It’s your wedding day. The evening arrives, you put on your dancing shoes and you’re ready to tear up the floor in celebration of your big day. But how can you make sure you have a dance floor full of happy guests? Here I outline some tips for making sure the dance floor stays packed all night.

1. Where is the Bar? 

Is it in the same room as the dance floor or do people need to leave the room? Often if the bar is in a different room people will go there and won’t come back for various reasons. It’s not a hard and fast rule but generally speaking if the bar is in the same room as the dance floor the guests have nowhere else to go which greatly increases the likelihood that they will get up and dance.

2. The Style of Music 

OK OK, I know you don’t like Build Me Up Buttercup. I know. We’ll strike it off the playlist. Just don’t get all heavy on banning loads of tracks like you’re channelling the spirit of Mary Whitehouse. It’s your wedding day so naturally you want to hear your style of music but you also need to think about the demographic of your audience. Most evening wedding receptions are made up of a wide range of people of different ages, different tastes and different things that make them want to get up and shake their hips like they don’t lie. Think about that when you’re picking your music. Talk to your wedding DJ, musician or band, they will be able to help you build a playlist of tracks that will suit everyone whilst making sure you don’t have to endure another round of Whigfield’s Saturday Night.

One way to do this is to send out song requests with your invites asking guests to request something for the DJ to play (there’s always one who asks for Black Lace). Similarly with the internet many DJ services today allow you to input requests online. There are a host of ways you can do this. Again, talk to your DJ to find the way that suits you best. In my experience, the couples who have the best time are the ones who work with me to pick (at least a partial) playlists but then allow for some flexibility depending on what the audience is enjoying.

3. How is the room lit? 

Seriously talk through with your DJ or wedding band how the room is going to be lit. Consider an uplighting service because a well lit room will encourage a party atmosphere. People don’t want to dance in the light because they can be seen. Ask your venue manager to dim the chandeliers and you’ve got another ingredient for a full dance floor.

4. You Need To Dance 

I can’t say this one strongly enough. It’s your day. You’re the centre of attention so naturally people want to be around you and if you’re up rocking the dance floor your guests will be too. I was hired as a wedding guitarist and DJ for a couple in September 2015 and the bride never left the dance floor all night. As a result the entire wedding party was up partying from the first note and there were some pretty amazing shapes thrown on the dance floor too. You dance, your guests dance. Simple.

5. Does the venue have a sound limiter? 

Sound limiters are devices that are usually imposed on venues by environmental health. They are usually found in venues that are in heavily built up areas and are to protect the venue from complaints of sound pollution from local residents.

The DJ or musicians are required to plug their system into the limiter plug which will then cut off the electricity supply to the amplifiers if the sound in the room gets above a particular level. I could go into the technical details of how they work but there’s a lot of science involved which is beyond the scope of this post. I’ve written about sound limiters in more detail in this blog post.

All I’ll say is quite often they are set to a very low level. I have played in venues where they have been set at 85dB which is essentially the noise level of a hoover. I’m pretty sure you can see the problem here. The last thing you or your DJ want is for the music to be cut off because things get too loud. So ask your venue if they have a limiter and if they do you can ask a few simple questions about it:

* What level is it set at?

You don’t need technical details here, just ask if it’s at a comfortable level for a band to play. Since live bands usually mix their instruments in line with the level of the drummer a limiter has to be set quite high for live music to be tenable.

* Have you had bands play here before without any problems?

The venue are likely to say yes. If you’re unsure talk to your DJ. They will be able to get in touch with the venue and discuss the specifics.

Limiters are not the end of the world but they can be difficult to work with if they are set at the wrong level. Make sure you ask these questions before you book the venue so you can make an informed choice. Your dance floor will be difficult to fill if you’ve got no music. If you work with the experience of your DJ then you’re sure to be able to negotiate with the venue over settings and usage of sound limiters.

Ultimately you want everyone to have a great time celebrating your big day. Going into your planning armed with these questions can help ensure that will happen.