Karen McDonald | First Dance Elegance

Dance Instructor Karen McDonald, Courtney & Zach

Practice. Practice. Practice ... “Whenever there’s a chance to go through your dance, the entrance, the finale, or that intricate turn that needs special attention, practice the move so it will come naturally during your special moment on the dance floor.”

Karen McDonald, True Balance Dance

The Rhythm of Life ... Your First Dance

From The Bride & Groom

“We met briefly at an academic conference on philosophy, culture, and politics in Western Civilization at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, VA,” says Zach Horton, who married Courtney McEachon at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. “A couple of years elapsed, and we forgot each others’ names!” They met again at an evening soiree on the Upper West Side, hosted by a mutual friend who was at the same academic conference.

“Before too long, we went on our first date, to see Pope Francis in Central Park, followed by dinner. Our relationship developed while I worked at an investment bank and Courtney was at a dermatological surgeon’s practice. Our workplaces were equidistant from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, so we would meet there for the 5:30pm Mass and/or 6pm Benediction before I had to return to work for the night and Courtney would go home. St. Patrick’s became such a special place to us. We simply had to be married there!”

They were both about to start new jobs, and Zach suggested a trip to Florida before the workaday life set in again. “On Saturday evening, we went for a Rosary Walk on the beach as the sun was setting. My plan had been to dance on the beach at sunset, but a sudden torrential thunderstorm foiled the sunset backdrop.

Courtney & Zach's First Dance (Photo: Edward Dye)"The moment the rain stopped, we skipped on down to the beach, I turned on some of Courtney’s favorite tunes and we danced until the uncharged speaker fizzled out. Fortunately, there was enough battery for me to change the song to George Strait’s ‘Check Yes or No.’ It faded out perfectly at the chorus, which I finished a capella, after spinning Courtney and landing on one knee. She checked ‘Yes.’ ”

Zach tells us that the best wedding advice he got was, “Whenever you come to a difference of opinion, humble yourself and say, ‘This time I want you to have your way; next time I will also want you to have your way.’ Seek always to serve and sacrifice for each other, even in the minutiae of wedding planning.” The worst advice he got was to “Let the bride make all the decisions. She wants to do it all anyway.”

For Courtney, the best advice was to realize that, “The wedding is just the first day of your marriage, so plan for the things that matter for a lifetime, not just for a day.” The worst? “Do what you want as a couple, not what other people want.”

From The Dance Instructor

“I believe taking the bride and groom’s personality into consideration helps establish a connection between the couple and the choreography. Creativity comes from a certain comfort level in their dance together.

Dance Instructor Karen McDonald, Courtney & Zach“For example, if both work in intense careers, they may prefer something that shows their less serious side, like a comedic rendition of a Tango or a Foxtrot that turns into a fun Swing. The height difference also factors into dance choices.”

The song typically defines the dance style, although more and more couples are choosing to surprise their guests with different interpretations. “Courtney and Zach shared with me that they were wearing ‘Cowboy Boots’ for their first dance and requested some country western choreography.”

Both had previous experience with this style. “We combined this with other dance patterns they were comfortable with. Courtney and Zach are a lovely couple and they embraced the experience with enthusiasm, fun, and fortitude.

“A couple about to be married is experiencing an extraordinarily unique and extremely busy and stressful time in their lives. So I want to offer a comfortable haven where they are relaxed and happy and can discover how their dance helps them get closer — and how the physcial and verbal communication for their dance can carry through to their daily lives. I say, ‘Enjoy the dance ... for the rest of your life!’ ”

True Balance Dance, Karen McDonald
315.459.1453, www.truebalancedance.com

Vendors ... Ceremony-St. Patrick's Cathedral. Reception-Yale Club of NYC. Gown-Pronovias Barcelona. Wedding Photos-Edward Dye. Music-The A Band. Florist-Atlas Floral. She is a Sr. Associate, GLG; Yale University class of 2015. He is an analyst in Legal/Investor Relations-Business Development, Blackstone; Princeton University, class of 2015.