Help with my wedding first dance

My fiance and I really like the Louis Armstrong version of "La Vie en Rose" but it doesn't seem like the best song to dance to. What style of dance would you recommend for it? Foxtrot maybe? I used to be a competition dancer (jazz, ballet, etc) but I've never done much ballroom and I have no idea what ballroom styles would be an option (or if we should switch songs).

We're going to take ballroom lessons before the wedding, and I'm not sure what styles we should take. Besides our first dance song, we're also going to have a Costa Rican calypso band playing (I think it will be fairly fast paced and lively stuff) and I'm not sure what we should learn. We're not worried about doing any routines or anything formal, but my fiance has never danced at all and he needs some base skills that will get him comfortable having fun with a partner.

Any advice is appreciated! TIY :D


New Member
take the brides dress into consideration, if there is not a lot of room to move, latin (rumba) might be best....
My fiance and I really like the Louis Armstrong version of "La Vie en Rose" but it doesn't seem like the best song to dance to. What style of dance would you recommend for it? Foxtrot maybe?

Congrats on your upcoming wedding and welcome to DF!

If you're considering the same recording I'm listening to right now, you're right, it could be a challenge. With a tempo (I just measured it) of a mere 13 measures per minute, it's not particularly well-suited to any of the basic ballroom dances.

If you're going to take lessons anyway, I highly recommend you seek the instructor's advice. Play the recording for the instructor and see what he/she says. If the advice is to find another song, the instructor might be a good resource for that, as well. The instructor can also advise you on what other dances could be useful to know for the rest of your wedding reception.

Just don't wait until a few weeks before the wedding to start your lessons!

Thanks for the tips! Since I'm having a beach wedding my dress is very simple and easy to move in, and its small train will be bustled for dancing, so I feel like I can do pretty much any style. I'll definitely ask our instructor for advice, and maybe I'll use that Louis Armstrong song for something else and try to find something different for our first dance. There's an elaborate story to why that song was perfect for us, but I'm sure if we look hard enough we can find something else suitable.


Well-Known Member
As I tell every wedding couple who comes in with, "At Last," does it have to be the that version of the song or just that song in general? There aren't a whole lot of danceable versions out there, but you might want to consider some others. The following are available on iTunes, just search for "La Vie en Rose," and arrange by artist:

Sam Butera & The Witnesses - Swing
Mantovani Orchestra - Slightly fast foxtrot
Merengue, Salsa, Bachata.. - Salsa
Belinda Carlisle - Hustle
Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra - Rumba
Richard Clayderman - Bolero
Donna Summer - Slow Hustle
Pearl Django - Foxtrot
Taco - Rumba
Bianca Gef - Slow Hustle
Cyntia M. - Slow Foxtrot*
Samy Fox - Slow Foxtrot*
Les Sunlights - Rumba

* (I mean a very slow, slow fox, not just the category slow foxtrot)
Wedding Dance

My son was in a similar situation last summer. . . .I discussed the situation with my friends (Ballroom and Swing) in the dance community and the consensus was that he should learn Modern Jive (aka Ceroc)

I ended taking the couple along to classes, though they mostly taught themselves using DVD's . . . It was quite amusing and fun on all sorts of levels.

The thing with Modern Jive is that you can look very good (to a non-dancing audience) very quickly, so its ideal for someone who has never danced.

You'll have no problem doing Ceroc to La vie en Rose
La vie en rose is slow... If you dance at double tempo you might be able to do Foxxy or Slow Rhythm. Definately ask your instructor and see if they have any suggestions. Congrats and welcome btw.


Well-Known Member
Perhaps you can find someone who is good at altering songs and have them lay a better beat over the recording you have?
Sorry I was out of town and haven't replied until now, but thankyou for all the tips! I'm writing it all down and I'm going to bring your suggestions to my instructor. I'm also going to lookup these styles I've never heard of, like Nightclub 2-step.

We may just use the Louis Armstrong version of La Vie En Rose for a recessional song at the ceremony, and do something else for the dance (since we'd prefer not to alter the song if we can avoid it). I've been looking at Sinatra songs, and lyrically I like "Day by Day", "Always", and "What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life". What are your thoughts on those songs?

We're also considering starting with a slow classic, and then transitioning into something fun and faster paced, like "All I want is you" by Barry Louis Polisar.

I would love to somehow include Jive or Swing (but I should maybe double check with my fiance to see what he feels comfortable with). I would've liked to learn as many styles as possible before the wedding, but we're down to two months and I'm not sure how many lessons we'll have time for (I'm hoping at least 6 privates).

Suburbaknght, do you know off the top of your head which versions of "At Last" are danceable? I like the song, but the Etta James version is used a little too often for my taste.

Thanks again everyone! We live in a small town and I don't really know how great my instructor is, so it's very helpful to get some opinions and options here first!


Active Member
One nice thing about Nightclub 2-Step is that it is a pretty dance that is fairly easy to learn given a short two month window. I recommend the slower version with a crossing step as the basic because it moves around the floor a lot more.


Well-Known Member
Sure thing. These are all the versions I would dance to, all available on iTunes.

Lou Rawls & Dianna Reeves
Phoebe Snow *
Julia DeMato
Nicole Henry
Stevie Wonder **
The Temptations
The Temprees **
Chantal Chamberland

* My personal favorite
** Unusual arrangement

Steve Pastor

Staff member
I just listened to "La Vie En Rose", which is on the "French Kiss" sound track. I think it would work well as Night Club Two Step, and you could work eaily work something interesting in at the end when it builds and pauses.
Listened to a sample of "What are You Doing the Rest of Your Life". I don't think it is very danceable.
OK, so I just danced around my house to La Vie en Rose doing the basic step for Nightclub Two Step, and you guys are all right; it works!!

I was looking at the history of the dance and it made me like it even more because it was invented by Buddy Schwimmer, and my fiance and I are both huge So You Think You Can Dance fans, and loved his son Benji.

Aaanyways, I was looking at the website of the instructor I was going to book, and it says he teaches Ballroom Two Step. I believe that it's derived from Nightclub Two Step, and uses a cross-over step, but I'm not really sure what the other differences are. Would Ballroom Two Step be an ok substitute for Nightclub TS? I haven't asked the teacher yet, but do you think it's likely that he can teach me the Nightclub version?

Thanks again for all your help! I never would've figured this all out on my own :)

Edit: Crazy coincidence, but it turns out that an article I was reading on Nightclub Two Step was actually written by the instructor I'm considering. I guess that probably means he can teach it!

Steve Pastor

Staff member
Quick check shows that the name ballroom two step can refer to the same dance.
In 1978 Skippy Blair referred to it as simply "Two Step".

I would save the crossing / traveling step for towards the end when Louis starts his solo. The music gets big, and , if you want a bit of "showmanship", and want to really dance to the music, you should keep something in reserve for this next to last section.
The small and big pauses at the end should be used too. All you have to do is stand there looking into each others eyes. Maybe learn a nice dip or something, too.

You could watch Dancing with the Stars for something you like the look of.

Learn the music. And make sure your fiance learns it really well, too.
You might get some friends and have a dance rehearsal. Doing it in front of a group of people will make it easier to deal with any nervousness when the big day comes around. (make sure both you and they are "taking it seriously")

Keep us informed! Glad you have someone who can work with you.
Ok, so we had our first lesson, and to my great relief our instructor is a great teacher, not to mention ridiculously nice! He convinced us to learn waltz however, and now I need to find a waltz song for our first dance. I'm not worried about us looking too stupid waltzing since we're actually both learning really fast, and I think it'll be fairly smooth (plus there will be no dance experts watching). Also, it'll make my dress look pretty :)

He gave us a CD of waltz songs to listen to, but none of them are really reverberating with me. The best is Fascination by Nat King Cole, but I'm not too sold on it.

I've been Googling like crazy, and so far my best alternative is Come Away With Me, but all the song lists I've found are pretty much the same, and I hoping that some of you waltzers may have some interesting and unique suggestions? Something in the 28-30mpm range would be best, since that's what we're practicing in class.

I like classic or contemporary, and all suggestions will be considered! Who knows, maybe there's some awesome new waltz song playing on the radio as we speak!

As far as "classic" sounds go, we like Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, and Michael Buble (even though he's not actually classic) but I haven't found any waltzes by any of them. I heard that there's a 3/4 version of "what a wonderful world" but I couldn't find it. I like all styles of music, but romantic lyrics are preferred!

Thanks everyone :) After our first 4 lessons we get to start learning an additional style of dance, so I have to decide what that'll be (I want to take everything!)
Oh and btw, I AM making my way through the numerous music threads on these forums, but I figure there's always more songs to be posted :)


Active Member
Waltz seems like a great choice. Traditional and beautiful are hard to beat combos :)

You two might still mess with Nightclub 2-step or something like it. After your first dance, there are always the Father/Daughter dance, dancing with Uncle Fred (does anyone not have a crazy uncle to dance with?) etc. If you don't have some slow dance with 4/4 music to do, the Chicken Dance will come up quickly ;)

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