This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
Fear of an empty dance floor is high on the list of things that can stress a bride out in the months leading up to her wedding. There’s nothing worse than pulling off a gorgeous ceremony and choosing the perfect reception menu only to find that there’s not a single person on the dance floor. It can be a huge let down on your big day, but there are things you can do to prevent it. Here are our top tricks to keep the wedding dance floor packed at your reception!
How To Keep Your Wedding Dance Floor Packed
1. Hire a Pro
If keeping the dance floor packed all night long is important to you, don’t make the mistake of hiring just any DJ or creating a playlist on your iPod. A wedding entertainment professional like the NYC wedding band, Around Town Entertainment, will act as a master of ceremonies throughout your entire reception. They’ll know how to set the mood and keep the energy up so that people stay on the dance floor and out of their seats.
A pro will have their own set of tricks they use to handle a timid crowd. Maybe they play a song like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” or “I Will Survive” to get the ladies on the dance floor. Once they’ve got the ladies out there, they can encourage them to go grab a guy and really get the party started. Or, maybe they’ll play an interactive song or a throwback that always gets everyone moving.
The point is, they can read the mood and the crowd. They’ll know all the tricks of the trade to get things moving without being too obnoxious.
2. Let Your Pro Control Your Playlist
Of course, you’re going to want certain songs played for your first dance, the father-daughter dance, and at other key moments throughout the night. Other than that, consider providing your band or DJ with just a short playlist of songs you really want to hear and a shortlist of “Please Don’t Play” songs. Give him the opportunity to adjust the rest of the music based on the mood and play a variety of songs that will really get the dance floor moving.
3. Let Your Guests Help You Create the Playlist
Another approach is to let your guests help you create the playlist. When you mail out your wedding invitations, leave a spot on your RSVP cards for your guests to write a song request or two. If you’re not doing RSVP cards, you could have a section on your wedding website for guests to put in their requests.
This will have your guests on the edge of their seats to see if their song gets picked, and it will build up the excitement before your big day. When their song gets picked, your guests will be so thrilled they’ll run out onto the dance floor. Everybody has that one song they just can’t resist dancing to!
4. Keep the Bar Close to the Dance Floor
If you can, keep the bar in close proximity to the dance floor. If it’s way in the back somewhere, a large portion of your crowd will congregate around the bar to talk and drink, instead of gravitating toward the dance floor.
5. Set a Good Example
The truth is, people will pay attention to where the bride and groom are and what they’re doing. Make sure that formal wedding photos are done before the reception starts. Greet and mingle with your guests during the cocktail hour and dinner. But when the dancing starts, try to spend the majority of your time on the dance floor so that everyone knows it’s time to party and get their groove on. If you’re having a blast, so will your guests.
6. Enlist the Help of Your Wedding Party
Your wedding party is there to be your support system during the planning process and throughout the big day. Enlist them to help you keep the dance floor moving, too. Ask them to dance with each other and have them pull reluctant guests out on the dance floor to break the ice. Let them know that you need their help to rally the crowd and keep the dance floor moving all night.
7. Don’t Let Sore Feet Get in The Way
Many of your guests will show up in high heels and uncomfortable dress shoes, you included. Don’t let sore feet kill the fun! Provide comfy footwear for your female guests so they’ll keep dancing. It could be anything from flip-flops to cute socks, or even little ballet flats. Have them passed around when the dancing starts to show your guests how much you want them to dance and have a good time.
8. Keep Your First Dance Short
The two of you may have fallen in love listening to “Free Bird” on your first date but think about how long nine minutes of just you and your partner on the dance floor will be… for the two of you and for your guests. That doesn’t mean you can’t still have your special song for your first dance, but consider working with your band or DJ to come up with a shortened version. Inviting your guests to join you on the dance floor after a couple of minutes is also a great option. The same goes for the father/daughter dance and other special dances throughout the night.
9. Cut the Cake Early in the Evening
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is stopping everything in the middle of the party to cut the cake. Cut your cake earlier in the evening, like right before or after the toasts, or right after the first dance. If you wait until an hour or two into the dancing, guests might take it as a sign that the evening is coming to an end and start winding things down before you’re ready. Timing the bouquet and garter toss is also crucial. You might want to skip them altogether or save them for the very end to avoid interrupting the dancing.
If dancing the night away with your guests is important to you, then plan ahead to make sure the music and dancing are given top priority. Make sure there’s plenty of space for dancing and make the dance floor the focal point of the room. This will get your guests in the mindset that dancing will be a big part of the evening. Most importantly, no one can resist a smiling bride and groom partying the night away, so get out there and bust a move!
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