10 Jun 2022 Admin

10 Ways To Get Your Wedding Guests Dancing

How to get your wedding guests dancing - and keep them on the dancefloor!


When planning a wedding, couples experience many stresses - will all the suppliers deliver their products/services on the day? Will all our guests attend? Will the weather stay dry - and these are just a few of their worries. One of the main concerns couples have before their wedding is one that they think is not really within their gift to influence - that is whether or not the dance floor will be full or empty. In fact, it’s perfectly possible to guarantee a packed dance floor, full of energetic party people, if you approach the problem in the right way. No one wants the energy and atmosphere on their big day to be flat as a pancake so to help couples ensure their wedding reception is everything they dreamed it would be - and equally unforgettable for their guests - we’ve come up with the ultimate guide for keeping guests dancing all night long.

Top 10 ways to keep your guests dancing at your wedding

1. Lead by example


Do not - I repeat - do not expect your guests to be on the dancefloor if you’re not there too. Weddings at which the bride and groom prop up the bar the whole night or vanish altogether won’t have a party atmosphere or a buzzing dance floor. Your guests aren’t your entertainment so don’t think you’ll get to sit back and watch everyone dance while you observe from the sidelines. They’re there to celebrate with you after all. If people see the bride and groom on the floor, they’ll join you even if they don want to - there’s an element of guilt that comes into play when even the most reluctant of guests feel they should be up there with you rather than tucked away at their table. And even the people with two left feet will have an amazing time once they get into the swing of things. So don’t abandon your guests: show them how it's done!

2. Get the guests involved


Yes, it’s your big day, but you must consider your guests when you’re planning it. If you served a meat feast to a room full of vegetarians for your wedding meal, you wouldn’t expect anyone to eat it. Well, the same goes for your wedding playlist. If you’re die-hard metal fans and only have mosh-pit-fillers on your set list, your dancefloor may have tumbleweed rolling across it. So make sure the playlist for your wedding has a mix of music that appeals to all ages. Sure, you may hate Bruno Mars but he’s a solid crowd-pleaser, and adding some throwbacks for the older generation will keep everyone happy.

If you want to get a sense of your guests’ tastes, an easy way to get that insight is to include a music section on your wedding website - ask your guests “which song is guaranteed to get you dancing?” and try to make sure your wedding playlist broadly reflects the music tastes of your wedding party. You may not be able to include everyone’s favorite songs but getting a flavor of their music preferences will still have the desired effect. And if there’s one song that keeps coming up as a favorite - well then you know you’ll have everyone up and dancing for sure if you treat your guests to their song request.

3. Consider the age groups


While you’re taking your guest song choices into account, keep in mind who you have invited and how old they are. If your guest list has lots of children on it, consider including some music that would appeal to your younger guests. Yes, you might not like songs from Frozen or Encanto but seeing the excitement on the wee ones’ faces as they recognise a song they love is worth it, especially when your dancefloor gets flooded with adorable kids in their party frocks/kilts. Similarly, consider including some vintage classics for your grandparents' generation - you don’t even have to play the original song if it’s not your cup of tea; choose a remix of a classic hit and you’ll still get people up and dancing.

4. Have a ceilidh


In Scotland, we have one sure-fire, tried and tested method of getting people on their feet - a ceilidh! Now, it is considered a huge faux pas not to get up onto the dance floor when a ceilidh is in progress so if you have reluctant dancers on your guest list, definitely consider some jigs and reels. Try to make sure that you get a professional caller for your ceilidh who’ll share the instructions before the dance starts and shout them out to keep everyone right as the dance progresses. A ceilidh is the ultimate ice breaker so even the guests who don’t know many people and are a bit shy will form some bonds during a Strip the Willow, or Dashing White Seargent. Watch the energy in the room ramp up with every dance and enjoy your nearest and dearest having a whale of a time.

5. Choose live music


There is nothing quite like live music to create a party atmosphere which is why a live wedding band will always win out over a DJ. Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of brilliant DJs out there but there is something special about live music. Think about the best weddings you’ve ever been to - was there a live band or a DJ in charge of getting the party started? Bet we know the answer.

6. Get a great band


When you’ve decided to hire a live wedding band, your job is not done. You need to make sure you choose the right one. There are loads of talented musicians out there but there is a reason we are all familiar with the term “the X factor” - it’s because not everyone has it. You may choose a cut-price band, only to find that they’re not a band at all but just a bunch of musicians that have been thrown together for the event, and trust us when we say that - from an entertainment perspective - this is a disaster. Aside from musical ability, a band must have charisma, energy, and passion so make sure you vet your wedding band choices carefully before you put down the deposit.

7. Timing is everything


Some couples choose to break up the evening entertainment by scheduling the meal, speeches, and cake cutting in between the wedding entertainment. This is a bad idea. Whatever the energy and momentum the wedding entertainment has managed to build up, it will be dampened by any interruptions aside from a brief break in between the live band / DJ sets. No one will want to dance a ceilidh with full stomachs, and - as a guest - once you’ve sat through all of the speeches, all you want to do is carry on sitting and chatting with the other guests at the table. Let’s face it, we’re lazy creatures, especially after a certain age, and 'sedentary' is usually the preferred state! So make sure you have your food, cake, and speeches early on and allow your guests to get their dance on without interrupting the flow.

8. Have a dance competition


Many cultures around the world have games as an essential part of their big day and, let me tell you, those weddings are phenomenal fun. Think of the laugh you have playing games at your hen and stag dos - why do we then go all formal for the big day?! So break with the British traditional wedding schedule and organise some games during the wedding itself. And what can be more fun than a dance-off? We’ve seen some epic dance battles between the bride and her bridesmaids and the groom and his groomsmen so why not get your closest friends and family together to compete in the ultimate wedding dance competition? Have two left feet and too nervous to be the centre of attention? Then how about the old classics, musical chairs, pass the parcel etc? You can even change it up and do a pass the parcel instead of the traditional bouquet toss; whoever is holding the bouquet when the music stops, gets to have it! Throw the rule book out the window and have some old-school fun!

9. Keep the tempo up


Whilst you need some smoochy, slow songs, too many of these low tempo numbers and the guests will be too chilled out to move. Try to make sure your set list has a good balance of fast and slow songs to keep the energy in the room up and your guests lively. Serving some coffee and cake in the break your wedding entertainers have during their set is also a very good idea.

10. Have an open bar

Ah alcohol, the social lubricant that helps even the shyest of people get the confidence to get their groove on, get off the wall, and get involved in the party. Having an open bar - not all night but up to a certain budget or for a certain amount of time at the beginning of the evening, will help to energise the guests and break down those barriers to a fun wedding reception. Once your guests have had a chance to chat together over a glass of wine or a beer, getting up and dancing in front of everyone won’t seem like such an intimidating prospect. Don’t let anyone overdo it though! Legless guests won’t make the dancefloor any livelier than the shy ones!

You’ve read the guide, you’ve considered the 10 guidelines for having a busy dance floor … but first, you need to get that awesome live wedding band all booked up so get in touch with us at Music For Scotland and we’ll tick that “To Do” off your list.