There’s the happy couple’s first dance. Then there is the father/daughter and the mother/son dance. Then we segue into the son and mother-in-law, then son and grandma dance together, etc…
“What is appropriate?” is the question posed to Miss Manners. “How long should the dances be, and how many should there be?”
As usual, Miss Manners‘ answer is smart, practical, and, of course, mannerly. The idea is for the bridal couple to open the dancing, not to give a private dance performance featuring all their relatives. There is no need to make a spectacle of yourself, or break out in a nervous sweat every time you think of your two left feet. “Getting married is not a sufficient qualification to stage a dance performance before an audience.” There’s also no need for a long list detailing the order of dancing with long line of relatives.
Instead of dancing only with their partners (husband and wife, guest and date) the gentlemen should take the initiative to dance with any lady who would appreciate a partner. The idea is for the parents to dance with the couple and one another, and it would be nice if the men asked Granny and Cousin Millie to dance, too.
Guests should not be kept waiting, even the full length of one dance. Miss Manners suggests that halfway through the bridal couple’s dance, the bride’s father cut in to dance with his daughter and the bereft bridegroom turn to his mother. (This can also be done with the respective in-laws first.) At this point, the bridesmaids and groomsmen should take to the dance floor and encourage the other guests to follow.
“Presumably, the bridal couple’s enjoyment is in gazing at each other, not in being gazed at.”