Without any formal training to speak of, my family–extended and immediate–perfected the wedding circle.

I’m not sure if it’s in the DNA of all the Irish, but my family was born with the innate ability to form a circle on a dance floor without any social cues or direction. It’s as if there’s a magnetic force pushing us apart in circular unison. There’s usually some clapping and toe-tapping, for sure, and generally speaking, no diversity whatsoever. If there happens to be any diversity in the form of someone with rhythm, typically the circle combusts and people slowly return to their seats riddled with insecurity.

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Personally speaking, there are 3 songs that get my pale ass to the dance floor and I’d like to break down how they should be used to maximize your wedding potential.

  • Black-Eyed Peas “I Got a Feeling”
  • Whitney Houston “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”
  • Mariah Carey “All I Want for Christmas is You”

“I Got a Feeling” may be the whitest black song ever created. It’s the Wayne Brady of the wedding setlist and it’s a favorite of mine because it demands jumping and fist pumping–all moves that require no skill set. If the food is served at 8 pm, this song should play at 8:30 sharp. Of course, this sets the tone that in fact, tonight will be a good, good night.

Whitney Houston’s “I Want to Dance with Somebody” won’t be a popular song with all your weddings. This is because it’s not actually a good dance song. If I had to make a comparison to anything, I’d say it’s the pixy styx of wedding songs. It gets you all hopped up and jittery but has no practical value. Several years ago, I got a wedding invitation to my cousin Kara’s wedding that requested song recommendations. I promptly wrote in this classic without thinking about it. Fast forward to the wedding and wouldn’t you know it was played. NOBODY got on the dance floor and then an announcement was made that I recommended the song. On the humiliation scale, it was about a 7, so I had no choice but to get up there and dance like a poorly coordinated gay man.

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” should only be played during your December weddings if I’m being honest. I’ve never once turned the radio station when it comes on and I personally think you should be banned from all formal events if it doesn’t make your heart move a little. It plays at the end of all our family Christmas parties and it’s the #1 song for the wedding circle. It truly is a work of art to see my family flock to the dance floor, seemingly knowing their spot on the perimeter of the circle. Now if you’re doing the circle correctly, you should know that after a minute or two, there needs to be one or two people–typically with mediocre dance skills–who step into the circle. This of course starts a chain of events where people take  turns doing their only dance move in the middle, before returning to the perimeter. Each turn is met with gasps and claps as the moves become sadder and sadder. The song cannot finish before at least one person–must be male–tries to do a gymnastics move for the crowd. More often than not this person is intoxicated and may or may not have a tie wrapped around his head. Every now and then it’s a different person–your uncle Frank, for example–and it’s the drunkest he’s been in 2 years.

In closing, here’s are a few rules to obey at your weddings:

  1. No grinding at family weddings, ever.
  2. Never fully take off your dress shirt. If you’ve sweat that much, it’s time to hydrate.
  3. Never upstage the little kid on the dance floor.
  4. Don’t be uncle Frank.

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