Professional DJ Advice; Expert Tips & Tricks for Couples on Their Wedding Day
It’s your BIG DAY! Don’t leave anything to chance. We at Dallas Party Ride asked some of the top wedding DJ’s in Dallas their advice to making your reception one to remember!
“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?”
Ensuring everyone feels comfortable; knowing that not everyone dances, and most people do not like to be the first ones on the dance floor.
So, two things … always invite guests to join in on one of the family dances, and have a smaller than average dance floor. This will ensure no one had to be the first one on the dance floor, and the dance floor always looked ‘packed’ which is less intimidating, and gives off a great party vibe.
I am a firm believer that a good DJ doesn’t really need tips or tricks. The DJ has a better view and feel for a room full of people that anyone else at a wedding and he/she should be able to move that room in the direction he wants without using tricks. One thing that sets True DJ’s of Dallas apart from a lot of other wedding DJ’s is that we try to stay away from the cliche wedding songs (YMCA, Celebration, We Are Family, etc…) that you may hear at a lot of weddings. Usually, these are played by a DJ who doesn’t know how to read his crowd and guide the room accordingly so he will pull out one of these overplayed songs. It may get some people on the dance floor but then he may lose them right away. A TRUE DJ doesn’t need this type of arsenal. A good DJ can profile a room and look at the crowds’ age, ethnicity, dress, alcohol consumption, gender, and more and know where to go with the music and vibe. A good DJ will notice the lighting in the room and adjust it accordingly. A Good DJ will notice if the videographer has a bright light on that might be intimidating and will address it with that person (“Would you mind killing your video light until I can get this floor going so that you will have some amazing shots to take?”) My goal is to make each wedding different from the last. I want every wedding to be a unique experience for the guests, the couple, and everyone involved. As well, some weddings are not necessarily a dancing crowd and I think one of the worst things you can do as a DJ is try to FORCE a crowd to dance when it’s not that kind of vibe. For example, non-alcoholic weddings, daytime weddings, or heavily-influenced religious weddings may not be a big ‘party’ and dancing crowd… and that’s OK. A good DJ can asses that ahead of time and know how to play entertaining music for the guests to enjoy themselves without necessarily having 2 hours of a packed dancefloor. I think a TRUE professional DJ should take on so much more than just playing songs. He should be a host to the guests, a liaison with the other vendors, a guide for the happy couple and their families, a planner for the event and an entertainer for everyone… all wrapped into one. This is exactly why I named my company True DJs of Dallas… because anyone can call themselves a DJ, but not everyone can pull it off flawlessly… and on the biggest day of a couple’s life, it has to be perfect.
1. First and foremost…. I will ask the Bride & Groom what they want as far as presentation and how they would like to get dancing started. I will often recommend that we do a Wedding Party Dance that gets all attendees involved by inviting them to join Bride & Groom and Wedding Party for a Special Dance to celebrate their marriage with Family & Friends right after dinner. I also go around and talk to tables during cocktails and dinner to introduce myself and see what the crowd is into as far as music and fun. I will ask what songs they are wanting to hear as well as dance too. This way I have a few names and faces I can count on to help get the party started.
2. The Interactive and FUN Dances (like Cupid Shuffle, Wobble, Cha Cha Slide, etc.) are always a great way to get people dancing. There are many to choose from and Bride & Groom should be given choice to do them or not. Some people love them and some people cannot stand them. It’s better not to force them on a crowd that won’t respond or like them. Sometimes a good slow love song will pack the floor with couples and you can get the more upbeat dancing started from that point on.
3. Couples Dance or Anniversary Dance is sometimes a way to get all couples up and dancing right after dinner. You ask all couples to join Bride & Groom on dance floor and then dismiss by length of marriage until you have only longest married couple left. Once you have that determined you ask them via interview to offer their ideas to newlyweds on how to have a long and loving relationship. Can be quite interesting to see how they answer….LOL!
A DJ can make or break a wedding! With that said not every couple wants their wedding to be nonstop dancing, But every couple wants their wedding guest to have a good time and be entertained. I do this by making every guest feel important to the wedding. When the guest start arriving into the reception hall I walk around table to table introducing myself and finding out how they know the Bride and Groom. I might stay at one table a little longer and joke around with them. That way they start becoming comfortable with me! And when people are comfortable they let loose! Another big way I make people feel special is when I talk on the mic I don’t put on this “fake” announcer voice. I address the crowd in a formal way, but It’s still my voice and my lingo that I use everyday with my family and friends. This makes people feel like I’m talking to each one of them individually and not the whole group! At that point I can completely control the entire crowd! So if they want it to be a total party it can be or if they rather it be more of a causal sing along kind of night it can be that too! With all that said find a DJ you like and trust and your night will go perfect!
Here at Inkredible Sounds some tips and tricks we use to pack out the dance floor is to play a love song and invite all the married couples to the dance floor.
Letting loose on the dance floor really comes down to feeling “safe”. If the timeline flows smoothly, and guests are made to feel welcome, and not really “just guests”, they will be fun. There are a number of ways to do this, but having a good welcome speech right after the wedding party introductions and spending a little time after dinner going table to table before cake cutting and toasts can go a long ways in creating that comfort level.
Also, during dinner…I look for the people I call ‘influencers’. They’re traditionally more outgoing, and they’re pretty easy to spot. I talk to these introverts and let them know when the party will be ramping up. By getting them actively involved in that process, they ‘influence’ the success of the party.
Wedding party also plays a big role here. If they’re not big dancers, I tell them to at least hang out near the dance floor. Creating energy where you want people to be is crucial in getting, and keeping, dance floor momentum.
As an experienced wedding DJ and MC, I’ve learned to get to know each unique group I perform for. From taking music requests (both in advance and during the event) to conducting wedding-themed games with my married couple and their guests, I’m able to establish a great rapport with each crowd and get things moving in the right direction before we even hit the dance floor. Then, when it’s time to really party, folks are loosened up and excited jump out there to dance to songs they know and love.
Over the years I have learned that people sometimes are hesitant to let loose during the wedding reception. Some of the tips/tricks that have worked for me is trying to include everyone. I play a lot of weddings where they want a variety of music. So I try and include everyone, not just focus on 1 genre for a long time. I play songs that can include both the young and old and get everyone up on the dance floor. What also helps is you having fun, the crowd can feel that in your mixing. Also don’t be afraid to have fun on the mic, joke around and overall have a good time. When all that happens, people will flood to the dance floor and have a good time themselves. After all we are there to make our client’s wedding the best it can be and make sure their guest have a good
First Rule of keeping the Dance floor packed is to Recognize you are dealing with a wide range of ages ….. you want songs that everyone relates to 1st and second brings them to a fun time in their past ….No one wants to dance solo , so you have to mix in dances that everyone can be involved in.
Learn to gauge your crowd! Communicate and engage with your crowd over the microphone! Play music that they will respond to (i.e. The latest Billboard Top 40’s or Top 100’s, popular songs that are hits on the radios and videos). Also be open to taking requests from the audience/crowd as they will usually tell you what they WANT to hear! Lastly, try incorporating dance floor lighting and fog machines into the events. It really enhances the ambiance of the party and dance floor. The addition of the fog machines will only make the lighting look more luxurious. These are all things that I do for my clients/crowds and they will dance and party all night long!
Music. There are many bits and gimmicks some performers use to coax people onto the dance floor, but they can seem desperate or make guests feel awkward. Being able to read a dance floor and program music tastefully is the most reliable means for engaging your guests and ensuring they have a good time. The right “warm up” tracks and continuity in follow up songs with gradually increasing intensity are keys to not only getting folks onto the floor, but keeping them there.
As a DJ, you are literally the life of the wedding reception. Sometimes, people are hesitant to let loose and have a good time. One great detail of our company is we provide 2 wedding professionals for the price of 1 (1 Emcee/Host & 1 Professional DJ). We work together reading the crowd and focus on keeping the dance floor full of life, which is one of the most fun and important parts of the wedding reception.
Here are a few tips we use to make sure guests are filling up the dance floor and dancing the night away.
1. Dimming the lights in the venue as soon as the dancing begins (You will be surprised at how easily this gets major people on the dance floor).
2. Start by playing popular songs and mixes that ALL people know and love (Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Etc).
3. Having the host tell guests to come out to the dance floor in a fun and classy way. Ex: “The lights are dim and it’s time to celebrate the night away!” (Guests will loosen up if the host just tells them to).
4. Reading the Crowd! (If we are playing a pop genre of music and no one is dancing our DJ will quickly mix into another genre until we find what guests like). 5. Asking for 20 to 25 reception dance songs from the Bride, Groom, Bridal Party, and Guests prior to the wedding (People want to dance to the genres and songs they like, NOT what the DJ likes).
6. Having the host go out and help with line dance songs while waving people onto the dance floor. (Most guests usually know all the line dance songs but having the host out there showing everyone how to do it will help guests trickle onto the dance floor).
7. Just have fun!
A host and DJ should be THEMSELVES and have FUN with the guests. A wedding is a time of celebration! Everyone should be having a blast, including the host and DJ.
Comfortable. That is how you should feel on your wedding day and with Everlasting Sounds we make that a reality. We will work with your wedding coordinator and or venue to ensure all the formalities are handled without you having to worry. We are professional wedding DJ’s and will help your special day be filled with bliss.
“DJ’s will make or break the night, Photographer’s & Videographer’s will make or break the rest of your life”
I believe an experienced DJ can read the crowd and know what direction to go in before the dance even begins. Usually during the latter part of dinner I begin playing songs that encourage a positive fun feel.
During the initial consultation time, I find out what the couple’s personal favorite songs are so that I can recognize those throughout the evening. But the guests are the key to the success. I watch them closely and find out what moves them and gets them excited. After all, this is the “Thank You” to the guests for being present for the Wedding ceremony.
Mingling around the room introducing myself and getting chemistry with the guests eases everyone. I also make sure the other vendors are on the same page. I assure them nothing will occur without their knowledge and attention.
When your guests feel the confidence of the event, the atmosphere becomes festive.
As we have DJed several events with many being weddings we have found that it’s easiest to pack the dance floor by turning the lights down low and playing hot songs that get everyone young and old involved and excited. Another way we pack the dance floor is by playing DJ games that helps the audience interact with each other knowing they have the possibility of winning one of many gifts we give away at each event.
When you have a group or a group of people who are reluctant to get out on the dance floor, I will normally approach them and ask a song(s) they are liking at the moment and would dance to. I also will become more interactive with the group by encouraging them to learn a line dance. Once they see a majority of the group dancing, they are more likely to get out and dance.
The number one tried-and-true tactic to get your guests to let loose on the dance-floor is great song selection! Having DJ’d so many different kinds of events for all different crowds, Dallas Pro DJ knows what songs are guaranteed to have your guests dancing all night long! Though we have our idea of what songs will get the party started, it’s always a good idea to work with your DJ ahead of time to plan the perfect playlist and to craft a game-plan to ensure you have the best possible experience. Another excellent way to get your reception guests dancing is with the power of LED lights! Adding a quality LED lights package to your DJ setup will always elevate a wedding reception, and encourage guests to dance. Once they light up and start flashing in-sync with upbeat music after dinner, your guests will know that it’s time to party!
1. Keep the dance floor on the smaller size. You only need about one square foot per person in attendance. It is a lot easier to expand a smaller floor than to fill a larger dance floor.
2. Keep it dark around the dance floor. Nobody wants to feel like they are on stage with lights focused on them while they dance.
3. The bride and groom have to be in the room and on the dance floor. The guests will follow the bride and groom around all night. If they go outside to take pictures then most of the crowd will follow them. If they stay on the dance floor, then their guests are more likely to join them in the fun.
4. Allow your guests to make requests throughout the evening. Not everybody has the same music tastes, so allowing them to make a request lets the DJ/MC know their tastes.
At every event there is a layer of ice on top of the dance floor that HAS TO BE broken before people really start enjoying the music and vibe.
People are only hesitant until they’re TOLD to dance-either by friends, family, the DJ, even if the song that’s playing hits ’em just right.
Music is crucial to an event and that’s why every song must be thought through before it’s played for the masses. Reading the crowd is a tactic I use to control the heartbeat of the dance floor. I don’t want to lose people once I’ve got ’em out there-I wanna make ’em sweat!
You’re right- in certain situations, people can be very hesitant to let loose, but I also believe that this can be avoided with proper planning! A good DJ will do more in the planning process than just take a list of songs from you and promise to play them. A good wedding DJ will look at the big picture of the event and create an environment that makes people very comfortable and even excited to dance- this goes beyond song choice to include sound distribution, mood lighting, and what may be the most important of all, what is said into the microphone. Too many DJs overlook the importance of telling a story throughout the night, reminding guests why we are celebrating, transitioning in and out of the big moments, and putting a focus on the couple and their special guests instead of themselves. Tell the story of why the couple picked a special song. Call out the uncle who has “Moves like Jagger”, or bring out that nephew who dances “the worm”. Pick a DJ that takes the time to know you and your guests, and the flow will be great. Guests will feel confident, comfortable, and even get excited. No cheesy games or icebreakers necessary.
I will usually play a classic wedding dance song like Cha Cha slide, Wobble, or maybe even something like We are Family or Celebration. This usually gets people up dancing, and if needed I will even get out there myself to start the dancing off while hyping up the crowd.
When I’m trying to get people out on the dance floor I find that it is imperative to read the crowd and understand the audience. If you are at a corporate event or a wedding where the audience is diverse you need to play music that multiple generations will enjoy, recognize and will make them comfortable to participate on the dance floor. A great example would be Michael Jackson. Most of the time a 10 year old kid, a 65 year old grandmother and everyone in between knows Michael Jackson, enjoys his music, sings along, and makes them feel comfortable enough to dance in front of strangers. Appealing to a diverse audience literally rolls out the red carpet and invites everyone to participate and express themselves in the art of dance.
Once you get the crowd on the dance floor and get some momentum you can maintain that energy without disruption by beatmixing a few songs together (eliminating the 1-2 second pause between music) so the crowd does NOT have the opportunity to take a break.
Compiled by Dallas Party Ride