How to create a fun wedding reception

Encourage your guests to get up and shake it!

Let’s be honest, We have all been to events where all the guests sit at tables all night and the dance floor is completely bare. People often won’t dance if they feel like they are on display. It takes people some time to get warmed up. The more activity and fun on the dance floor- the more people will join them especially as nerves are calmed (and maybe a few drinks have been consumed). Below are some great ideas to get your dance floor moving!

~Make sure to choose a DJ who is intuitive. The DJ needs to be able to read the mood, age and taste of a crowd as the dance is unfolding. If the floor clears when a slow song comes on- stick to faster songs. Encourage guests to request favourites. Ask friends and family members for DJ suggestions.

~Dancing can be intimidating. Think of ways to help people relax and have fun. Hiring a professional dancer (or two) for an hour to teach the guests some moves can really get things moving. Line dancing is perfect example. Once people start laughing and messing up the moves together – the ice is broken and they will continue dancing. I attended a wedding where the groom’s father was a square dance caller. He gave brief instructions and called a simple square dance for all the guests. Some guests were proficient and others were novices. Everyone had fun. At another very successful wedding dance, the dj provided Michael Jackson hats, inflatable guitars, cowboy hats and boas as he played appropriate songs. The lure of the dancefloor was irresistible even for a wallflower like me!

~Ask your bridal party- in advance- to try to dance as much as possible and ask them to encourage guests to join them. If the dance floor looks like it is the fun place to be, it will fill up.

~Ask your guests in advance if they have a song. For example- play some of the songs that were special for your parent’s wedding. Request cards can be placed on guest tables to ensure that the DJ includes favourites in his mix.

~Consider the usual silly options. You may cringe at the idea of the Chicken Dance but it might get Uncle Earl out on the dance floor when nothing else will! Cha Cha Slide, Macarena, Congo Line, Locomotion and the Time Warp might be good options. It is supposed to be fun after all- these things are always more fun when decked out in wedding finery. Nobody looks good doing the Chicken Dance so even non-dancers may pluck up the courage to join in.

~Remember the Snowball Game from high school?? It still works to get people moving. The Bride and Groom start dancing together until the DJ yells “Snowball” Or some more wedding appropriate word. At this point the Bride and Groom split and invite someone else to dance with. Continue splitting off and pulling other people onto the dance floor until the song ends. Pick a favourite song to follow up to keep your guests out of their seats. Who would deny the bride or groom if they are asking them for a dance?!

~Musical Chairs is another great icebreaker. It gets people moving and interacting. For a new twist -Guests can nominate people to play by paying a dollar or two. Call off the names of the guests who have been nominated and let the fun begin. The money can then be used as a prize or donated to charity.

~Another tip is to get everyone out on the dance floor for a photo opportunity and crank up a high-energy song right after it is taken. This will keep some guests on their feet. The tossing of the bouquet and the garter are also good opportunities to keep people on the dance floor. Discuss song choices with the DJ in advance.

Most important- Dance! If the bride and groom are dancing, this will encourage wedding guests to dance and before you know it you guests will join in on the dance floor. You are the guest of honour and people will want to be with you. Take lessons for a few months in advance if you want to feel more comfortable.

UPDATE: I just found this great definition online. Seems like the perfect word for a fun wedding dance.

To Dance Gracelessly but with enjoyment... that is exactly what you want at your wedding!

To Dance Gracelessly but with enjoyment… that is exactly what you want at your wedding!