Years ago I was at a wedding where at one point there were only half a dozen people in the room. Guests were either outside smoking or back in their hotel rooms changing into something more comfortable. Inside that reception ballroom was the most uncomfortable thing ever. Music was playing, but not one of those 6 people were dancing. An empty dance floor is a DJ’s worst nightmare and something no bride ever envisions for her wedding!
I think some of the best weddings we’ve all been to are the ones spent with good friends, perhaps a few drinks, and a full dance floor. Every couple likely pictures their reception packed with dancing, but just how can you ensure that it will happen? Below are our top tips to keep wedding guests on the dance floor, plus a bonus at the end!
Tip 1: Set the Mood Early. Your cocktail hour is a great opportunity to set the mood for your reception. Feeling mellow and elegant, perhaps a string quartet. But if you want to inject some energy, consider a mariachi band, barbershop quartet, or even karaoke for something different. The most fun cocktail hour I’ve been too featured a bluegrass band that the groom joined in playing. The band even kicked off the reception with a bluegrass version of the Jewish hora dance. Totally different but totally amazing, and the wedding guests were pumped all night long after that!
Tip 2: Start with the Right Setting. Make sure your reception is conducive to getting your guests on the dance floor. Of course a professional DJ is essential to read the vibe of the room and keep the music playing! Dim lighting and an open bar are always helpful to loose up any inhibitions. Ensure your dance floor has enough space for all your guests too. Too small and people will feel too cramped. Too big and people will feel self-conscious. Make sure your dance floor is easily accessible and not tucked away in a corner as an after thought. Putting it front and center will send a message to everyone that that dancing will be a big part of the evening.
Tip 3: Get Out on the Dance Floor Yourself! Set an example for everyone by getting out on the dance floor yourself early in the evening. Guests will follow your lead and will be more likely to join in when they see you having fun.
Tip 4: Mix up the Music. Play a good mix of music from classic oldies to modern hip hop. Vary songs that have a fast, up-tempo beat with slower, more romantic ballards. A good DJ will play to the crowd. Remember, the reason you’re hiring a professional DJ to entertain wedding guests is because they are experts at reading the crowd and understanding what they need – a change of tempo, a different genre, whatever it may be – in order to keep them on the dance floor.
Tip 5: Avoid Sunday Night Weddings. Unless it’s a holiday weekend, many of your guests might have to go back to work the next morning. If that’s the case, they might not drink as much or stay as late if they know they have an early alarm coming soon.
Bonus Tip: Set a Good Timeline. When the dancing is going strong, the last thing you want to do is interrupt it for your parent dances or cake cutting because the dance floor might not fill up again the same way afterwards. For example, consider doing your cake cutting right after dinner service ends. You’ll then have everyone’s attention and can invite them to the dance floor with an upbeat song to get them moving!
Super fun dance floor photos provided by Kelly Ewell Photography
At 48 Fields, we are a Leesburg Virginia wedding venue for celebrations of all sizes.
Our rustic barns and vast fields are peacefully set in the heart of Northern Virginia wine country.