There’s an art to keeping guests on the dance floor, one that most planning or entertainment companies know well. And while dancing isn’t the priority for every couple, if a packed dance floor is one of your goals, here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
DO | DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY
Your guests will follow your lead. If you, as the couple, aren’t dancing, they will likely follow suit. When possible, say all of your hellos to guests during the ancillary events or during dinner so once the dance floor opens you can do nothing but dance. And while an unpopular opinion, avoiding a dress change after the dance floor has opened can ensure the energy stays on the dance floor the entire night.
DO | POSITION A BAR (OR TWO) NEAR THE DANCE FLOOR
To avoid guests leaving the dance floor for too long, place a bar or two near the dance floor so guests can just step off the dance floor for a refill and get back to dancing as quickly as possible.
DON’T | LEAVE GUESTS SITTING AT THE TABLES FOR TOO LONG
Having an elaborate coursed out dinner is a big part of creating a formal affair and if you’re envisioning a black tie celebration, this may just be what you have in mind. However, when creating your menu, make sure to either work with your chef and catering team to deliver the meal as efficiently as possible or plan to get guests up and dancing between courses. If you leave guests at a dinner table drinking wine and eating course after course for three hours, your band will have their job cut out for them when it comes to rebuilding the momentum for dancing.
DON’T | HAVE TOO MANY DISTRACTIONS
It can be tempting to have everything from photo booths to tequila tasting stations to an outdoor lounge and more. However, the truth is, every one of those elements is dividing your guest’s attention from the dance floor. These elements work perfectly for larger guest counts (250 and above) or for couples who don’t care if the dance floor is a feature. That said, if you want guests to dance, I recommend limiting distractions to one additional element only.
DON’T | SCHEDULE BAND BREAKS DURING HIGH ENERGY MOMENTS
While not always possible, try to schedule band breaks during dinner and the cake cutting so the energy doesn’t get interrupted by a change in flow. If that’s not possible, work with your planning team and/or band to ensure the music they have prepared for breaks is high energy enough to keep the dance floor going. Or even better, consider bringing on a DJ for band breaks to keep the energy alive.
DO | LET THE BAND (OR DJ) READ THE CROWD
It can be tempting to direct every song for the band and the DJ, especially if music is a big part of your story as a couple. However, the most successful celebrations are influenced by your musical taste while also being given the space to change gears if guests aren’t responding. DJs can get out of a song within a few seconds if the song they’re playing clears the dance floor. Similarly, bands can watch crowd response and adjust as well.
DO | PLACE LOUNGE FURNITURE BY THE DANCE FLOOR
Like the bar, giving your guest a nearby spot to take a quick break from the dance floor can encourage them to get right back out there the next time they hear a great song. Anticipating as many of your guests needs right there by the dance floor, ensures they never have to go too far for too long unless they truly just need some fresh air.
DO | SCHEDULE THE CAKE CUTTING LATER IN THE NIGHT
While not everyone knows etiquette to a tee, the “rule” is guests are free to go home once the cake has been cut. For this reason, we recommend scheduling the cake cutting as late in the evening as possible that still allows guests to enjoy a slice before the end of the night. Also, while you do have to slot a tentative time for this detail, I personally recommend playing this one element by ear. For instance, I may schedule a cake cutting at 10pm, but if the dance floor is packed at that point, I’ll push the cake cutting back a bit. If at 9:30pm, guests seem like they need a change of pace, I’ll move the cake cutting up to change the energy of the event temporarily.
DO | BRING LATE NIGHT SNACKS TO THE DANCE FLOOR
While we love a late night food truck as much as anyone, having guests order from said food truck only distracts from the dance floor. When possible, have late night snacks passed on the dance floor or save late night snacks as something guests grab as they’re leaving the wedding. Your wind down at the end of the night can be quite fun when an In N Out Truck is parked outside for guests to order and enjoy before heading home. The alternative of announcing this treat 45 minutes before your celebration ends can wreak havoc on a perfectly full dance floor.
Photos by Lauren and Abby of Kimberlee & Andrew’s gorgeous Cabo Wedding.