Your Raleigh Wedding DJ - Jason Huggins - Takes a few minutes to explain how to save time for dancing at your Wedding Reception.
What if your wedding day was full of special moments AND you had a great wedding dance party?
What if you’re like us and want to maximize the time you and your guests get to party together?
Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure that you get all the fun party moments -even in a timeline as full as your wedding day.
You’re probably thinking about visiting some of your guests during dinner. This can be a great way to thank special guests for celebrating with you. But math is not your friend in this instance.
Let’s assume you have 100 guests. If you spend 20 seconds with each person and you’re looking at 32 minutes. If you have 150 guests you’re looking at just under an hour. And that’s assuming you only spend 10 seconds talking to grandma. It’s also not uncommon to only have visited only half of the tables by the time we need to move on.
Your best approach is to highlight the key tables with parents, grandparents, and long distance guests. Let’s be honest, you’re going to see your cousins and college friends on the dance floor and at the bar, so you can skip their table without sacrificing connecting with them. It’s also best to do a 2 and 2 approach. Visit 2 tables from your side, then bounce over and visit 2 tables from your partner’s side - that way, when it’s time to move on with your event, you’ve hit some key people on both sides.
Remember - we can't open up the reception and let everybody experience the event until we complete your key formalities - getting these done sooner will leave you with more time to visit.
The Cake Cutting
You want to save 15-20 minutes? Then manage this your cake cutting carefully. In and of itself, the cake cutting will only take you about one or two songs, so roughly 3-7 minutes. The photographer will help you pose to get the best shots (make sure you tell them if you’re going to smush the cake!). The real time-suck comes from cutting and serving the cake - which will usually take 10-20 minutes.
If this is the last thing you’re doing before you open the dance floor then you’re going to lose time because guests aren’t going to get up when someone just put cake down, unless you want the DJ to open strong in which case you just wasted the hundreds of dollars you spent on that beautiful cake.
So what’s the best way to cut the cake?
The most unorthodox way is to do it before dinner (literally right after the introductions and first dance) - that way it’s served immediately after dinner with the rest of the deserts. It’s avant garde but it’s really effective.
The most frequently used solution is to put the cake cutting in FRONT of the toasts and parent dances. Usually the toasts will run around 10-15 minutes (or longer, depending on your Dad) which means the caterer can be cutting and serving cake while everyone is listening to your favorite people talking about why you’re their favorite people. You're saving time because the cake is being cut & served during your other special moments - meaning you can stay right on schedule.
The key time-saving element here is WHERE you put your bar and how many bartenders you have. Your venue may have the bar somewhere outside of the reception area - perhaps in another room or even outside. Or they may only have one or two bartenders for 100-200 ppl. This actually puts your event at risk of losing a lot of time.
Because your guests will go to the bar. The first thing they'll want to do once we release them from dinner is hit the bar. They'll start talking. They'll be laughing and having fun and, before you know it, twenty or thirty minutes have gone by. This is all while you're trying to build a dance party, which will be nearly impossible to do when most of your party people are outside waiting for a drink. That means the dance party time is cut by up to a third or more.
If your bar is understaffed then you're going to find your guests waiting even longer to get a drink, possibly missing out on key moments that are important to you.
For the best possible party experience, make sure your bar is in the same room as your reception, you're less likely to lose party people to poor party planning.
Group Dances & Your Wedding Timeline
Group Dances are the enfants terribles of the wedding dance party. From classics like The Twist and the much maligned Electric Slide (it’s a Bunny Wailer track!) to more contemporary works like Blanco Brown’s ‘The Git Up’ and the Cupid Shuffle, they’re either something you’re dreading or something you can’t wait for at your own event.
At Stylus, we take our client requests as gospel, and if our client request lists (and DO NOT PLAY lists) are any indication - these songs can be sticking points for couples. It’s important for you and your partner to talk about how you feel about them and understand the pros and cons of group dances - and why this one decision may have a bigger impact on your wedding day timeline than you think.
The reasons some couples don’t want the group dances are pretty simple - they hear them all the time at weddings or they don’t like group dances. These are great reasons to avoid them at your event. If you hate a song - you shouldn’t hear it. There’s also a reason these songs are played at events featuring large groups of people - since the number of songs that people jump out of their seats for (especially early in the evening) are actually not as big as you might think.
The downside of banning group dances is probably a little different than you’re thinking. Yes, your guests will probably get involved and the DJ can pack your dance floor with a great group dance song choice, but choosing not to allow the DJ to use a group dance can have a bigger impact on your timeline than you think.
Your DJ can fill the dance floor with a group dance, whereas they might spend 10-20 minutes trying to build the dance floor organically. If a big dance party matters, you might consider which group dances you’re OK with. This can supercharge your dance floor and give your DJ the opportunity to work in a greater variety of music. Plus, your mom has probably been on YouTube trying to learn the Wobble.
Skipping the Bouquet & Garter
While these don’t take much time, some couples don’t want to include them and you can save enough time for one or two more songs. The trade-off is you’re losing is some potentially awesome moments with your friends and the pictures in your album. You might consider combining them into one toss or coming up with another fun idea that lets yours guests get engaged.
Making Time For A Special Dance
One of my favorite things is providing a special moment for the newlyweds at the end of the night. If you’re doing a grand exit, that means we’ve got everyone outside and we’re keeping you in the reception hall while everyone gets ready. This is a great opportunity to include one more special dance for just the two of you, a perfect little moment before heading off into the world together.