Professional DJ Advice; Expert Tips & Tricks for Couples on Their Wedding Day
“As a DJ, you are literally the life of the wedding reception. Sometimes, people are hesitant to let loose. What are some tips and tricks to packing the dance floor?”
Yes, DJs/MCs are the life of the wedding reception. Too many brides and grooms do not realize that the wedding reception is going to be the most memorable event of the wedding. I have been DJ/MCing since 1999 and I have learned over the years that I will definitely ‘Make or Break’ the reception! I strive to make sure the Bride and Groom and all of their friends and family enjoy the event! Some tips and tricks to packing the dance floor is being personable. A great DJ/MC will not just stand behind a table of equipment. A great DJ will get out and talk with the guests and especially the wedding party (the Bride and Grooms closes friends and family) and get to know the people. When guests see a personable DJ/MC they feel more comfortable to let loose and have some fun. My Brides and Grooms have their own login password to my website where they can request songs for me to play. This helps me make sure I am playing the music they will get out and dance too! I utilize many ice breaker type songs (Shout, Wobble, Cupid Shuffle, etc.) to get people on the dance floor, but more importantly, I get out on the dance floor and walk them through the line dance steps before I play the song. This helps people learn the steps without being embarrassed! I have several other methods of packing the dance floor, but the most important method is being professional and reading the crowd to find the perfect genre of music to play!
-Bobby Sorden, Sorden Professional DJ Service
We will play a slow dance and get the couples out on the dance floor, then go into a classic tune that everyone knows! Then play a group dance and let some of the group show the rest of the crowd how to do the dance! At just the right moment, play a sing along that everyone can belt out and really get into it, then continue on with a packed dance floor all night long!
-Josi Coleman, Elite Entertainment
1.) Much of it has to do with a DJ‘s personality. The DJ has to interact with the crowd. The DJ must find that delicate balance between urging the party on, but not become overwhelming to the couple’s guests. For example, I like to gently remind folks that being at the reception provides them an opportunity to celebrate one of life’s rare occasions with people they care about. There is nothing worse than spoiling a great opportunity to celebrate and break out of the day to day routine shell that many of us live our lives in.
2.) Take requests and prepare a music play list. Having a play list with song favorites always works. The best man or an uncle might have 2 or 3 family favorite songs that will make the night for everyone. Having crucial songs like these, will help keep folks dancing. Remember when it comes to a wedding reception folks are there to celebrate and you never know which song may bring back old memories or start new ones. Take requests. There are many DJs that refuse to take requests. This is a mistake, people want to hear there favorite songs. At an event like a wedding reception, requests can help to make the night for all in attendance.
3.) A good cocktail bar is always a sure fire method to keep the dance floor packed as the evening progresses. After 20 years of DJ performance, I have never seen a wedding reception with a good bar ever have any issues with the dance floor being packed when the right music is played.
-Anthony Swope, Owner/DJ, Sparkside DJs
There’s literally no silver bullet trick to packing a dance floor.. But.. One of the best tricks in the book is to plan your night out. I help plan my clients weddings with them so I know the flow & can keep guests in the know. If you inform an audience about what’s currently happening & what’s coming next, you set yourself up to hold their attention & can transition their energy more easily. Develop a rapport with them, play good music, and they will dance, especially if you have the bride & groom out on the floor! Everyone likes to think that there’s a certain song that you can always go to, but it goes so much deeper than that!
-Mike Hanby, Owner/DJ, Ignight Entertainment
I have a couple send me a request list well before their wedding day so that I would have time to get any songs that I don’t already have. I use their requests to give me an idea of what they would like to hear. Additionally, I play what I call “staple music”, which are songs that almost guarantee that people will get out on the dance floor. They are usually line dances. Some examples would be “The Cupid Shuffle” by Cupid, “The Cha-Cha Slide” by DJ Casper, “The Electric Boogie (Electric Slide)” by Marcia Griffiths, “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” by Los Del Rio, etc. Even “The Chicken Dance” seems to work! Also…it’s good to give me a “do not play” list as well so that I can avoid playing the music that you don’t like.
-Shawn McKenzie, Owner/Managing DJ, BashPower Entertainment Mobile DJs
Ok relax you have made it to the fun part! The vows have been read, the toasts made, and now it’s time to shake your tail feathers. We know as DJ‘s who spin vinyl in both clubs and at weddings the most important thing to get people to dance is to dance yourself. Dancing is infectious! Here at the nightshift we always meet with our couples before the wedding to get specific requests but more than anything to get a vibe of what our bride and groom love to dance to. From there we play music both familiar and those forgotten classics you didn’t even know you loved. Find a DJ who can adapt and who you think will have fun themselves. We do!
-Laura Conway, Night Shift
For us, the dance floor starts with how you set the tone of the night. Any announcements that our DJ makes is inviting and made with an uplifting tone. Making sure the guests feel included and well informed is a big deal for us. Additionally, we take the time to pay attention to our guests and the age/music style of the guest demographic. This will help guide the dance floor. When it comes to getting everyone on the dance floor we always try to minimize the ambient lighting to make the dance floor more inviting. We also meet with our clients to go over their must play songs but more importantly their DO NOT PLAY list. We always incorporate requests from guests and the do not play list is incredibly helpful when taking requests so that we can match our clients vision. Lastly, we know that some people enjoy group dance/line dances and these can be helpful in packing the dance floor as well.
-Tasos Hernandez, TH Entertainment
The way I get people on the dance floor is by playing a big tune right from the get go, something current and that everyone knows and loves! They can’t help themselves. After that I make a smooth transition into another hit, usually Respect by Aretha Franklin and that brings all the ladies to the dance floor which of course, then brings all the guys. The key to getting people on the dance floor and keeping them there is great mixing, refined song selection and keeping it interesting. People enjoy the song your playing and crave to hear what is coming up next!
You want to always vet your clientele to make sure you are a good fit for the client. I basically get a good dance crowd dancing to good familiar popular hits though out time and history, playing for the ages that are dancing and some who are not with a good diverse mix and I mix my dance music like a energetic Nightclub DJ would. People love it if they are a fun dance crowd.
-James Dunson, Black Label Entertainment
For a seasoned DJ, the genesis of a great dance floor begins long before it’s time to dance. It’s staying aware as a DJ, from the first moments of the party. Smiling and making eye contact. Putting the smartphone away and paying attention to the ebb and flow – really understanding the vibe and selecting music to match. Recognizing when it is time to get people tapping their feet and bobbing their heads. Once you’ve set that stage, and you’re truly in tune with what is happening in the room, knowing when to kick things up a notch and hit the next gear is almost intuitive. It’s really about being fully present from the beginning to the end.
-Pat Bruno, A Music Plus Entertainment
Compiled by Denver Party Ride