The first dance arms race: The rise of cool songs and elaborate marital choreography

The First Dance Arms Race has two distinct strands. Will Dean presents his comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

What do you know about the band Lonestar? Unless you're a regular watcher of the Country Music Awards, it's probably somewhere between nothing and that they likely come from Texas, the Lonestar State. You probably also know their song "Amazed", if you've been to a handful of weddings in the last decade.

A survey of 2,000 wedding filmographers by PRS in 2009 found that "Amazed" was the most popular first dance song at British weddings, followed by Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing"; Shania Twain's "From This Moment On"; Bryan Adams's "Everything I Do..." and Take That's "Rule the World". Dire choices, all.

It's perhaps in response to that aching wound of banality that the First Dance Arms Race (FDAR) has emerged.

The FDAR has two distinct strands. The first involves couples choosing increasingly personal and more obscure tracks. So instead of relying on the DJ to chuck on Keating's "When You Say Nothing At All", it all gets a bit more 6 Music. A quick survey of pals offered up "Radar Detector" by Darwin Deez; "Chinese Children" by Devendra Banhart and, er, "Bump N' Grind" by R Kelly. From here, the only logical next step may be Shostakovich. (My favourite FDAR moment involved some friends who allowed their guests to vote on a song. They chose "Bonkers" by Dizzee Rascal. The groom remains saddened that they didn't choose "La La Love You" by Pixies. That's democracy for you, pal)

The other, possibly pernicious, tine on the fork of the First Dance Arms Race is the elaborate first dance routine.

Read more: Anatomy of Kate Moss's wedding dress
Kate Moss's dress takes centre stage at V&A
The first wedding dance arms race
Wedding collateral damage explained
The best make-up for brides
11.2 things I've learnt from filming 112 weddings
Busting the BritWedCom boom
Gay couples reflect on married life
Hen and stag-do strippers confess all

You've almost certainly witnessed one of these. In a way of avoiding the exposure of a lack of genuine dance skills, the happy couple instead reveal an elaborate comic dance routine. Predictably, YouTube is littered with them. It's the FDAR equivalent of those wildly public engagement videos (flashmob on a train, flashmob in a shopping centre, flashmob in a DIY store –lots of flash, lots of mobs). Some are quite fun, most make you want to retrospectively lend them a copy of Pet Sounds and make them shuffle along aimlessly to "God Only Knows" like in the good old days.

A routine by a French couple with six million hits gives you a general idea of how it works. The couple start dancing to something soppy and then – whoa – the music stops or skips and a new song, usually "Everybody Dance Now" by C&C Music Factory kicks in and the novelty routine starts.

For me, it's a no. Learn a basic waltz, choose a good song, dance for a verse and a chorus, invite the family in and then get back to the bar. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty to the modern First Dance Arms Race dance.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

    £40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

    Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

    £26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

    £17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?