How I practiced (not) for the groom and mother dance

How I practiced (not) for the groom and mother dance

I can’t say that the groom and mother dance was the first thing that came to mind when I heard my son was engaged to his dream girl. The rehearsal dinner and what I would wear were more immediate concerns. I thought about it soon though. And often.

And my daughter-in-law brought it up a few times.

“Do you have an idea of what song you’d like to dance to with Dennis at our wedding?”

I really didn’t. And I don’t remember applying any Googling skills to the question either. If I had, I might have found this.  Or this.

What I did think about was what it would be like to dance with him, since we had never done it before, whether he could dance, (I’d heard he could but hadn’t seen it) and whether I could still dance since it has been a while since those ballroom lessons.

I thought he should probably pick the song, which it turns out is the officially correct way to go about it. My main request was that we practice before the wedding. So, I would periodically sprinkle this question into a phone call:

“When could we practice for our dance?”

“You’re coming home? Could we practice for our dance while you’re here?”

“We could take lessons together.”

Things like that were said more than a few times. He ignored me. Your son may go deaf during wedding planning. Don’t take it personally.

At some point he did tell me he had picked out the song. Did I ask what it was? No.

“Can we practice please?” That was my question.


The origin of the tradition of the groom and mother dance is a little murky. I haven’t found anyone who has anything to say about it, but since dancing is as old as weddings, it’s safe to say it’s probably been done in some fashion for thousands of years. I, however, had never done it and I am not keen on doing anything for the first time in front of 200 people.

Nevertheless, I showed up on the wedding day with no run-through and no idea what song we would dance to. When we came to this part of the evening, the usual line-up was followed. First he danced with his bride, then she danced with her dad, and then we danced together.

And it was perfect. He picked a new version of an old song, one I have loved all my life, and the surprise made it all the more special. We waltzed like we had done it before to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” On the dance floor we talked about the perfect day, his beautiful wife, and how we were going to handle Christmas.

And the babies.

It was just grand.



Need inspiration? The internet loves this popular mother / groom dance duo.

  • Peggy Odum Thomas

    Oh Joyce, I know I’m just lurking here (as my son is NOT old enough to get married) but had to share. Joe and I danced to the original as our song at our wedding, and now that there seems to be a new tradition of asking the guests what they’d like to hear at the wedding-this new version is what I always request. It’s a new wedding tradition that I have come to love!

    • Joyce Beverly

      Love this story. In my wildest dream, you enjoy what you read here whether you ever have been or will be a mother of the groom. If it also helps you later, I’m just so pleased. So pleased.