Couple’s First Dance

A young married couple takes a moment to breathe during the couple's first dance.

Wedding day.

Wake up.

Arrive at the venue in Sutter’s Creek.

Wipe sleep out of eyes.

Late night was a late one, tracking down the wedding gown.

Hugs all around.

Unload the last of the decorations.

Purple and orange.

Haul food and drinks uphill to the kitchen.

Set up the guest book table, next to gift table.

Round up the bridesmaids.

Ready in an hour.

Round up the groomsmen.

“How do you put the flower on?”

Ready in ten minutes.

Assemble wedding party for pictures.

He sees her in The Dress and grins.

She blushes at his reaction.


“A little to the right.”

“Let’s try that one again.”


Jaw muscles start aching.

“Someone’s got to pick up the pizzas!”

Short drive into town for photos.


Run in with Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp in an alleyway.


Fast drive back to the venue for wedding ceremony.

Line up like they rehearsed.

“Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

Broken bread and a covenant in wine.

Prayers to the One that brought them together.

The Kiss!

“…for the very first time, Mr. and Mrs. Joel Hoff.”

Assemble the family and bridal party for more pictures.


Jaw muscles still aching.

Scent of warm pizza.

Rumbling bellies.

Get to the reception in time for a few quick bites.

She picks up a ukulele, surprises her man with a serenade.

Mom and uncles bring on the bluegrass.

Tender toasts with bright hopes for the future.

Slice that cake.

A few quick bites.

Top layer slides off that cake.

The Song begins…

The couple’s first dance is one of those rare escapes for the bride and groom in the midst of their wedding ceremony. The dance floor becomes a rare and great gulf between the couple and the guests who’ve come to celebrate. The bride and groom are alone together for what might be the first time all day. That bit of solitude offers close quarters to laugh together at the unexpected bits of the day. To remark at the other’s appearance. To hold each other in time with music, keeping the other from falling asleep with the exhaustion of weeks or months of wedding day preparations. That’s the moment you see in this photo of Justine and Joel’s wedding day.

Inhale, exhale.

The Song ends.

Giddy bridesmaids run out on the floor for their own dance.

“Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift.

The reception continues.

Still smiling.

Jaw muscles continue to ache.

It’s a sweet ache though.

If you’re married, what are your memories of your first dance at the wedding? Spill the details in the comments section below.

And if you need a wedding photographer, I’d love to chat about shooting your wedding.