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Dancing at a WeddingWhen you want to make your nuptial celebration dance-friendly, finding a starting point for your planning might pose a challenge. This is especially true if you don't have any experience organizing large-scale social events. However, shaping an affair that encourages your guests to get on the floor just takes a little effort and a few key elements.

Cue the Music: DJ, Live Band or Playlists?

Depending on your budget, you could select a disc jockey, hire a live musical act or go on the cheap with the help of technology and pre-planned playlists. With the first two options, you’ll need to check out online reviews, listen to them perform live and read the fine print before you sign any contracts. You must also ensure that their equipment setup and volume levels don’t run afoul of any guidelines specified by your venue. 

If you want a DJ, A Practical Wedding advises hiring a club professional who does weddings on the side as opposed to a “wedding” DJ, who might pad the evening with cringe-worthy banter and songs. Additionally, you’ll need to name specific songs you desire to hear as well as tunes that you do not want to be played under any circumstances. Be ready to work out your “must play” and “no play” lists early in your planning. 

Tips for DIYing Your Reception Music

If you’re extremely cash-strapped or have strong opinions about music for your fête, hooking up your own music setup with a self-built playlist might be the way to go. For those favoring the DIY approach, Megan Keene from A Practical Wedding dispenses some sage wisdom on how to “iPod” the reception: 

  • Select a professional sound system that’s compatible with your laptop or device
  • Be sure to choose the “cross-fade” feature to avoid dead air between songs
  • Include songs and artists that are familiar to your guests
  • Deputize a trusted friend to ensure no one else changes your playlists

Furthermore, Keene advises crafting your music to include both natural high and low points during the evening. In other words, your series of songs should affect the mood by “building it up, and easing it down, building it up higher, dropping it down, and then building it up into a frenzy right at the end.”

Add Some Sparkle to Your Dance Floor

Of course, having a space in which to dance is just as important as including the right music. If the standard wooden models don’t quite fit your aesthetic, there are plenty of other permutations you can choose for a distinctive visual appeal. TheKnot contributor Bridget Clegg shows some innovative possibilities, including installing acrylic flooring over a swimming pool, projecting soft floral shapes or stars onto a dance floor, geometry-inspired versions or a surface powered with LED lighting. 

Include a Surprise Element for Your Guests

Surprise wedding dances have been in vogue for a couple of decades now, and plenty of candid videos are floating around online. Cosmopolitan writer Anna Breslaw shows 10 examples of fun viral versions, including ones recreated from the classic Michael Jackson “Thriller” video and sudden switch-ups from a slow romantic tune to “You’re the One That I Want” from the musical “Grease.” Make sure you work with your DJ or live band, or build the necessary musical transitions into your playlists. Not only that, you should probably schedule a few weeks’ worth of practices to make sure you pull off the effect just right on the dance floor. 

Creating a danceable reception takes a bit of work, but the results are well worth it. Add a sturdy and great-looking dance floor, develop a plan for your music and include some surprise elements for extra fun. Factoring in just the right trappings will hopefully encourage your guests to dance the night away.

Category: Wedding Planning Ceremonies

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