Post # 1
So I went to a wedding recently that was very expensive, and involved lots of grueling planning on the part of the bride. While it was beautiful and I would never say anything to her other than “It was fantastic!” for whatever reason things didn’t 100% ‘come together’. People ate and chatted but it didn’t really turn into a full swing celebration.
On the other hand, I have been to a couple of wedding recently thrown by friends who are just ‘starting out’, and couldn’t afford anything extravagant. Yet these affairs were an absolute blast, full of warmth and fun.
I have been trying to put my finger on what was so different about these events and what sparks the merry making in a big group event like this! I came up with a few differences…
Dance floor opened late in the evening vs. being made available right away
Little standing room between all the tables vs. lots of room to move and mingle
Comfortable room (my friends venue was having some issues and it was a bit stifling)
Accessible bride and groom? They were sort of surrounded by various vendors until later in the day so we didn’t have that pre-wedding bonding time I’m used to with all the gal pals
Sorry, I feel a little snarky posting this. Rest assured, I love my friend and I think in the end the really important thing is that the people she loved were there to celebrate her special day with her. Everything else is minor in the end. It just got me thinking, though, about what creates that ‘flow’ that gets a good party going? Is it an undefinable X factor or are there secrets that party planners know?
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2010 - Tannery Pond at the Darrow School
I think the bride and groom have to lead the charge! If they’re out on the dance floor and the music is danceable, people will follow suit…I just went to wedding this past weekend where I did not stop dancing (I missed the cake being served! And I LOVE cake!) bc thats where the bride and groom were…The music was upbeat and the songs being played were recognizable to the majority of people so everyone was out having fun on the dance floor…Thats my suggestion 🙂
Post # 4
I do think the bride and groom take control of the environment, if they’re having a lot of fun and they’re on the dance floor that’s where a lot of the guests will be since they wanna hang out with the couple they came for. I also think the music selectioin is key. I went to a wedding and all they planned was the music they liked, big no no! I was like “uh yeah, don’t wanna dance to this”, it was kinda lame. Varied interests man. And, I also went to a wedding that was SO formal people were unsure of how to conduct themselves. So it was super expensive and everyone was afraid to move! I’m going for the fun and laid back approach, hope it works!
Post # 5
Personally, I think it is important to get all of the ‘events’ out of the way and completed early so that once the dancing starts you don’t have to interrupt it again. Also, and I don’t know if you have control over these things, having the lights turned down (lower than they were for dinner) and having the DJ ‘flow’ directly from one song to the next seems to help!
Post # 6
Good points! And JeniRae, I know what you mean about the ‘events’ – at this particular event, the dance floor finally got going a little bit, and then they stopped it for the cake cutting, so everyone sat back down for dessert.
Post # 7
I think the first few songs are pretty crucial… I also tend to think “group” dances like electric slide, conga lines and hokey pokey can be a buzz kill. When those songs come on I immediately get off the dance floor but this may just be a personal preference.
Post # 8
We threw a pretty simple affair, during the day and under a tent. The dancing went on for a good four hours, with no DJ! Things that helped:
1) Alcohol, and plenty of it!
2) My husband and I dancing like fools for a few songs.
3) Many kids at the reception who have no problem dancing to any song.
4) Crazy Maid/Matron of Honor, MC-friend, and girlfriends of mine who got the dance party started!
5) Jukebox: Everybody loves to dance to a song they picked themselves!
I think when a wedding looks like it was a lot of work, people feel like they need to “behave themselves,” for lack of a better phrase. Also, I think the guests can rule the mood of a reception. We were lucky that both our families and friends mixed very well and all were in the mood to have a huge celebration, hence the dance party till after dark (and we had no lights!).
Post # 9
BOOOOZE. lol. i am just kidding.
i think music choice is important, but mostly i think that the bride and groom make the evening. they need to be accessible!!
Post # 10
Not interrupting the dancing with a whole bunch of events! And alcohol. And bride/groom dancing. Because seriously, that’s the number one common thread in the weddings we’ve enjoyed most – the bride and groom danced a lot!
Post # 11
I think it can really depend on the guests too. My friends recently got married, and their DJ was concerned with how early they wanted to start dancing. He said “if you start up that early, it will fizzle out early, I really don’t think you should” and they insisted that their friends like to party. They obviously knew the crowd, because we danced ALL NIGHT! I think the things that help are great music, a friendly and party-type crowd, and of course booze (so many people are self-conscious of dancing without it).
Post # 12
Everyone seems to be mentioning the bride and groom on the dance floor, I will keep that in mind! Also, Brianlaura, I think your friend made a good choice. My observation has been that more people dance when the floor opens early vs. late. It may not get into full swing right away, but I think if people are sitting in their chairs for a long time they start to get tired and lose the festive spirit. Especially if you don’t know everyone at your table well, you only want to make polite small talk for so long.
Post # 13
Booze, and the bride and groom. Less fussy and stuffy traditions (skipping some of the boring toasts / dances / pics etc). When the couple sits at a head table for half the night and guests really can’t relate to some of the storires / toasts it’s less fun. Music choices. Booze, did i mention booze? We are paying for a band and maybe even a DJ, so you know what? We are going to dance and so is everybody else! haha.
Post # 14
I don’t think you’re being snarky. I totally agree about the length of time until people can get to dance being a BIG factor. I was at a wedding once were all of the guests had to sit for what was at least an hour AFTER dinner was done while all the speeches and special dances were going on and the cake wasn’t cut until the end of all the “traditions” so no one could even enjoy it while we were waiting. By the time people were able to dance no one wanted to and the dj did not help the situation with his selection. If it wasn’t for the booze, it could have been a complete flop as far as a party goes. The bride and groom seemed to enjoy themselves though so that’s what was important.
Post # 15
I don’t think it really has anything to do with how much is spent on a wedding…i.e. “they spent so much and planned a lot and it wasn’t that much fun” vs. “it was a really simple wedding and it was a lot of fun.” Both expensive and cheap weddings can be fun or not fun.
Some things that I think do help
1) The guest list- I think a lot of it starts with this basic step. Some people have giant weddings with people they barely know invited b/c “they have to” invite their mother’s second cousin she barely sees or whatever. A lot of times these people leave early, don’t dance, etc. b/c they just aren’t that into the celebration. It’s an obligation for them not an event they are really looking fwd. to. Whereas I’ve been to giant weddings of big close-knit families where everyone was really happy for the couple and happy to be there and so they stayed and really enjoyed themselves. Smaller weddings by default usually have people who really want to be there.
2) Date/Time – I’d say for the most part evening/weekend weddings have the most dancing. I’ve been to a few morning weddings with lunch receptions and people just aren’t as likely to hit the dance floor (maybe cause they aren’t as likely to be drinking at noon?). They were still good weddings/receptions but just in different ways then the all night party/dancing way. The same goes for Sunday weddings or middle of the week weddings (work the next day so people don’t stay as late and don’t drink as much).
3). The couple – KEY to get people out there. If they don’t dance other people won’t feel comfortable
4) Diverse music – this one can be tough cause there are a lot of cheese songs that you won’t want played or maybe you or your fiance are really into hipster music that only you two have ever heard of. But unless all your guests are from the same age group and music preference group it doesn’t usually make other people want to dance. You do need a range. And don’t forget the older people…remember many of them grew up during a time where everyone actually KNEW how to dance, so when they hit the floor they look awesome and it gets people in the mood.
5) Ambiance – Yep, people are usually self conscious when they start to dance so low lights help. And it helps to not have a long banquet table with all the bridal party right on the dance floor. Then it just seems like you are in the olympics and the judges are going to hold up a 4.5 for your poor dance skills. In the same vein…it helps to have little lounge areas around the dance floor so people can take a break and hop right up when the right song gets played. It also lets people feel like they are part of the party even if they aren’t actually dancing.
Post # 16
Baghdad Bride, I certainly wasn’t implying I was surprised that more expensive weddings weren’t always the most fun. I guess I just meant, hey, this lady planned and spent and had every “thing” you could want available, so obviously it doesn’t come down to any “thing”, it’s more of an X factor.