Group Dancing at Weddings

group dances at weddings


A podcast with Maureen Woodman about Group Dancing at weddings.

John Maher: Hi! I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Maureen Woodman, a wedding planner for on and off-site catered events at The Essex Room in Essex, Massachusetts. Today, we’re talking about “Group Dancing at Weddings.” Welcome, Maureen.

Maureen Woodman: Hi, John. Thanks for having me today.

John Maher: Sure. So, this is a fun topic. People always have a lot of fun dancing at weddings. How has group dancing, in particular, at weddings evolved over the last 40 or 50 years?

Maureen Woodman: This is one of my favorite topics. I’d love to dance myself, all kinds of dancing. I like to dance with my husband. I love to dance with my daughters. And I love to do fun line dances.

Sometimes, if we’re having a really good time at the wedding at our function hall, all the waitresses will get up and do one of the particular line dances that is trending right now. I think it’s a way of really getting into the crowd, and I don’t know, just unwinding.

There’s something about dancing that everybody can express themselves differently. But it’s completely accepted no matter how good or bad you are. They’re both out there with the line dances.

John Maher: Right. So, I remember back in, say, like the 70s, there were some certain dances that we all did together. And now we don’t see those as much anymore. How has that changed overtime? Do you think that people are just getting sick of doing the same dances at weddings all the time?

Maureen Woodman: They seem to be, I would say. In the 60s, you may have done the Stroll. And then, in the 70s, when disco came around, everyone was doing the Hustle. And then, we had the infamous chicken dance somewhere through the 80s. And then, of course, we had that Macarena, maybe in the 90s.

And then, we also had the Electric Slide. The Electric Slide has definitely lived the longest life out of all those. But it stopped for a while. I don’t know why it stopped. In the 2000s, I think people said, “Oh, not the Chicken Dance again!” They frowned upon it. The Hully Gully would come back, or something.

John Maher: So, the whole idea of doing a group dance or a line dance was just frowned upon?

Maureen Woodman: Yes. It just fizzled out there. And now, I think the average bride is 29. The average groom is 31 for 2014. So, these particular bride and grooms were brought up on MTV and music videos.

I think a lot of it is going back to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. There isn’t a wedding that doesn’t go by now, where there is not a Michael Jackson medley, and the place goes wild. It usually ends with Thriller.

It starts out – they’ll do ABC. They’ll go to a whole realm of Michael’s genre. But it always ends with Billy Jean. And then, they go right into Thriller. The place goes crazy. I think maybe that Thriller video, for these 27- to 32-year olds was really a huge part of their life.

They studied it. They watched MTV. They did it with their friends when they were five or six years old. And here we are 25 years later, and they’re “Let’s do it. We did this. We did it.” It’s kind of like lip syncing. Lip syncing to them was American Idol to now. It was really popular back then for the kids.

John Maher: What are some of the other dances that you typically see at weddings now?

Maureen Woodman: So, there are some crazy dances out there. There’s a dance called the Wobble, which again, any of these four that I’ll tell you right now, you can just go on YouTube right now and practice, or get your bridesmaids out there. This is what they do. They all come ready for the line dance.

The other one that’s really popular is the “Cha-Cha Slide.” It does the Charlie Brown. And then, you have the Cupid Shuffle, which is definitely, that is the one that our help particularly goes crazy for at The Essex Room.

They go crazy as well for the Bee Gees. When the Bee Gees come on, there is a remake of what they think was the Hustle from the 70s. It was a little different back then. There really was an MTV. But they all seem to turn into John Travolta from Saturday Night Live. That is definitely still very, very popular.

John Maher: So, there’s a retro element to this as well. It’s not just newer songs. It’s, like you said, the Michael Jackson medley. There is the Bee Gees thing. So, a lot of the sort of more retro types of medleys and songs that maybe came out prior to the bride and groom even being born, those are coming back because it’s just as seen as this fun retro thing.

Maureen Woodman: Yes, I think so. Another really popular song they go wild for is “All the Single Ladies.” So, they all go down on the floor. They all tried to be Beyoncé. A lot of times, you may see that song played if the bride and groom are going to throw the bouquet in the garden, which not a lot of them do that anymore.

But for some reason, All the Single Ladies comes on, and the place goes wild. It just starts jumping. It gets everyone going. It brings everyone together, the females as well as the males.

Again, another thing that I’m seeing change, we used to do a line dance and every guy cleared the floor. And now, the guys are up there, leading the Cupid shuffle and the Wobble. I don’t understand what happened. They all think they’re Thriller. They’re thrilling I guess.

John Maher: So, where do people go to learn these group dances. I know sometimes, I’ve gone to weddings. People go out on the dance floor and start one of these group dances. I don’t know the steps either. So maybe, I go out on the dance floor and try to figure it out on the fly. Maybe, I just sit down because I just don’t know that. If I wanted to be prepared for this, where do I go to find that out?

Maureen Woodman: I would just go right on Google. I’d just go right to YouTube. I’d put it on the screen. You can put everything right on your big screen at home now and practice at home. What’s fun with the Cupid shuffle and the Cha-Cha Slide and the Wobble, they instruct you.

So, that’s something that’s different too. They tell you in the song what to do – slide to the left, slide to the right. They’re telling you in the song. So that could be a change too, where the older songs, you —

John Maher: You had to know that dance —

Maureen Woodman: You had to know the dance. But the new ones, they’re telling you what to do. So, it’s like Simon Says in a funny way. As long as you can follow direction, you can get up there and make a fool out of yourself basically. But it seems to be popular. They love it. It’s making everyone happy and coming together.

John Maher: Right. All right, great. Thanks for speaking with us today, Maureen. I appreciate it.

Maureen Woodman: Thank you, John.

John Maher: For more information, you can visit The Essex Room at or call 978-768-7335.

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