Wedding etiquette for the father-daughter dance

Updated February 21, 2017

The father-daughter dance is often an important part of many wedding receptions. Adhering to some etiquette guidelines will help to ensure that the dance is yet another sentimental and fond memory for the bride and her father.

Simple is Best

It's important for the bride to make sure that her father is comfortable with participating in the dance. A few rehearsals may be necessary for both father and daughter to feel at ease. It's best to choose simple steps that do not take long to learn, so that fathers (and daughters) with limited dance experience will be able to enjoy this special part of the ceremony without feeling self-conscious.

Splitting the Dance

For brides that want to honour both a father and a stepfather, it is acceptable to split the father-daughter dance into two sections. It's best to use the same song to dance with both men, so that guests will not have to sit through two full songs without being able to participate. The first half of the song is reserved for the father, and the second for the stepfather in most cases, but the bride can divide the time depending on her relationship with each man.

Song Tempo

In many cases, the song that the father and daughter dance to is a slow ballad; the music may even have a waltz or ballroom feel. However, it is up to the bride to choose the tempo and feel of the song she and her father will dance to. If there is an upbeat song that has special significance for the bride and her father (i.e. the father's favourite song, a song that was played during the bride's childhood), this is acceptable to use as the music for the dance.

Honouring Other Male Figures

If the bride does not have a close relationship with her father, or if he is deceased, it is perfectly fine for the bride to choose another male figure in her life to participate in the dance. In this case, a stepfather may dance the entire song with the bride, but she may also choose to dance with her grandfather, uncle, brother, or close family friend who had a hand in raising her.

Skipping the Dance

If the bride's father does not feel comfortable dancing, she can arrange for a song to be played that honours her relationship with her father while the dance floor is empty, or she can request that the song be played while other guests are dancing, so that she and her father can share a special moment. A slideshow that includes pictures of the bride with her father at different stages of the bride's life can also be displayed in lieu of the father-daughter dance.

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About the Author

Tamiya King has been writing for over a decade, particularly in the areas of poetry and short stories. She also has extensive experience writing SEO and alternative health articles, and has written published interviews and other pieces for the "Atlanta Tribune" and Jolt Marketing. She possesses a Bachelor of Arts in English and is currently pursuing higher education to become a creative writing professor.