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music
"Kiss of the Rose" Seal
"I Can't Help Falling In Love" Elvis Presley
Strauss Waltzes (warning: they are usually long, and may have tempo changes)
"Have You Ever Loved A Woman?" Brian Adams

Dance and Romance : Cabanas

There are so many opportunities and venues to enjoy your dancing skills! The D.C. metro area dance world is your oyster! Whether you're in the mood to just soak in the atmosphere, meet up with friends, practice your new moves or escape wedding planning stress and enjoy a romantic date night, it's time to hit the town!

DC Salsa Congress
Date:  June 19-21, 2009
Time:  daytime workshops, evening performances
Cost: $25 for performances and general dancing, $70-$270 to add workshops  
Where: Crystal City Hilton, Arlington, VA
Phone: 202.285.4774

Movie Review:  Runaway Bride
Julia Roberts and Richard Gere star in the romantic comedy Runaway Bride. Roberts plays Maggie, who has left so many prospective husbands at the altar that she has gained notoriety as "the Runaway Bride," and a reporter (played by Richard Gere) is assigned to write a story about her. He tracks her down to a small town in Maryland where she's spending time with her family and preparing to give marriage another try. However, the more time she spends with the persistent reporter, the more second thoughts she has about her fiancé (Christopher Meloni).



Vendor Special Offers

We pre-screen and negotiate with wedding vendors on your behalf to make your wedding planning easier!

Brian Block - RE/MAX Allegiance - 703-626-0715
Now that you are about to merge your life with your fiance, you may be looking to sell or purchase real estate. Click the banner below to leisurely view Northern Virginia Area homes from the comfort of your home. Brian Block is a Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Attorney plus a newlywed, Co-Founder of The Wedding Dance Specialists and Assistant Instructor for Wedding Dance Practice Sessions. Click on the banner to go to Present this coupon to receive:

1. a FREE HOME APPRAISAL (value $350)
2. 2 FREE private ballroom dance lessons when you use Brian Block's services for purchasing or selling your home. (value $170)

The Chocolate Chick

Did you ever wish you could sail down Willy Wonka's chocolate river and just lean overboard for a taste? Booking a chocolate fountain from The Chocolate Chick is the next best thing! $25 Discount on any chocolate fountain package when you mention The Wedding Dance Specialists refferred you. Call 703.627.2294 or email

Dance Bloopers

Their guests internal dialogue:
"They look so happy...
O.K. this was cute for the first 30 seconds...
Do I really have to stand here for 4 minutes watching them stand and sway?
I wonder if anyone will notice if I sneak off to the bar..."

Wedding Etiquette: Gratuities

Tipping has always been a personal expression of gratitude for service given and appreciated. The question of tipping those persons responsible for assisting you in your wedding planning is one of obvious importance and concern.

Whether you are using a private catering company or a hotel facility verify whether the company has already included a gratuity charge ahead of time.  You may be wondering if it is proper to tip the servers if you have already pre-paid a gratuity in the contracted price?" The answer is if a particular server has spent time and energy providing you service, over and above your expectations, and you choose to give that individual a "tip," that choice is entirely up to you.  It should be given for extra special services only. It is not required, as the gratuity has, as noted, already been paid.

Those falling into the above category, include catering managers, hotel banquet managers, waiters, waitresses, bartenders and on-site coordinators provided by the facility. Tipping them would fall into the 1% to 2% range.  Remember, this has already been added to your final bill and additional tipping is just that.  Additional tipping!

Restroom and Coat Room Attendants: It is customary to give fifty cents per guest. However, it may be to your advantage to arrange for a flat fee prior to the event. 

Limousine Driver: A tip of 15% is the appropriate amount to be given to your limo driver.  Be sure to read your contract, as the tip has often already been added into the final bill.

Parking Attendants: $1 - $2 per car is suggested

Florist, Photographer, Videographer, Baker, Musicians, Performers and Dance Instructor: Tipping only for extra special services, up to 15%.

Civil Ceremony Officials: (Judge, Justice of the Peace, City Clerk) There is generally an established fee and government employees are not permitted to accept tips.

Clergymen, Rabbis, Priests: No less than a $75 donation is considered proper and it is rare to find anyone giving less than a $100 gratuity for the wedding officiant.   This donation should be given to the best man prior to the ceremony.  Following the proceedings, he will then give it to the officiant.  If travel is involved, an additional gratuity is appreciated.

Organist, Musician, Cantor : Fees for church organists and musicians are often included in the rental fee for the church.  When this is not the case, a gratuity of $35 - $75 is appropriate. When the organist and musician (soloist) are close friends of the couple or family, the gratuity averaged $75.

Alterboys and Sextons: $5 - $25 is suggested

Dance TV : Dancing with the Stars

An all new cast of celebrities hits the dance floor on ABC's Dancing with the Stars with the highly anticipated two-hour season premiere MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2009 (8:00-10:02 p.m., ET) on ABC. Season Eight introduces us to 13 new stars including the youngest competitor to date, an NFL legend, a computer icon, a female rapper, three music artists, and a Wildboy. Additionally, "love is a battlefield," when for the first time, real-life couples take the ballroom floor. Newly engaged professional dancers, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff, go head-to-head with their partners. To top it off, country crooner, Chuck Wicks teams with girlfriend and two-time Dancing with the Stars champ, Julianne Hough.