2017 Dances!

January 11th, 2017 by admin

Getting married in 2017?

It’s a new year and it’s time for new beginnings and the dances to go with them!

Now is the perfect time to reserve your dance lessons for your wedding dance and to start thinking about your song and the type of dance you would like to do.

I’ve had all kinds of songs and all kinds of dances so whatever you think says “us” is a great place to start.

My couples have used oldies but goodies, popular tunes, indie ballads, Country western ditties, movie soundtracks and original music.  The only requirement I have is that you both like the song or songs you choose and want to dance to them!

Many of my couples have danced a foxtrot for their first dance which is always a crowd-pleaser with its beautiful frame, frolicsome tempo and easy-going steps and twirls.

Your song will give me ideas about your dance so if you’re wondering what type of dance it could be just text me your song!

Others have opted for a waltz, rumba, tango or swing, all of which can be equally fun to dance and watch.  Depending on your attire and the time you have to put into your dance,  anything is possible.

The size of floor you’re working with can also be a factor for your dance.

Is your dance floor smallish (on a yacht) or quite roomy (hotel ballroom)?  Is it long and skinny like a runway or will you be moving tables and chairs to create a big square?

It looks and feels good to use a large space and travel with the wedding dance steps. Conversely, it works well if the space is small to keep the wedding dance intimate and romantic.

Which brings us to the wedding dress which can be another factor in your dance! 

If you can’t move backwards due to a long train or drooping bustle, this is good to know.  I can match steps to the movement you’re able to do in your gown so that gorgeous dress stays gorgeous!

Let me know if you have any questions about your wedding dance.  I would love to talk with you about the details and get you dancing together right away.

I recommend two months or so lead time to get the dance into your muscle memory before The Big Day.  My two lesson special is $138/couple and you can reserve your lessons by paying and filling out my reservation form on my Pricing page.

Happy 2017 wedding planning!


Text: 949.400.7347

Email: Jillian@OurWeddingDance.com



Holiday Gift Certificates

December 15th, 2016 by admin


These days I think a lot of us would rather order gifts on line than brave a crowded mall! Parking is crazy, the merchandise is picked over and everything seems just beyond budget.

Speaking from experience when I find something different and easy to give as a holiday gift I jump at the opportunity… like the idea of a gift certificate for dance instruction and choreography for the bride and groom, mom and dad or anyone in your life who just likes to dance.

Only a text or email away, this gift is one that does keep on giving and isn’t your average fashion item that someone may wear once or, heaven forbid, return for what we all know was less than original purchase price!


Email or text me at 949.400.7347 with your information about who gets the certificate, who it is from and what amount you’d like it for and I will correspond with you.

I can either invoice you through PayPal (you can pay with your own credit card through PayPal) or you can mail me a check for the amount.


Gift certificate lessons are available on Sunday afternoons all year long and the certificate can be redeemed for a full year after issue, longer if you let me know.

Lessons are just minutes from The District at the new Avant Garde Ballroom at 1502 East Warner Santa Ana, Ca 92705.


One busy groom called me Christmas Eve and I raced home, made his gift certificate and emailed it to him in time to be in his bride’s stocking by Christmas morning!

Contact me soon – I’d love to help you check off a few special someone’s on your gift list this year!

Holiday Hugs, Jillian

Text: 949.400.7347

One of my holiday couples dancing the tango!

One of my holiday couples dancing the tango!

Holiday Wedding Dance

October 25th, 2016 by admin

A holiday wedding can be a great way to utilize beautiful decorations, cozy weather, warm attire and fun accoutrements – no wonder more brides and grooms are choosing a date in the months of November, December and January for their special day.

Holiday wedding dances can be extra special too!

Just think if you’re not trying to stay hydrated and keep the misters filled you can use the cooler temps to really kick up your heels with a wicked waltz,  jumpy jitterbug, cheeky cha cha or teasing tango.

Also, knowing you’ll be dancing with rain drops or even snow out the windows can give you some exciting choices for songs that highlight this festive time of year.

I had one couple do a romantic rumba where the groom wore a fedora tilting it at his bride and then frisbeeing it off stage and the bride wore long gloves and then sexily took them off drawing them across her groom before he tossed them to his best man.

Another couple getting married around Christmas in the snowy mountains used a traditional song and waltzed around a real decorated tree in the center of their dance floor.

A third couple kissed in the new year as husband and wife dressed flapper-like with an Argentine tango and lots of balloons, confetti and noise makers.

Whatever your theme and wherever your venue, taking a couple of hours to learn to dance together to your special song will make you feel even more fun when you get out onto your dance floor.

This time of year is busy, even if you’re not getting married, so I offer some quick ways to get in a little dancing practice in lead and follow, twirls, movement around the floor and pretty dips.

The majority of my couples start with my two lesson dance special which is $138/couple available on Sunday afternoons.

If they are really pressed for time they do a single lesson for an hour and a half.  Since some of my couples are flying in for just the week or two before, this option is a great way to still get in some practice before the big day.

Call, email or text me with any questions you may have about your holiday wedding dance at 949.400.7347 and Jillian@OurWeddingDance.com

I can’t wait to talk with you about your wedding and brainstorm about what type of dance you’re thinking would be fun and romantic!

Halloween Hugs,



Holiday Wedding Dance Song Ideas:

“The Gift”, Martina McBride and Jim Brickman (slow foxtrot)

“You’re My Favorite”, Jason Jones (country slow dance)

“I Am Your Man”, Seal (slow dance)

“I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”, Frank Sinatra (foxtrot/jitterbug)

“Winter Wonderland”, Dick Dale and Alice Lon (foxtrot)

“All I Want For Christmas Is You”, Mariah Carey (slow foxtrot start, rousing swing)

“Christmas Is The Time [To Say I Love You]”, Katharine McPhee (slow start, jitterbug)

“I’d Like You For Christmas”, Julie London (rumba or slow foxtrot)

“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, Sam Smith (rumba)

“Christmas Wedding Day”, Judy Brown (jitterbug)

“21 – Gumption from the movie ‘The Holiday'”, Hans Zimmer (instrumental – fast foxtrot/swing and slow romantic parts for rumba)

2 Dances for 1 Person

September 19th, 2016 by admin

What happens when you need to learn two dances for your big day?

This is not as unusual as it may sound!

I have had many brides come in to learn a wedding dance with their groom and a father daughter dance with dad.

Or a dad would come in to learn a father daughter dance and a special dance with his wife or significant other for a “parent’s dance”.

Grooms have had to learn the wedding dance and a mom son dance.

One bride learned two father daughter dances to dance a different dance with each of her dads.

And that’s just for weddings!

Last month I got a dad learning a Sweet 16 dance with his daughter and a birthday dance with his wife celebrating her milestone birthday at the same event.  Click here to see their pretty pictures and read their lovely testimonial.


So how can two dances be learned by one person for a big event and not leave that one person’s head spinning with steps, choreography and songs?

There are a few ways to go about the two dances, one person lessons.

Overlap OK:

First, I inquire if the person in question wants some overlap of figures and choreography between the two dances or if two entirely different dances and steps are needed.

If overlap is ok I incorporate some similar moves for both dances and make sure that the two dances complement each other.

Entirely Different:

If two entirely different dances are needed I inquire about the number of lessons the person is able to take to learn the dances.

Just a few lessons? Then I definitely keep it simple, limiting each dance to two or three unique moves and two different beginnings and endings.

If the person can take more than a few lessons we can do more moves, unique picture poses and “get across the floor” steps.

No matter what your preference for your two dances I make it fun and make it easy to remember for you!

At the end of each lesson, I video all the steps and sequence of choreography on your phone so you can work with it at home.

Happy dancing and contact me for those Fall and Holiday weddings coming up fast, Jillian

2 Songs – 1 Dance!

August 11th, 2016 by admin

Over the years I’ve had a lot of requests for a wedding dance that starts out with one song and ends with another.

Sometimes the first song is faster and more upbeat and the second is slower with romantic undertones. Other times the first song is slow and dreamy and the second song really lets the couple break loose!


How does it work?  Is it too hard?  Will it look ok?

How it works:

I teach simple “doable in the dress” steps for the two dances that utilize common technique points for turns and movement to keep things flowing seamlessly from the first to the second dance.

DJs are great at fading a first song down and bringing up the second or you can always do the tried and true “scratchy record sound” to transition with some acting stuff for laughs.


Most of my couples have used half of the first song and half of the second song.  There is usually a good place to fade out during an instrumental area or repetitive refrain.  The whole dance should run about three to four minutes.

Three to four dance moves, particular to each type of song, still give each dance their own flavor but don’t feel overwhelming to master.

Transitioning can be fun with a cute move right before the new dance that showcases the lyrics or provides a picture pose.

Most of my couples still want that famous dip for the end – but it can done fast or slowly, depending on which song is first or second.

Looking Good:

If the couple really likes two songs, rather than just one, and wants the flavor of two types of dances seamed together for their first dance, this can be an ideal solution.  Two songs – one dance is a great way to showcase your individualism and do something a bit different.  Ultimately if my couples look happy dancing together –  it’s a win!

One two dance medley I had was super crazy: the bride and groom started out with a traditional foxtrot and then halfway through she grabbed a chair, sat her groom down, someone placed a fez on his head, she donned a cute coin skirt over her wedding dress and it all finished with a rousing belly dance display (pg rated, of course) for her adoring groom and crazy applauding guests!

Soon Fall will be in the air so text or phone me at 949.400.7347 with any questions about songs, dances and lessons.  Right now I have a two lesson Sunday Special available!

Jillian :-)

Put on your dancing shoes

July 14th, 2016 by admin

Over the almost 16 years I’ve been specializing in teaching wedding dances I have seen a lot of different shoes that brides and grooms were going to wear to dance in on their BIG DAY.

The Bride’s Shoes

What’s a given:

1) The bride wants to have her shoes look absolutely fantastic on her most important day.

2) A lot of times if the groom is tall enough the bride wants to wear some sort of high heeled shoe.

3) If the bride is a lot shorter than her groom she probably wants to wear very high heels.

What’s to consider:

1) Dancing in very high heels can be a challenge to move quickly and turn in if you haven’t danced a lot in them before.

2) If your groom is not an experienced dancer he might accidentally throw you off balance with his moves if you’re feeling unstable in your shoes.

How to compensate:

1) You can allow for your “new height” by bending your knees more and keeping your head back on your spine to balance yourself evenly on your high heels and lower your center of gravity.

2) You can have two pair of shoes, one to wow everyone with at the wedding and one for fun and comfort at the reception.

I’ve seen brides dance in everything from super high heels (one of my bride’s had a side business selling 6-10″ heeled shoes and of course wanted to showcase a pair of her acrylic Cinderella verrrry high steppers) to platforms, ballet flats and even bare feet.

Ultimately, it’s all about what you want and what you think you can deal with on your wedding day and if your heart is set on a certain shoe by all means go for it! But if you’re able to change shoes for your first dance to a more modest heel or flat – that could be more comfortable and easier to dance and party in.


If you choose a platform be aware that it will probably give you a “rocking action” as you step and could make you feel a little stiff due to the fact it doesn’t give.

If you choose an open backed sandal, you could get a clunking sound as you dance as the shoe separates from your foot momentarily during the step.


Having seen lots of choices for wedding dance shoes I recommend changing shoes for your reception so you can have the best of all shoe worlds!

About a 2″ heel and one that is a bit larger than the tiny stiletto type heel plus a shoe base that is not too slick (rough them up in the parking lot beforehand!) seems to be the easiest for most brides to dance in.

Flats are good too but your wedding dress might not be bustled to your flats but rather to your first pair of wedding shoes and you would need to allow for some extra material at your feet.

You can also purchase a pair of dance shoes online if you’re sure you won’t be walking outside in dirt or through water.  (They have suede bottoms to help you glide on the dance floor.)

The Groom’s Shoes

What’s a given:

1) The groom wants to please his bride!

2) Most of the time the groom will just default to rental tuxedo shoes or nice dress shoes that he already has or will purchase for the wedding.

3) If the bride wants to wear something unusual like Converse tennis shoes or bare feet he will match his bride.

What to consider:

1) The bride’s wishes!

2) Any special needs that the groom has physically.

How to compensate:

1) Dress shoes can be slick on the dance floor so if the groom owns them he can scuff them up a bit in the parking lot so he has more traction on the floor as he leads the steps.

2) If he’s dancing in tennis shoes for the big day – Converse, Vans etc. – he will need to be aware his shoes may stick to the dance floor and he will need to step carefully.

I’ve seen lots of fun and fancy groom footwear and it’s all good as long as the bride is happy with the choice and the groom can walk and dance in his shoes!

Lots of grooms care about their footwear these days and it’s not unusual for a groom to tell me in intricate detail about his wedding shoes.  I encourage my grooms and my brides to dance around in their living rooms in their wedding shoes before the wedding day.


1) Most of my grooms that have opted for their own shoes rather than a rental pair seem to be more comfortable.

2) Grooms and brides wearing matching tennis type shoes usually wear them to dance lessons to get used to dancing together in them.


I recommend the groom dance in something that is comfortable, the right size for his feet and meets his bride’s expectations.

If he has a particular idea for his shoes it’s probably a good idea to let his bride know right away so she can yay or nay the shoe idea!

Leading the first dance can be challenging so the groom probably doesn’t want to be thinking too much about his shoes. 😉

Just like the bride, the groom can also purchase a pair of dance shoes online if he’s sure he won’t be walking outside in dirt or through water.  (They have suede bottoms to help you glide on the dance floor.)

All in all the shoes the bride and groom wear for the wedding dance are pretty important!  If you’re unsure about a particular shoe and how it would be to dance in it please text or email me and I can share my experience about it.

Dance lessons can really help you work with the shoes you’ll be wearing on your wedding day.

My brides wear flats to our dance lessons and often bring their wedding shoes so they can dance around on the carpet at the studio to show me what the shoes will and won’t do!

My grooms usually wear leather soled shoes to learn in and sometimes bring their wedding shoes to show me and we discuss any possible challenges they might present.

Happy shoe hunting! Text or email me if you have any additional questions and to schedule some first dance lessons to get you and your shoes ready to dance!

xoxo Jillian

Message or Text: 949.400.7347

Book some dance lessons now!

Wedding Shoes!

Wedding Shoes!

To Choreograph Or Not…

June 16th, 2016 by admin

To choreograph or not to choreograph your wedding dance…


That is the question!

I get asked about this constantly by my wedding couples and there are positives and negatives to both approaches.  Let’s take a look.


The Choreographed First Dance


1) It’s great to know your dance order, especially for the follower!

2) You will get in ALL those cool steps and picture poses you learned.


1) What if you mess up and now you’re out of order and now… you’re in trouble!

2) It can look a little “canned”.


The Non-Choreographed First Dance


1) You know how to dance as opposed to just knowing one routine!

2) It’s all based on “lead and follow” so the leader always looks good.


1) “Deer in the headlights” potential!

2) Need to be well-versed in the “never let them see you sweat” rule.


You can see that there are many considerations and it depends on what you both decide would work best for you and your wedding.

For example, if you’re having over 300 people, like one of my recent couples, you may want to opt for the choreographed routine because, well, that’s a lot of people watching you!

If you’re having an intimate reception in an outdoor setting, you might prefer the non-choreographed dance to keep things casual and just flowing.

Maybe you both are into control!! and leaving the dance up to lead and follow and a group of steps sounds out of your comfort zone.

Or perhaps you both are easy going and a choreographed dance would be waaaay out of character for people to watch who know you both well.

Whatever your decision, or if you want to wait to make a decision during your lessons, I will help you put together the wedding dance of your dreams to your lovely song!

Contact me a couple of months before your big day to schedule some private dance lessons… farther out if you’ve got something wild and crazy up your sleeve!

Best with all the planning!

xxoo Jillian

Message and Text:


Happy 4th of July!

Your Song

April 7th, 2016 by admin

It’s April and it looks like April showers will bring May flowers.  What better time to think about your first dance coming up this Summer than when it’s El Nino and we’re indoors anyway?

* Are you stumped for a first dance song? *

Many of my students bring several songs they are considering to our first rehearsal to see what works dancing and feelings wise for both of them.

I can put steps and choreography together for just about anything.

Once I had a first dance song that was a recording of the bride’s gorgeous voice singing their song for them to dance to on their fabulous day.

* Length of song is a consideration. *

Some songs run around 4 to 5 minutes which many of my couples find too long for their guests to be watching them.

Remember you’re in charge of how long you want to dance and a knowing look to the DJ and your ending dip can signal a fade out of your music.

Another time I had a couple who wanted a tango with some acting moves at the top of the dance.  The groom sat in a chair reading a newspaper upside down as their song began and the bride was tasked with trying to get his attention! 😉

* Look at a printed version of all the lyrics and verses for your special song.*

It’s not fun to get any weird surprises the day of as you suddenly hear the artist crooning about lost loves, fights or anything else that doesn’t quite go for the day of your dreams with the partner of your heart.

Sometimes a favorite song will have a somber verse embedded toward the end of it and you have to decide if it’s a game changer.

One of my father daughter couples really liked a certain song that didn’t quite match their circumstances so dad actually had his recording mixed with a muted instrumental during a small part of it so no one would be the wiser and they could still use the song.

Whatever song says you is the perfect song.  You will look back on this amazing event for years and years so I believe it’s important that you both really like the song and want to learn to dance to it.

*Below are some songs that I have worked with recently.*

“Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?” Bryan Adams

“Take Me To Church” Hozier

“Writing’s On The Wall” Sam Smith

“I Don’t Dance” Lee Brice

“Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran

“One Last Night” Vaults

“Shut Up And Dance” Walk The Moon

Happy Song Hunting!

Hugs, Jillian

949.400.7347 Text and Phone

OurWeddingDance.com – Songs

Here I am in my new "Lilly"!

Here I am in my new “Lilly”!

Debutante Dance

March 2nd, 2016 by admin

If it’s Spring it must be Debutante Ball time!

Debutante Balls are exciting rites of passage for high school senior ladies and their families:

The beauty of the gowns, flowers and decor of the evening +

an exciting video show of the debutante’s amazing accomplishments and future plans +

all the friends and family in attendance =

one magical memory that will last a lifetime!

During the Debutante Ball there is a wonderful Father Daughter group dance where the debs and their dads dance to a sweet song that gets all the moms, grandmas, aunties and friends teary-eyed.

Since the early 2000s, I have had the pleasure of choreographing many, many Father Daughter dances and instructing hundreds of dads and daughters in dance steps and techniques.

The Father Daughter Dance does not have to be a difficult dance to be beautiful and effective! From two to four rehearsals need to be at the dance studio where there is good lighting, mirrors and a large wooden dance floor.

During rehearsals, dads get used to leading and daughters to following the group dance steps to their special song ensuring everyone feels confident dancing in close proximity on the dance floor.

Debutantes can wear their petticoats if they will be wearing them with their gowns on the big day and it is best if dads wear leather soled shoes to simulate their formal footwear and also so they won’t “stick” to the floor.

Over the years I’ve learned the best Debutante Presents Father Daughter dances are the dances that were choreographed since dads and daughters then know their beginning, middle and end and what they need to do to keep the dancing going smoothly and not run into anyone.

Songs for the Father Daughter Dance are usually between three and four minutes long. Some song choices I have had are: “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw, “The First Waltz” from the movie The Young Victoria, “Daughters” by John Mayer and “Moon River” by Andy Williams.

Take a look at fun Father Daughter dance songs for the bride and her dad to get more ideas about songs.

Email me your song ideas if you would like to know more about the dancing that would go with the song you’re thinking of using.

Most of the time a song choice is actually a foxtrot with 4/4 timing not a waltz with 1,2,3 timing. I can adapt waltz figures for this timing to still retain the look of a waltz but give the dance a contemporary feel.

Happy Spring and Happy Debutante Balls y’all!

Hugs, Jillian

The St. James Bow!

The St. James Bow!


What’s the most important part of a wedding first dance?

February 16th, 2016 by admin


It could be the walk on…

You’re catching everyone’s eye with the very beginning and whether you strut onto the floor or just walk casually hand in hand – all eyes are on you.


sanddollarMaybe the first twirl…

Who doesn’t love to see the bride’s dress go out in a perfect twirl that makes her look like Cinderella at her very own ball.


sanddollarMoving across the dance floor as one…

The special song rises and surges and suddenly they’re moving as one and every girl in the room nudges her +1 with a knowing look.


sanddollarA trick – like a lean, lift or carry…

There is nothing like a collective Ohhh or Ahhh from the guests to get the hearts racing.


sanddollarFinally, it could be the dip…

Slowly and purposefully the groom dips his beautiful bride and brings her lips to his for a romantic kiss.


sanddollarI say it could be any or all of those fantastic moments yet…

At the end of the day the most important part of a wedding first dance is YOU!


If your guests want to see entrances, exits, dips and tricks – let’s face it there are plenty of TV shows available!

But to see the two people you have so much history with, dance together exchanging knowing looks and eyes full of memories in the making is priceless and beyond compare.

It’s good to know how to dance together so you can get beyond all of the lead and follow, dance technique and footwork to just “BE” with each other on the dance floor on your BIG DAY.



Let me help you learn to work together as a couple with steps and choreography that are romantic and fun but not too much to do in your gorgeous wedding clothes.

Hugs to all of you at this exciting time, Jillian


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Sunday Special: TWO 55 minute lessons for $138/couple

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