I always ask every couple I meet "What are your biggest fears about your wedding day?"
Inevitably, one of the answers I seem to always hear is "I want everyone to have a good time".
Granted ... common sense would dictate that since they're talking to the guy that they want to provide a good time for their wedding guests, this is probably what I want to hear.
(SPOILER ALERT: That IS the answer I want to hear).
So what can I possibly say to give them guidance on how to help me achieve that? How in the world are we going to achieve this so that we can alleviate this fear??
Five simple tips ...
1) HIRE A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING DJ:
Sure ... your cousin's nephew who is still looking for his big break in the DJ world is going to be cheaper. And your iPod played through a portable speaker will be even cheaper than him. But if you truly want your guests to have a great time at your party (yes ... ultimately ... this will be a party), you need to hire someone with the experience, knowledge and skills to entertain your guests.
So why can't your cousin's nephew do this??
We have to entertain your grandmother and your young nieces. Your parents, your co-workers, your friends from high school, your redneck friends, your church friends, your drinking friends and your sober friends.
In other words ... we have to work hard to try and entertain EVERYONE. This is not a high school prom or a dance club. It's not a frat party and it's not a backyard barbecue.
It's your WEDDING RECEPTION.
So don't choose a school DJ or a club DJ or a college buddy or your cousin's nephew.
If you want this to be the best party you'll ever throw that will reflect YOU ... choose a professional.
2) DANCE FLOOR SECRETS
If you are going to rent a dance floor, here's a secret ... the smaller, the better.
If a dance floor looks "full" it looks "fun". If the dance floor is full and overflowing with people, people are more drawn to it. I have DJ'ed with small dance areas and huge dance areas. You can get 50 people on a huge dance floor and it looks pitiful. Sad. Depressing. Even though you have a good amount of people out there, because of its sheer size, it looks less than inviting.
Imagine holding your wedding on the 50 yard line of the Superdome. Starting to get the picture now?
Ultimately, a 16' by 16' dance floor is usually perfect.
3) ALLOW YOUR GUESTS TO MAKE REQUESTS
If you've hired a professional DJ, he or she knows what works, what doesn't and what's considered "offensive".
Just because your cousin's nephew (Him again?!?) asks for gangsta rap doesn't mean the DJ will play it.
Your professional Wedding DJ knows exactly what to say to the kid to not only let him know his request can't be played ... but he can make the kid feel great about his request so that he walks out with an inflated ego ... even though his song won't be played.
(Believe it or not, there's a certain psychology to what we do to ensure your guests have a great time regardless of what happens)
4) FOLLOW THE LEADERS
You are going to need a small amount of friends that you know have zero inhabitions when it comes to kicking off their high heels, loosening their ties and having a good time. Because these are the "leaders" of the party. Everyone will follow the leaders if the leaders are having fun. I prove this theory week in and week out. Without the leaders, your dance floor is dead in the water.
So many times I've DJ'ed wedding receptions where the couple left the guest list in their parent's hands because ... guess what ... the parents were paying for the reception. So the parents invite their friends ... doctors, lawyers, dentists ... because they're paying for the party and they want to impress their friends.
Trouble is ... when it comes time for dancing, the doctors and lawyers are too uptight to get on the dance floor other than the slow dances. Heaven forbid they show the slightest sense of rhythm!!
But with "leaders" out there on the dance floor, the others will slowly flock to it. Believe it or not ... it's human nature!
5) BE THE LEADER!!
I will say it again ... this is YOUR Wedding Day. Whether you like it or not, you are setting the social cues for the party. Your guests will be looking to you to determine what they should be doing. They don't want to overstep their boundaries. They don't want to dance unless YOU show them by YOUR actions that it's okay to dance.
(The exception to this rule: Parents and small children. They will dance before it's "time" to dance. Naturally, this is fine and encouraged for photography purposes. I personally will play a few danceable songs before the "Open Dancing" period when I notice a photographer just standing around. You're paying a lot for this day and you deserve to get your money's worth!!)
Fortunately, you already know when the Open Dancing is scheduled to start. You've already received your cues from your PROFESSIONAL WEDDING DJ as to what will kick off the festivities. And as long as you're on the dance floor when it starts, your guests will be right there by your side ... movin' and groovin, slippin' and slidin', rockin' and rollin'.
And guess what?
That fear of "nobody having a good time"??
That is long gone by now.