“I came to dance, dance, dance. . .”
It’s a question that we at Opus Productions get asked all the time: How do I make sure that my guests
dance at my wedding reception? After all, this is your big day, your vision, your plan. . . and it all rests on the willingness of your historically conservative Aunt Rita and your cousin Rick’s love of “the shopping cart”. Are you going to be the only person on the dancefloor at your reception? Is this a train-wreck waiting to happen? Are you crazy?
Good news: no. You aren’t crazy. Dancing has historically been a fantastic way to celebrate at a reception and having dancing during receptions is becoming more and more popular, even at events with a slightly more formal feel. Brides and grooms are so adamant about dancing, in fact, that they frequently list it on their invitations, “warning” their guests ahead of time to bring their best moves. While predicting whether or not the crowd at your wedding will join in the fun can be a worrisome task, we think there are some sure-fire ways to get Rita on the floor to shake it, despite her reservations. Below are our top three ways to ensure that your wedding guests will dance at your reception. Study closely, little grasshopper, because nobody likes to do the Electric Slide solo. . .
iPods don’t DJ
You had to know this was coming, right? I mean we are a DJ service at heart. But seriously, they don’t. When is the last time your iPod was able to read a crowd, change the flow of the music, take requests (while at the same time editing requests – hard rock might not be the best background music while you cut your cake. . . just a thought) or get the crowd excited to dance? If your iPod has done that, you better call Apple and get on their design team because that is AMAZING!
DJs play a critical role in reception flow, particularly as it relates to the dancing portion of your celebration. Not only are they responsible for continual music flow and making sure that the right ceremonial songs are played in the right order (first dance, father/daughter dance, etc.), but they are able to read the crowd and see what music they are responding to and make changes to the playlist as necessary. A good DJ will ensure that your desires about requests are taken seriously, avoiding the types of music that you despise, and help get your guests out on the dance floor with their music selections.
To find a DJ that has experience with this, do your research. Read reviews on wedding sites like weddingwire.com and see what other couples have had to say. Also (and this is critical), make sure that your DJ purchases their music rather than paying for a streaming service; nothing says “um, what?!” like a commercial playing in the middle of your reception. We promise, it happens.
You know all of those people that are surrounding you on your big day? Getting you water and helping you hold your dress while you go to the bathroom? Well they all love to dance. What? You didn’t know that? Well they do – if for no other reason than because you asked them to. Often times brides will have a built-in support system in their bridal parties, friends and siblings and at least one crazy person that you are worrying about controlling. These folks are there to support your every wish and desire on your big day or they would have said “no” when you asked them for that support. If dancing is important to you, ask them for it. Ask your bridal party to dance when the music starts. If you are like the typical bridal party in the United States, there will be enough of them to make the dance floor appear fairly full, allowing your other guests to feel comfortable “blending in” with the crowd while jamming to their favorite tunes.
Flex that “it’s our day and this is really important” muscle with your bridal party and ask them to get the dancing started. They’ll love to do it. . . at least more than helping serve cake. Know your guests. Obviously every wedding reception comes with a barrage of guests – your friends, your parents’ friends, the obligatory invitation to that girl you knew once that named her firstborn after you. Generally, there is a variety of music tastes and playing only one type of music will not appeal to them all. So what do you do? Hard rock. Just kidding. Seriously, don’t do that.
First thing is first, make sure your DJ knows all of the songs that you and your fiancé need to have played at the reception; these songs should never be overlooked and your DJ should make special note to play everything on your playlist first.
Second, think about what your guests would like to hear. While you may have an undying love for Michael Buble, your parents’ friends might not “get that”. A good compromise? Sinatra. Many of their songs are the same and it’s basically a sin for anyone over 50 to say anything bad about Sinatra so there you go; you just satisfied your need for fantastic lyrics at the same time that you satisfied the older generation’s need for a crooner.
The point? Consider weaving in some music that you know will reach different groups at your reception. If your DJ is worthwhile, they will watch to see who is dancing and what songs are keeping people on the dance floor and continue to push that type of music. And don’t forget to maybe throw in an occasional line dance; line dances come in all types of styles and genres so don’t think we are pushing cowboy hats and hay bales… line dancing is a great way to get even the most timid dancer on the floor with some pre-conceived, hard-to-mess-up moves.
Dancing is a great way to get your guests involved in your big day. If you play your cards right (your dancing card, that is), you will be sure to have a fantastic time with memories to last a lifetime. For more advice on reception music, to talk through the services we offer and to check our availability,
contact Opus Productions at 801.866.5122.