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Packed Dance Floor 101

You’ve spoken your vows, you’ve snapped your photos, the speeches have been delivered and everyone is comfortably fed and feeling merry.  There’s a couple of hours until your grand exit and it’s time to party!

But how will you get a diverse group of people from different walks of life and with different music tastes, to dance?

Here’s some tips to get you and your guests onto the dance floor and partying until the end of the night…

1. Check sound restrictions at your venue

When you’re choosing your venue, check to see if there are any sound restrictions.  Many venues in residential areas will have a noise restriction and may also have a curfew for the time the music has to stop.  Some venues do not even allow bands and DJs to bring their own speakers, meaning that all music must be played through small, in-house speakers.

If you want to be able to party like crazy at your reception then you’re going to want to choose a venue that does not have any noise restrictions.

As a rough guideline if a venue has a limit of less than 90db, you may find it to be quieter than you want.  Anything over that will give you a pretty good volume to your dance floor, providing it is played through good quality speakers.

The number of guests that you have will also make a difference as bodies absorb sound.  If you have a large wedding at a venue that only allows the music to be played at 75db, you’re probably not going to be able to hear the music over the conversation.

If you do have your heart set on a venue with strict sound limits then you may want to consider a second pair of speakers.  This means that music will be heard throughout the room instead of just on the dance floor.

2. Place tables close together and near the dance floor

This is particularly important for smaller weddings.  When there is lots of space between tables and the dance floor, it can be rather intimidating for shy guests to make the trek to the dance floor and then cut loose in front of a bunch of people that they don’t know very well.

Reducing the amount of empty space in the room creates a more intimate, convivial atmosphere.  This will help your guests feel more comfortable about letting their hair down.

3. Think of your guests

While it’s understandable that you want to hear the songs you like at your wedding, it’s also important to make sure your guests hear the songs that they like too (even if you hate them!).

Your guests have travelled far and wide to be there for your special day – some may even have come from overseas. there will be all different age groups and lots of different tastes of music.

Sometimes it’s worth sacrificing 3 minutes of your time listening to the ‘Macerena’ (for example) if it gets all your family and friends on the dance floor having a wild old time.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not fans of ‘Nutbush City Limits’ either, but we bet most of your aunts and uncles are!

A great way for you to give your guests some input into the music, is to ask them to include a song request with their RSVP card.  This helps both you and your DJ get an idea of what your guests will enjoy.

4. Give your DJ the right information

At some point during the lead up to your wedding, your DJ will organise a meeting with you (if they don’t…run) to go over all the music and other details for your wedding.

Every DJ will ask for different information but, as a general guideline, here are some tips to make sure that they understand what you want:

– Explain what genres of music you like, for example, rock, hip-hop or 80’s music.

– Name a few of your favourite bands or artists.

– Pick a handful (10-20) of must-play songs that are really special to you and your guests.  Think old high school or Uni faves or your parent’s First Dance song – songs that your DJ won’t necessarily think of but are guaranteed to get you guys off your seats.

– When adding songs to your do-not-playlist, consider whether your guests may want to hear those songs (see point 3).

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas or unsure of whether a particular song will work, ask your DJ for advice – they rock dance floors for a living!

5. Don't make the dancing part of the night go for too long

Generally speaking there is a limit to how long people can keep dancing at a wedding before they get tired.

You may be able to go all night (although you’ve probably been up since 7am getting your hair and makeup done) but your older (and very young) guests will struggle to keep up.

Think about what you want to happen when the dancing stops and your guests come together to wish you farewell for your Grand Exit.

Will the energy to be high with all your guests excited and wanting more or will the night have fizzled because it all went on a bit too long?

We recommend two hours of dancing as an optimum length of time to keep everyone’s energy up so that you can leave on a high note.

Any longer and people’s energy may start to wane and you might find that your Grand Exit isn’t as grand as you were hoping.

6. Assign your bridesmaids and groomsmen to get the party started

Sometimes it works out that many of the guests you invite don’t really like dancing or are shy about dancing in front of people they don’t know very well.  Given half the chance, they’ll happily stay in their seats all night chatting – even if the DJ is playing all their favourite tunes.

In this situation, it helps if you’ve briefed your bridal party beforehand to get people up and dancing.

If your other guests see the bridesmaids and groomsmen rocking out on the dance floor, they’ll be more likely to get up and have a go themselves.

If they’re still feeling bashful, you might need your bridal party to start inviting people to dance (aka wrangling people onto the floor)!

7. Make sure you and your new spouse are dancing

Usually, wedding guests will take the lead from the bride and groom.  If you guys are hanging out at the bar or outside, having a chat then your guests will do the same.

If you want your guests on the dance floor then lead by example and shake some tail feather yourselves.

It’ll break the ice, get everyone in the mood and communicate to your guests that you want to party.

You're all set!

If you use some of these ideas, you’ll be well on your way to making your reception the party of your life.

Of course if all your family and friends really hate to dance, there’s not much anyone can do (although a couple of glasses of bubbly can be wonderfully persuasive).

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