All the Facts ... “Even before I meet a couple, I want to know the dance floor size, the bride’s wedding dress design, any hair style that may impede her choreography, their wedding shoes, the groom’s jacket and if they are using live or recorded music. Of course, I also need to know the time frame leading up to their special day.”
FROM THE BRIDE
“We met at our college town’s dive bar!” says Abby, who married Max at The Lighthouse. “Max proposed on a Saturday morning walk on our favorite street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
“Karen came highly recommended by someone we know. We tried another dance studio first and it was definitely not a fit. We were so relieved to find her!
“She was so patient with us! Neither of us had much dancing experience and she was so kind and encouraging and always made us feel comfortable. We bonded with her immediately and never once had an awkward moment. Our dance was unique and she really listened to how we envisioned it going, while also implementing her own personal touch. Karen is one of those people who you meet for the first time, but feel as if you had known her forever. We were so lucky to find her!”
What was the best — and worst — wedding advice they got?
“The best was to stay in the present and enjoy the moment as it’s happening. The worst was that we wouldn’t get to eat at our own wedding. We may have missed out on our cocktail hour, but we devoured our main course. We had the best burgers and fries for our entrées and ate every single bite!”
FROM THE DANCE INSTRUCTOR
“Working with ‘First Dance’ couples has taught me the importance of appreciating their personality as a couple and how they interact with each other.” says Karen McDonald of True Balance Dance. “This shapes how I work with their chosen music and embrace any ideas they may want to include.
“Max and Abby were a total delight to meet and to work with from the onset. They were enthusiastic and excited to try new and different things, accepting changes that were tweaked to apply to their musical preferences. More importantly, for me as a teacher, they actually ‘practiced,’ and because of their commitment, their confidence kept growing and their dance kept improving.
“Even before I meet a couple, I want to know the dance floor size, the bride’s wedding dress design, any hair style that may impede her choreography, their wedding shoes, the groom’s jacket and if they are using live or recorded music. Of course, I also need to know the time frame leading up to their special day.”
Once they start working together, Karen’s first tip is always, “Practice, practice, practice! — especially if there are any possible musical challenges. Wearing your actual wedding day shoes is also helpful, so you are completely comfortable with them for your special dance. Practicing whenever you can between your dance lessons allows the dance to become easier and natural. Especially if you don’t want your guests to see you’ve taken dance lessons!”
After discovering the unique qualities that brought each of her wedding couples together, Karen then takes great pleasure in “creating a safe, humorous, and comfortable space for them to enjoy their dance steps. “Many couples I have worked with feel completely de-stressed after their dance time together.
“The weeks and days leading up to the wedding can be a very vulnerable time for the wedding couple, and I feel this is an opportunity to step out of that wedding decision mode and relax into something that they can absorb wholeheartedly, with some peace and joy!”
Their Vendors ... Ceremony & Reception-The Lighthouse, NYC. Gown-Reem Acra. Photographer-Michael Jurick. Bands-Bobby Attiko Band & Harris Lane Band. DJ-Total Entertainment. Florist-Dejuan Stroud. Wedding Planner-Gourmet Advisory Services, Claudia Warner. Abby is manager at SevenRooms (hospitality tech); Max is an associate at Blackstone.
Karen McDonald, True Balance Dance
Concierge Coach, www.truebalanceliving.com
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