- This is a very general statement but I suggest dancing to start no later than 9:30pm at a wedding. Any later than this and it will be hard to keep your guests amused. They will start to get bored and be less interested in dancing by this point. Some will leave early or maybe even before the dancing starts. The bride and groom may be tempted to delay dancing to go and mingle after dinner with each table but this should be done in a way that doesn’t delay the party. This could be done during cocktail hour instead of after dinner. Remember that the formal dance songs such as the “first dance” need to occur before the dance floor can open. One other idea would be to have the formal dance songs done before dinner or right after speeches so that the DJ can begin to entertain the guests early on.
- One mistake some people make is to give a huge playlist of 50-60 songs to the DJ to play at their wedding that may have been compiled by many guests or a few guests. One thing to keep in mind is that a wedding can only fit in about 60 songs during the dancing portion of the night. Generally speaking, giving the DJ no flexibility to select songs himself will likely end up in a weak dancing crowd. A request list given usually doesn’t consider music to fit all the different types and ages of people at the wedding. Most guests may just be picking their favourite song and not necessarily everyone’s favourite song. Don’t restrict the DJ too much. Remember, he does this for a living and should know how to read the crowd and play what will keep the dance floor full.
- If you are giving the DJ requests, I suggest using the DJ’s expertise and experience to play your song when he finds it appropriate to play. Brides and grooms may make requests such as “play this song next” or “only play rock for the rest of the night”. This is usually a bad idea because you are basically doing the job of the DJ. Your DJ is there to try to play what everyone wants to hear and he knows what music works together. Help him figure out your style but don’t restrict him because he usually has some sort of successful dance formula or “music strategy” that works at a wedding.
- Make sure you don’t cut out all of the cliché wedding music as you will find this will negatively impact the dance floor. Remember that your DJ does this for a living and he knows from experience which songs will get more people to dance. Weddings aren’t the time to prove to your friends and family that you’re into obscure music. Remember that you have a lot of different types of people into different music who all want to have a good time dancing to songs that they know. One of the hardest jobs for a DJ at a wedding is to create a balance in music to make everyone happy. Not everyone will have the same taste in music and you should trust your DJ’s opinions on how to make the music work.
- If you’re going to close the bar for a period of time during the night for whatever reason, do it during dinner. If you close the bar at midnight, people will think it’s time to go and the party will die out.
- Keep your DJ table near the dance floor and visible. A visible DJ stand will attract more guests to the dance floor. If the DJ and the music are portrayed as a main event as opposed to a sideshow, more people will be willing to dance.
- Strongly consider using the DJ as a Master of Ceremonies. He will know how to properly use the wireless microphone so it doesn’t give feedback and is loud enough when he speaks. He will also know how to get everyone’s attention and keep their attention. A good DJ will have enthusiasm when speaking and will know how to work the crowd. Don’t make a guest the MC who thinks he is Jerry Seinfeld on the microphone but comes off more like Al Gore. Forced jokes don’t really work.
- Make sure you keep the music and the attitude of the wedding upbeat…this includes speeches as well. This can’t be stressed enough. Keep speeches and song requests happy, not sad. Negative vibes will not put people in the mood to party and have a good time. After all, this is a celebration!
- Play a kissing game instead of the traditional clinking of the glasses to make the bride and groom kiss. If you set the mood for a party early on in the night, guests will be more inclined to dance and have fun later on. One suggestion that is a hit at weddings is the kissing wheel. Basically guests come up to the DJ booth to spin it and have to do whatever category they land on if that category isn’t “Bride and Groom Kiss”. Some of the categories include “moonwalk back to your seat, freeze until the next person spins the wheel and “wear the veil until the next spin”. This is something The Music Man DJ Service offers.
- People tend to remember the beginning and end of an event the most. That is why you should make sure your DJ is able to make a grand introduction and not leave this up to a selected MC to introduce the DJ or cut the DJ introduction right out. If the DJ is able to make an impact on the crowd early on and it is done correctly with enthusiasm and energy, it will build a stronger relationship and he should be in a more powerful position to get the crowd dancing. Start the event with a bang, not a whimper.
- One thing I can’t stress enough, make sure pictures, speeches and cake cutting are all done before the dancing begins. It is a general rule that every time the music has to stop, it will be that much harder to get the people in the mood again to dance. You will find the dance floor thinning out as opposed to getting larger.
- Keep the DJ and dance floor close to the bar but not so that the line to the bar is blocking the dance floor. You don’t want the bar and the dance floor battling for attention by putting them in separate rooms. This will divide the dance crowd from the people who want to drink and mingle as opposed to combining them by putting them side by side.
- A smaller dance floor is actually a better choice than a large dance floor. It will give the illusion that more people are dancing and the dance floor is packed. Guests will also feel like they aren’t all alone being stared at by 200 guests. People will have more fun and feel more comfortable to “cut loose”. It is okay if everyone doesn’t fit on the dance floor, it will make the party more fun! People will go home saying “What a party, it was so packed we didn’t even fit on the dance floor!”
- One general statement but valid one is that the nicer the venue halls tend to be, the harder it will be to keep the dance floor full. (especially during summer). It’s not that the night still can’t be great but it will take away from the potential dancers. The reason for this is that guests will be inclined to move towards the scenery outdoors as opposed to staying inside on the dance floor. I’m not suggesting having your wedding in the least attractive hall you can find but keep in mind how you would like your ideal wedding to turn out and pay attention to some of the details if you are more interested in a dancing crowd as opposed to a crowd that will enjoy the beautiful scenery outside. One suggestion would be to make sure the crowd all has a chance to enjoy the view before dinner so they are less inclined to stray from the dance floor once the party begins.
- Make sure you keep the doors closed. Doors are inviting and you don’t want to invite people away from the party. The longer you focus the attention on the dance floor, the more successful the night will be.
- Try not to move the guests around too much between different rooms ESPECIALLY right before dancing is supposed to begin. You may find it hard getting them back to the dance floor (especially if the microphone is set up in another room) and this will delay or lower dance floor potential right from the beginning. You will have a stronger dance crowd if you keep everything together in one room.
- Your entertainment should eat the same meal as the guests and not be fed leftovers in a back storage area after everyone else eats dinner. Speaking from experience, the more the bride and groom treat the DJ as a guest, the more the crowd will respect him as well. It is ironic that the nicer the venue hall, the more inclined they are to try to convince the bride and groom to throw the wedding vendors away in another area during the dinner. On top of that, the more you treat your wedding vendors like they are one of the guests, the more inclined they are to work that much harder to make sure your wedding goes as smoothly as possible. Vendors will bend over backwards for couples that just give them the same respect that they give their guests. They will even do extra at no charge when they are treated well.
- I know money is tight for some and that is understandable but if you can help it, try to do an open bar. Guests will (of course) drink more and have more fun. They will also stay longer if it’s an open bar. Generally speaking, more guests will leave early when it’s not an open bar. On top of this, I have seen with my own eyes at many weddings, when brides and grooms have an open bar, money gifts to the bride and groom from their guests are larger amounts. In that respect, it’s sort of a win-win situation.
- Make sure you keep the lights low on the dance floor. People will feel less like the attention is on them and this will again get more people dancing.
- Don’t arrange older guests near the speakers. This will create a battle between the younger guests who keep coming up to ask you to raise the music and the older guests who will be complaining about how loud the music is all night.
Article Submitted By:
DJ Rob Salvati
The Music Man DJ Service