Planning your Dream Wedding: FiveThings to Consider
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Pulling off the perfect reception, one where guests tire themselves out from non-stop dancing, is the end goal for most couples planning their wedding. The elusive question, however, is how exactly does one make that goal become a reality? A common misconception is that hiring an amazing band/DJ is the answer. However, this is simply not the case. In fact, there are many other factors that contribute to keeping the dance floor packed all night long. Now, don’t get me wrong, choosing the right entertainment company is a critical step toward meeting the end goal, but there are other important factors to consider as well. Your venue, the day of the week you plan your reception, the time of your reception, and your guest list are as important as choosing the right entertainment company.
Here are five things to consider as you plan your dream wedding.
Choosing Your Entertainment Company
Experience: Experience is invaluable when it comes to picking your entertainment company. Let’s face it - in this age of Apple Tunes, Spotify, and Sound Cloud - just about anyone can put together a playlist. However, it takes experience to know how to read a crowd and adjust the music to keep your guests actively on the dance floor.
Flexibility: You entertainment company works for you, but it is wise to let them do what you are paying them to do. While you may want to have your favorite songs and musical genres drive the playlist these may not keep your guests on the dance floor. Collaborate with your entertainment company to determine how best to integrate your favorite songs and musical genres while making room for their expertise.
II. The Venue
Size: Hold onto your seats! Bigger isn’t always better. Try and aim for a space that comfortably fits the number of guests you expect to show up to your reception. Having your reception for 100 guests in a space that fits 300 will give the illusion that your dance floor is empty even if everyone is up and dancing. A good rule of thumb is to factor that at least 10% of your invited guests will decline your invitation.
Location, Location, Location: When choosing the space for your venue keep in mind that spaces with an external bar and access to outdoor patios or balconies can lure people away from the dance floor. For example, I may get caught up in a conversation while waiting for a drink and forget about the amazing music playing on the dance floor. The same holds true for outside patios and balconies. The best reception spaces include rooms where your entertainment is right in front of the dance floor, your dinner tables are on the periphery of the dance floor and the bar is in the room.
III. What a difference a day makes!
Just like location, the day of the week you plan your reception will have an impact on how active your dance floor will be.
a. Saturday: Saturday weddings are popular for a reason. Many people have Saturdays off and as such are well rested and ready to party all night. An added benefit is that many people also have Sunday off, which means that they can party well into the night and not have to worry about waking up early the next day. Saturdays, for all of their perks, come with a hefty price tag.
b. Friday: So, if you want to try and economize Friday is your next best choice. Your guests might be a bit less energetic because they worked the whole week, but they know they don’t have to get up early the next day.
c. Sunday: Coming in at number three is Sunday. Most individuals are well rested from the night before but they usually have work Monday morning so they will probably not be hitting the bar too hard and will ultimately leave early since they have work the next morning.
You may have noticed that drinking seems to be mentioned a lot in this section. You are not wrong - a couple of drinks can make even the most reserved guests eager to hit the dance floor.
IV. Timing is Everything
Now that you have the date of your big day you need to think about what time you want to host your reception. When booking your event keep this in mind most people would rather dance at night than in the daytime. When trying to determine what time to end your reception keep in mind that calling it quits early leaves everyone wanting more. However, ending too late can leave you with no guests in the hall let alone on the dance floor. Keep in mind your guest may have kids at home that they have to tend to or they may have a long commute. Older guests tend to leave earlier. I have been doing this for a long time. In my experience I have noticed if your event ends at 1:00 AM most guests leave by midnight. In light of this I would recommend ending your event at 11:30PM, but the choice is ultimately yours. You know your guests best.
V. The final factor: Your Guests
The hosts impact on guests: Let’s face it - everyone loves a bride and groom. There is something electric and exciting about joining two people as they prepare to take on the world, together. That being said, a great way to get your guests on the dance floor is for you to get up and DANCE! Guests gravitate towards the bride and groom.
Know your guests: The most talented, experienced, innovative entertainers are not miracle workers. What I mean is that if Aunt Tilly has not danced at the last 20 weddings she attended the likelihood she is going to dance at yours is slim to none. Keep this in mind when crafting your guest list. Another thing to keep in mind is that older guests may not be able to dance as long as the 20 years olds at your party.
Buffet or Sit-Down? What the heck does food have to do with dancing? Plenty! If it fits your budget I would definitely recommend a sit down style dinner. Many people want the most possible dance time that they can get so they may opt for a buffet or cocktail style dinner. Yes, a buffet or cocktail style dinner will give you more possible dance time, however, a sit down dinner will give you a better quality of dance time. What do I mean by this? If by some chance you had four straight solid hours of dance time your guests are not going to dance for 240 minutes straight, at least not most of them. Everyone needs a restroom break everyone wants a beverage break. Usually after 20-45 minutes of straight dancing people tend to get tired and need a few minutes to recharge their batteries. The sit down dinner is perfect because your guests are usually given several opportunities to take a break and recharge. Now, when it is time to dance your guests will be raring to go. They will be full of energy and eager to burn off the calories they just consumed.
Here are a couple of insider tips that don’t necessarily fit into my five steps, but are noteworthy in their own right.
Inform your caterer that you want your food courses evenly spaced out so that all of the formalities of the evening are equally spaced out. This will help keep the energy on the dance floor and ensure that people don’t lose interest.
Make sure that you don’t serve dessert until the hour before the conclusion of your event, unless of course, you plan on having a Viennese hour. Your guests will begin to fade into the night and your dance floor will thin out if you do.
The recommendations that you just read are offered in the spirit of sharing some best practices I have learned in my long career as a personal entertainer. Ultimately, it is your day and the decision is yours. My job is to help you have your dream event and execute all of your plans so that you can have fun, enjoy your guests, and eat some of the delicious food you arranged!