Photo: Stories by Victoria
When you picture your wedding reception, you might have a vision of all of your loved ones enjoying themselves and dancing into the night. And who doesn’t want their family and friends to get excited about celebrating their love?
To ensure that everyone is in an energetic mood and spirits are high, we rounded up some industry experts to share their top tips for getting your guests to party on the dance floor.
"First and foremost, the newlyweds set the tone for the entire evening. If you are on the dance floor, having an amazing time, your guests will naturally gravitate towards you and intensify the energy! If you're socializing around the bar and not giving the dance floor the time of day, chances are you're looking at a sparse space." —Michelle Vining, LOLA Event Productions
"When we ask our couples what defines success for their wedding, a fun dance floor is almost always included in the answer. Making sure both the couple and their guests have an amazing time, feel engaged throughout the night, and really love being on the dance floor is certainly something that makes the event unforgettable. As the host, get on the dance floor as often as you can. When you do, the excitement and engagement goes way up, as your guests are there because of you. Also, position the DJ close to the dance floor. It allows for better engagement with your guests & positioning of sound and lighting." —Troy Adams, Carolina DJ Professionals
"One of our favorite ways to keep the dance floor full is by planning for an East Coast-style reception timing. This is done by alternating a course of the meal with a dance set with the band. It allows for everyone to eat, for all traditions, but gives guests a break instead of pushing them to have the energy to dance for 2 hours straight." —Samantha Leenheer, House of Joy
"When the dance floor is in a separate area from dinner or too far from those who like to warm up to dancing from their seats chatting with a long lost cousin, then the odds of getting guests on the dance floor, at least not in enough time to optimize the dancing time slot. It's so much easier to grab a bite of cake, jump on the dance floor for a tune or two, freshen up, and get back on the dance floor. When a guest has to move out of their area, all you have to do is ask for a delay to the dance floor." —Jacqueline Vizcaino, Tinted Events Design & Planning
"Be sure to open the photo booth only at certain times; this will keep guests from queuing at the booth and allow them to bring energy to the dance floor." —Megan Breukelman, Megan & Kenneth
"I know this is going to make a percentage of couples cringe at the thought, but line dances. I know, how gauche. But before making rash decisions in this arena, think about how many people you know that do not know how to dance. Then add that to the number of people that don't like to dance in front of other people, and then add that you may have a room full of people that half do not know the other half. A line dance is the one thing that everyone knows. Think of it as the smell of warm apple pie. It immediately makes everyone feel comfortable. Almost every age can enjoy it, and everyone feels better after they have had a slice." —Keith Willard, Keith Willard Events
"We tell our couples all the time — they know their guests best. If you know you have a crowd who will appreciate a line dance or a little Texas two-step, then be sure you communicate that with your DJ or band. Play music that will appeal to the audience at large, and know that music can change throughout the evening as your older guests may depart and you have a smaller group left who may appreciate a different style of music." —Katy Padilla, Scarlet Rose Events
"This might sound like a no-brainer, but make sure that you’re playing music that people can dance to! Your cocktail hour music might sound different than the playlist for your reception. For example, we typically see more romantic music being played earlier in the day and even during dinner. That said, if you want your guests really get into the partying spirit, the type of music you gravitate toward for the reception should be easy to move to. Even the most popular songs can be awkward for dancing!" —Kevin Dennis, Fantasy Sound Event Services
"It may seem antithetical, but don't make the dance floor too large! The more space, the more people feel watched and less like there is a party they need to join in on! A good rule of thumb remains three square feet per couple." —Andrea Smith, SoiréeSmith
"Dimming lights and creating an ambiance is a definite must! Having a dance floor mood will really bring guests out to the floor." —Megan Lentz, Vida Events
“Having a great DJ or band is a great first step, but plan for a surprise entertainer to join the party during the last quarter of the party. It can be a hype band or dancers that join the dancefloor as a surprise for the guests. These performers will re-invigorate the party atmosphere and inspire everyone to keep the energy on the vibe. It doesn't have to be dancers. It can be celebrity impersonators who can perform and engage with the crowd. Drag Queens are renowned for their captivating and high-energy performances, making them perfect surprise entertainers for the latter part of your celebration. As they sashay onto the dance floor during the middle of a dance set, they can bring a burst of color, glamour, and excitement that can reignite the party atmosphere." —Mary Angelini, Key Moment Films
Setting the bar high with great music and engaging entertainment is the key to a packed dance floor and an unforgettable reception. The best thing you can do to lead the crowd is to let loose and enjoy the music with your new spouse – and stay hydrated!