One of the highlights of your wedding reception will likely be dancing the night away surrounded by your nearest and dearest. A packed wedding dance floor is the ultimate sign of an amazing party—and an empty one is a huge mood-killer. So how do you keep your guests out of their seats and dancing, as opposed to mingling at their tables or, even worse, congregating in the venue lobby or bathroom? We highlight the best secrets to get your guests on the dance floor all night long!
Let the pros control the playlist.
The average wedding reception includes about 40-50 songs—and you don’t have to choose every one of them. Feel free to provide a few important songs to our band whether it’s from Soundcloud or Spotify, give them the freedom to read your crowd and choose songs accordingly. Let the band do what he/she was hired to do.
Manage your expectations.
The size of your guest list will have a big impact on the wedding dance floor. If there are only 50 guests in attendance, the dance floor probably won’t be packed all night long. If there are 500 guests, then there should be people on the dance floor consistently throughout the evening.
Take requests in advance.
Allowing your wedding guests to make song requests may make them more interested in staying on the dance floor. The best way to field requests? Include a section on your wedding website that allows guests to share their song requests. That way, you can review them (just in case your troublemaking cousin tries to add that tune he knows you hate), and pass them on to your music pro.
Don’t interrupt the flow.
Most music pros recommend serving your entire wedding meal (including toasts and speeches) and then having an uninterrupted dance session afterward. In our own experience, we’ve witnessed that breaks in the dancing can crush any momentum. If you want to keep your guests dancing, you may want to skip traditions like the bouquet and garter tosses—which tend to clear the floor quickly.
Start the night off right.
The song that welcomes guests to the dance floor, usually after the first dance or parent dances, is a crucial one. Different music pros have different opinions on the right tune for this moment. Set a good example. The biggest reason why you lose people on the dance floor is that the couple just isn’t there. People pay attention to where the couple is and what they’re doing. Make sure you take your wedding portraits before the reception and greet and mingle with guests during cocktail hour and dinner, so you aren’t taken away from the dance floor for too long (remember, you can take breaks to rest your feet or use the bathroom!). And enlist your wedding party to join you—it’s part of their “job” to have a great time and get their groove on.
Trick ‘em with a group photo.
If you’re worried that guests will be shy about making their move to the dance floor, here’s a secret wedding emcee trick: reel them in by calling for a group photo. After the specialty dances, we see a lot of clients bringing everyone to the dance floor to get a group photo with the couple in front. Then once the photos are taken, our band can drop into a fun song and everyone is already on the dance floor so they usually stay there.
Don’t go overboard on the slow songs.
We recommend keeping the slow songs to a minimum—only playing between one and three slower tunes during the evening. We will say that it will keep everybody on the dance floor more with faster dancing songs than with slow songs.
Consider a “soft closing”
One of the trends we see is the idea of a “soft close” at the end of the reception. Instead of keeping the partying going until the last minute and then abruptly stopping the music, he recommends stopping the raucous music a few minutes early, giving guests time to gather their things, say goodbye, and maybe take a last-minute selfie. It’s all about having that smooth transition to the end of the night
Open the Dancefloor to Everyone After the First Dance
Get people up and dancing as soon as your first dance is complete. This part of the evening should signal the beginning of the party and the opening of the dance floor.
Inviting everyone onto the floor can be done with a quick announcement by your wedding DJ or your bridal party dancing and dragging other guests onto the dance floor.
You should also pick epic party-starter music after your first dance or ask us to play a tried and tested tune that fills the dancefloor.
Be A Good Example
The biggest reason people don’t dance at the reception party for an extended time is that the happy couple is not there. Make sure you are the first ones on the dance floor as soon as your band starts pumping music and the last ones off at the end of the night – of course, you can take breaks to rest your feet.
Greet and mingle with your guests and take wedding group photos during cocktail hour or dinner. That way, you’ll be free to hit the floor and can spend more time with your loved ones there.