I've planned more than 50 weddings. Here are 8 secrets to keeping the dance floor full.
- As a professional wedding planner, I have a few tips to keep the dance floor busy all day or night.
- Be sure to dim the lights and choose one or two songs that are special to certain groups of guests.
Great music is a must at many weddings, but keeping a dance floor full all day or night is easier said than done.
From choosing a song to picking a DJ, a lot of factors go into ensuring your guests a good time. Here are eight dance-floor tips I've picked up in seven years as a professional wedding planner.
Tell people that good music is a priority
Wedding vendors often assume what clients want instead of pestering an overwhelmed couple with even more questions. That means that it's on you to give the green light for certain choices, including decisions about the dance floor.
Be clear with your DJ or whoever is in charge of the music about which genres you do and don't want. Encourage creativity and share any specific songs you must hear or avoid.
If you don't have a DJ, designate someone to fill this role, even if that just means they're responsible for a music-playing device during the reception.
Turn down the lights
Not all venues have the ability to dim the lights but if yours does, use it. A darker dance floor usually creates a better environment because people are less embarrassed to shake their tail feathers in front of strangers.
If you're hosting a reception that will go into the evening, plan to have the dance floor open after the sun goes down.
Select one or two songs that have extra special value to certain guests
Some guests have special memories tied to specific songs. Think of that one album you played on repeat in high school, the go-to tune for college parties, or a wedding song for a special couple who's attending.
Don't be afraid to play those songs even if they're not what you'd typically hear at a wedding. If you really like them, play them more than once.
Get out there and encourage guests to join
The biggest mistake that couples make when it comes to a dance floor is that they miss out on the fun. Your guests go where you go so if they see you enjoying yourself on the dance floor, they're more likely to join in.
If you don't like to dance, you can always de-prioritize this aspect of your wedding and perhaps even forgo a dance floor altogether (yes, that's OK).
Remember that there are ways for everyone to enjoy music
If you have guests who aren't able to hear the songs, include them in the joy by using interpreters, lyric books, or percussive music that has a beat they can feel.
When in doubt, ask what would make the dance floor a safe and fun place for them to enjoy.
Consider hiring live musicians
Hiring a band might sound expensive but they often perform many of the same functions that a DJ or other wedding-music professional can fulfill.
Live musicians are also more responsive to the crowd than someone with recorded music. One of the very best wedding-music moments I ever saw was from a live band because they could keep going based on the energy of the guests.
Don't shy away from music that not all of your guests may recognize
Even if some guests may not recognize songs that may have specific cultural value to you, your partner, or certain wedding VIPs, play them anyway. If they bring you joy, incorporate those folk songs, traditional dances, or family singalongs.
If you're afraid that not everyone will get the hype, remember they don't need to. People often pick up on the vibe of the music and join along.
You can also help explain what's going on by offering a short explanation in a wedding program, on a sign, or over a mic.
Surprise musical guest stars are, indeed, a thing at weddings
I've planned several weddings where we arranged special musical-star appearances, sometimes as a surprise for the guests as arranged by the couple.
Other times, it was a surprise from one partner to another or even a treat from the guests to the people getting married. One of the best surprise musicians was a mariachi band that got a bride's grandma dancing all night.
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