Six ways to get people dancing at your wedding reception
This week, our band manager Mike Paul-Smith answers the question "how do I make sure everyone is dancing at my wedding reception?"
Title image courtesy of Veiled Productions
Couples often ask me how they can make sure everyone is dancing at their wedding reception. I've got a few small tips I've picked up over the years - if you follow these, you're almost guaranteed to get everyone dancing, partying and having a great time.
1. Who to book: Choose a fantastic live band with a diverse repertoire list
One of the best ways to get people dancing is to book a great band. A wedding band such as Down for the Count is fantastic at engaging with an audience, and with the music being completely live there’s an extra energy you just don’t get with recorded music.
Our set list is varied and there is something for everyone, which means that we get all generations on the dancefloor. One of our favourite ever bits of feedback was "you got all ages on the dancefloor - from age 4 to 90!"
Of course I'm biased, but I think that booking a live band is one of the smartest investments you can make for your wedding. Chances are people won’t remember many of the smaller details of the day, but they will definitely remember if they had an awesome party with incredible live music.
2. Timings: Choose when to start the band carefully
If you want your guests to dance, try not to start the band straight after dinner - unless you really have to.
Usually people have been sat down for two to three hours by this point, and I find that the end of dinner and speeches is time people want to stretch their legs and do a bit of drinking and socialising - the dancing seems to come a little later on.
I've thought about this a lot and I think that you need at least an hour between the end of dinner (or speeches) and the beginning of the band’s first set to really make the most of the band's performance.
3. Timings: Don’t serve your evening food halfway through one of the band’s sets
If you want to keep people on the dancefloor, try not to start your evening food or buffet halfway through one of the band sets – otherwise you’ll often find that guests disappear, worried that they are going to miss out on the hog roast or bacon butties.
It’s much better to have a longer break between band sets and only start serving the evening food when the band has finished their set.
4. If you're having our swing music - hire swing dance teachers
Hiring professional swing dance teachers is a fantastic way of entertaining your guests, and it’s also a brilliant way to get people on the dancefloor.
Our Vintage Swing Collective is a collaboration between live musicians and our amazing swing dancing colleagues - some of the hottest vintage dancers on the London scene today.
The dancers can teach you some fun new moves whilst the band is playing; or if they take a lesson, they will encourage guests to keep changing partners, which is an excellent ice-breaker and helps your guests get to know each other.
5. If you're having soul music - choose a band which performs medleys
When we're performing our soul and Motown music as The Motown Collective, we arrange many of the songs into medleys which can be 5 to 20 minutes long. Having no pauses between the songs is a great way of keeping people on the dancefloor.
Some of our other bands also perform medleys - our Swing and Soul Band plays medleys in the 'soul' set, and some of the smaller line-ups can do medleys as well.
6. And finally: Make sure the bride and groom are dancing!
My final bit of advice is probably the most important. I've learnt over the years that at weddings, people congregate towards the happy couple. If you’re both on the dancefloor, partying and having the time of your lives, it’s more than likely that all your guests will be too. If you’re away having photographs or circulating in other parts of your venue, you might find that your party is more dispersed. This is another reason it’s really important to get your timings right and not start the band too early.
Becca and Ben's wedding in Oxfordshire. We're not entirely sure what's happening here - but the bride and groom were on the dancefloor all night and therefore so was everyone else! Photo by Heline Bekker. Read more about Becca and Ben's wedding here.
If you're looking for a great band who can get you dancing at your wedding reception, get in touch today and let us talk through the various line-ups we have to offer.