How to Have a Killer Dancefloor (Hint: It's not just about the music)
After playing and DJing so many weddings over the past few years, we have noticed some patterns and are getting pretty darn good at predicting whether or not the dancefloor will go well just by looking at the runsheet. That’s because there are a lot of factors that go into the making of a great dancefloor beyond simply the songs that are played. Here are our top tips to create the best chance of having a great dancefloor on your wedding day:
1. Start it properly. Dancefloors, for the most part, don’t start themselves. It is a rare guest indeed who is happy to be the first lonely dancer to get on the floor. Even if you’re super shy and hate being the centre of attention - have a First Dance (and optional, Parents Dance) right before you open up the dancefloor for all. Even if you only dance by yourselves for 30 seconds before you have your MC jump in and save you by inviting all of your guests up to join you, this is all that you need. This way, you have a good amount of guests already on the dancefloor so that when the DJ plays the first official “dancing for all” song (which must be a banger) the dancefloor has begun.
2. Keep the momentum going! Now that you’ve started the dancefloor, if at all possible, don’t interrupt it by serving cake/dessert, or with another formality, group photo, or location move. For the same reason that dancefloors don’t often start themselves, they also don’t easily restart themselves after being killed. Your guests also tend to follow you wherever you go, so if you leave right away, often your guests will also leave.
3. Play music for everyone. If you want all of your guests to dance, you need to play music that everyone knows and likes. This seems like too obvious a point to even mention, but we have seen many couples choose songs that are not widely popular but that they really like to dance to. If you’re happy to just have yourself and a couple of friends on the dancefloor, this is totally fine, it is your day after all, but if you do want grandma and grandpa to join in it might be a great idea to start with some older music that everyone knows and likes and transition into newer or more niche songs later in the night after other guests have sat down.
4. Turn down the lights! No one wants to dance under a spotlight. There’s a reason clubs are dark. It’s common for photographers/videographers to use bright lighting to get the right shots to capture your First Dance and Parents Dance but your venue/photographers/DJ should turn down the bright lights after this so that people can boogie in the comfort of dim lighting.
5. Time it right. Don’t drag out your reception for too long before starting the dancefloor. Guests who are forced to mingle or sit down for too long will get tired and drunk and be ready to head home early. (Also this is a natural risk for weekday and Sunday weddings as, unless this is a destination wedding, people are preparing for work the next day) For a typical wedding that has started around 3:00 pm (ceremony start time), guests who have been mingling, drinking, and eating for that entire time will be ready to dance around 8:00 pm.
At the end of the day, the biggest factor that makes a good dancefloor is you and your guests. If you have friends and family who love to dance, none of these issues will get in their way. But as professional wedding musicians, these are our best suggestions to give you the best chances of having a killer dancefloor.
Photos by Luke Middlemass Photography