How Big Should It Be? Make Sure There’s Enough Space on the Dance Floor

A few years back we were entertaining at a wedding at Grouse Mountain. The venue was perfect for the couple. They did, however underestimate their guests’ desire to dance. With every hit that was played, a chair , then two, then eventually as many tables that could be removed from the room, were, in order to accommodate ALL the guests so that they could join in. The dance floor simply expanded before their eyes.

Small dance floors are too cramped and big ones make people too self-conscious. A good rule of thumb: There should be at least three square feet of dance floor space for every two guests. So, if you have 150 guests, you would need a 15′ x 15′ dance floor; 200 guests would be about an 18′ x 18′ area; 400 guests calls for about 25′ x 25′ of space. Ask your reception site about adding on extra flooring if the standard seems too small (you party animal, you).

Tips for those that want their guests to have a ‘great’ time:

Align Your Seating Chart

Seat friends and family who love to dance closest to the dance floor. They’ll be more likely to get up and start grooving early if there’s easy access. And once they’re out there, others will be sure to follow. As for your more elderly guests, do them a favour and keep them away from the speakers. They’ll appreciate it!

Skip The iPod Idea

You may have the most genius play list in mind, but there’s a reason why DJs and bands are so common at weddings—they are there to read, interact and adjust to your crowd’s mood throughout the evening and to make sure everyone is dancing and having a good time (so you don’t have to). Besides, do you really want a friend or family member getting up to grab the microphone all night to announce your cake cutting and bouquet toss? Didn’t think so.

Don’t Limit The Genre

Even if you both truly love indie rock, there’s a good percentage of your guests who probably haven’t heard of Modest Mouse and won’t appreciate it like you will. A play list made up entirely of ’80s dance music, rap or country is the same story. Don’t get us wrong: Including your favourite genre at your wedding is fine (in fact, you should!) but do so in moderation.

Make Music Interactive

Let guests in on the fun by allowing them to request songs via the RSVP card. Or set up a poll on your wedding website and ask everyone to vote on your first dance song or the last song of the evening. You’ll have everyone looking forward to the voters’ choice song reveal.

Create A (Short) Do-Not-Play List

There’s no bigger dance floor turnoff than hearing your least favourite song. (Did someone say “Chicken Dance?”) Put together a short list of please-don’t-play songs for your DJ or band.

Keep The First Dance Brief

You may have fallen in love listening to “Free Bird,” but imagine how long nine minutes and eight seconds will feel alone on the dance floor. (And if it’s dragging for you, imagine how your guests will feel!) Pay careful attention to your favourite song’s length before committing to it for your first dance. Same goes for those mother-son and father-daughter dances.

Musical Note: Time your song and practice dancing to it beforehand. Even four minutes can kill you if you’re just rocking back and forth. If your heart is set on a certain (long) ballad, try to have it cut down to a reasonable length. Work with your DJ or band to come up with the perfect shortened version.

Keep Things Exciting

Give guests a treat they won’t expect by introducing a never-seen-that-before act. Think hip-hop dancers, break dancers or flamenco dancers. Time it right so that they make their entrance just as the toasts are wrapping up to get all your guests back up and moving on the dance floor and out of their food coma.

Get Out There And Dance!

Set an example for everyone by getting your newly married butts out there as soon as the dance floor opens up for the evening. Your guests will notice and be more likely to join you when they see how much fun you’re having.

Musical Note: Your reception will be a long busy evening, so let your bridal party know beforehand how important it is to you that your guests dance, and ask them to lead the movement to the dance floor. That way, if you do get caught up talking with the grandparents, they’ll have your back.

Read more: Wedding Song Tips: 10 Ways To Keep ‘Em Dancing All Night Long –