5 Tips for an Epic Dance Party at YOUR Wedding!
I hear brides and grooms say it all the time: “We want to have an incredible, amazing, unforgettable, epic dance party at our wedding!”
There is something ridiculously transcendent about being surrounded by all of your family and friends, drink in hand, dancing far into the night. Those are the kind of memories that last a lifetime. I am passionate about making that happen for couples.
Sometimes, with certain crowds, a dance party just “happens”. I’ve been in situations where I could probably just clap a beat into the microphone and everyone would hit the dance floor. More often than not, packed reception dance floors have to be planned. For most, it takes purposeful decision making. Consideration for all of the elements of a wedding celebration, and how they fit together will yield a powerful result. Couples should think about these 5 things to result in dance till you drop awesomeness.
FACTORS FOR A GREAT DANCE PARTY
5. Make your TIMELINE flow
A Timeline/Itinerary is the roadmap to your wedding reception. It’s the culmination of all your planning. Your timeline keeps all of the vendors, and guests, on the same page. A wedding coordinator’s job is to make sure everything you dreamed of for your big day actually happens. When couples work with me, I like to make sure that everything you dreamed of gets done in a way that builds up to an epic dance party. It’s a small difference on paper, but a huge difference in practice. Aren’t you more likely to dance if you’re in a happy, celebratory mood? Let’s do everything you can (without cheesy antics) to lead your guests right into the dance party!
*Keep interruptions to a minimum: After you and your new spouse are introduced into the room, it’s time for something else! Dinner, a first dance, a welcome from dad…anything! Otherwise, you and your guests will be standing around without anything to do. Once your guests sit down for dinner, let them eat. Having them try to watch a cake cutting or first dance while they are across the room chowing down on their meal can be frustrating for them. Once the dance floor opens, let people dance. Get all the formal stuff done early and don’t stop every fifteen minutes for toasts, the cake cutting, group pictures, or a bouquet toss. With a little bit of planning, it’s easy to structure a timeline around the evenings “must have elements” without feeling choppy.
*Keep guests informed: People like to know what’s going on! We live in an age where anything can be searched on your phone in seconds. Extend your guests the same courtesy, they’ll appreciate general knowledge of the timeline. You can have a sign with approximate times at the bar, or have the MC announce upcoming events. Every wedding I perform at, I walk around during dinner to each table and introduce myself. I share with your guests what they can expect during the evening. It is always very well received.
*Allow the timeline to be flexible. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. When you’re creating your plan for the day, it’s easy to assign times for every little element. The reality is that trying to force a room full of people to adhere to a minute to minute schedule is nearly impossible. In the 10 years of working in the wedding industry, not even one wedding has ever followed the times in the itinerary perfectly. Some crowds eat faster and it’s acceptable to move everything up 10 minutes. Other times, just the opposite. You may want to talk to your aunt and uncle you haven’t seen in year for afew minutes longer, and we push back the cake cutting. All of this is good, and you should let it happen!
**Let someone manage the timeline for you - Hire a planner, a day-of coordinator, a great M, or even enlist a bossy friend. You need SOMEONE!! But not you, ok? You deserve to enjoy your day, without a watch on.
4. Open up the BAR
I once saw a sign once at a wedding that read: “Trust me, you CAN dance. - Sincerely, Vodka” If there’s on thing that I think every wedding should have, it’s alcohol. Most guests expect there to be some type of libations at a wedding reception, and we all know someone who needs a few before feeling comfortable enough to get out there and dance. The decision and ratio of beer, wine, and liquor is up to you. If you’re concerned with your guests overindulging, there are a lot of great, creative ways to naturally limit consumption.
3. Choose the right VENUE
There are a hundred reasons to choose a venue. It’s pretty, it’s close to the city, it’s a farm, it fits your guestlist, it looks like something you saw on pinterest, and the list goes on. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those reasons. I should add that most people miss a large consideration: How well your venue function for your dance party.
The most conducive venues for dance parties keep your guests in the same space for dinner and dancing. Sure, it’s nice to have an outdoor patio with rocking chairs, an upstairs bar, or a Photo Booth in a separate room, but anything that takes your guests away from the dance floor is an obstacle.
Look for a venue where your guest count is on the high end of the room’s capacity (it will feel full, it will feel intimate, it will be awesome, I promise.) Consider a space that has a rectangular-ish layout to it for both dinner and dancing. There’s a great selection of venues that fit this description that have load of personality and charm. Keep your guests close, and you’ll be dancing till you drop!
2. Have engaging ENTERTAINMENT
I’m a DJ, but I’m not going to preach that having a DJ is the best choice for everyone. I was a live musician before learning how to mix on turntables. Pick the one that’s right for you and your vibe. Entertainers are not created equal, nor are they interchangeable - do your homework, and interview several choices (in person if possible). There are amazing DJs and bands, terrible DJs and bands, and a whole bunch in the middle. Choose an entertainer that can both bring the dance floor fire all with a professional, outgoing, friendly (but not cheesy) personality that you trust. Great entertainers can often trump the previous 3 things on the list by engaging the crowd and inspiring them to dance.
1. Get YOURSELF out there
Look to yourself. Do YOU love to dance? How about your fiance, friends, and family? Be honest with yourself. Fun people yield a fun party. If you aren’t interested in hitting the dance floor all night, you can’t expect your guests to boogie down without you. Your guests will follow your lead. If you and yours are gettin’ down, everyone else will too. The very best packed dance floors are focused on celebrating TOGETHER.
David Osborne is the owner/operator of Sound Insight Productions, a boutique influenced entertainment firm in Athens, GA. Check us online to see how incredible your wedding will be: http://www.soundinsightdj.com - Amazing Events for Amazing People.