How To Make sure Your RECEPTION doesn't SUCK!

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 4
2792 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

The number one way to kill the vibe is to force people on to the dance floor.  Those people won’t be having fun, and then it won’t look like fun to force other people on the dance floor.

I would make sure you have some party starters (bridesmaids and groomsmen are the best go toos, but I also know my friends from high school love dancing at weddings)  The more people look like they are having fun, the more fun it will be.

Also, trust your DJ.  He or she has experience in keeping a party going. 

And lastly, don’t stress.  You will be having a good time at your wedding, and that is all that really maters. 

Post # 5
1491 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@BrideToBe14:  Given you have a wide range of ages of guests, ask your DJ what their best approach is. At a lot of weddings, I often see the dance hour being kicked off with some motown classics or other family-friendly songs. Then as the night progresses, it gets into more newer songs. Your older guests will have had the chance to dance and will rest, and the younger guests will dance into the night. Alcohol facilitates dancing, as well as a slightly (but not too dark) dimmed ambient lighting. Don’t stress and I wouldn’t force it!

Post # 6
851 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

My reception started off a little slow….. people really were not dancing but rather talking (made sense in some regard given the fact that my family only sees each other at weddings and funerals).  Fast forward the first course and some drinking…. then the dance floor was packed…….

Give guests a chance to warm up (eat and drink) before getting too alarmed about the dance floor.

I would definitely stick to your idea about playing a mix of music…….

And get out there and dance… people always love to dance with the bride……..


Post # 8
118 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Alcohol 😛 


But seriously, your guests will take their cue from you and your spouse– if you guys aren’t dancing, then others won’t either. So wear comfy shoes! 

Post # 10
6969 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Even though they’re a little cheesy, the songs with a dance that goes with them really got people going (cupid shuffle etc).

Post # 11
11772 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

Booze always helps, and good dancing music!

I once went to a wedding where the ONLY time people would dance was for group dance songs/line dances. So that was ALL the DJ played, and we ended up having a great time!

Post # 12
7920 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

I’d have your wedding party start the dance party! oh also. Alcohol. Lots of alcohol. 

Post # 13
5392 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

@BrideToBe14:  Having thrown a lot of parties with my parents, with a very mixed crowd (but in terms of ages and tastes), IMO the key is to really carefully plan the music. In our case, this typically takes us hours, and usually involves:

Thinking about what everyone likes, and making sure that everyone is catered to

Ensuring that the music is balanced throughout the evening eg let’s say you have 30 guests who are massively into motown, but the other 70 don’t really care for it and are more into rock. If you play 6 motown tracks in a row, people will start to leave the dancefloor; the same will happen if you play 6 rock tracks in a row. But if you play a motown track followed by two rock tracks, you will usually keep the dancefloor packed as people are OK dancing for a few minutes to something that isn’t their first choice; whereas they won’t dance for 20 minutes to something they don’t like

Ensuring that the music ‘builds up’. To begin with, you are better off playing more low-key, background tracks while people mingle and chat, and have a couple of drinks to get some ‘dutch courage’. You then start gradually increasing the tempo eg you might put a few singalong ones on, that will get people absently singing along and tapping their feet. Then you play a few sure-fire hits; by that time, people have had a drink and a chat, and have got in the mood by singing along, and so they’re ready to dance. Think of it as kind of like foreplay lol; people are not going to start dancing straight away, they need to warm up to it and get in the mood!


Without being big-headed, all our parties are always a HUGE success; and I’d say that 70% of it is down to the painstaking care we take with our music selections. It works, every time; we find people start dancing around 1 hour in (so, by 9.30pm), and then the dancefloor stays packed until about 2am.

Post # 14
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

That is the job of a good dj.  Ask people to dance with you and all sorts of people.  No one will say no to the bride

Post # 15
2111 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

@BrideToBe14:  As much as people here seem to hate them, line dances always bring people to the dance floor. All ages. If it starts to look empty, have the DJ play one. Once their out there, they’re more likely to stay out there.

Also slow songs. If you’re inviting a lot of couples, slow songs are also nice.

Post # 16
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - The Meeting House/DoubleTree by Hilton

@BrideToBe14:  My mom and her friends LOVE getting on the dance floor at weddings, so don’t worry too much about the older crowd. Asking your bridal party to dance is a good idea. I also agree with PPs – let your DJ be the guide. He should be able to read the crowd and play different songs until he gets people out of their seats. At one wedding I went to, it took a line dance to get everyone up and dancing. After the song ended, the DJ put on some song that was hard to dance to and everyone sat back down. So then he played another line dance and tried again! 

My other recommendation would be to dim the lights if possible. I feel really awkward dancing when the lights are bright and everyone can see my awful moves.

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