As a wedding dj in the Phoenix, Arizona metro area, I have a wide range of clients… 

Some used to hang out in nightclubs with their friends, some are more subtle with their music taste and dancing proclivities, and a lot fall somewhere in the middle. One common theme between 99% of the people that hire a dj is they want a fun dance floor when the time comes. After dinner winds down, the toasts/speeches are finished, and the special dances are done, you might wonder how to ensure your dance floor fills up. With that in mind, I’ve put together some pro tips for how to make sure that your dance party starts easily, organically, and with an inclusiveness that makes everyone feel like they can get involved.

#1 Your friends and family will follow your lead

When the moment arrives, the music kicks in, the lights change, but if you go outside or to the bar immediately when the dance floor opens, your guests will follow suit. Similarly, if you stay on the dance floor most everyone will want to join. The first 15 minutes or so generally sets the tone for the rest of the night. It’s almost like a switch goes off in most peoples head if everyone joins in the dance party early on. It’s like they know they’re going to be dancing all night and it’s already been decided. Make sure and think about how you want things to kick off before dinner is finished. Need to change shoes or get a drink? Maybe do it before the dance party starts, or sneak away after everything is already rolling along.

#2 Have some inside help from fun wedding party/family members

Talk to your wedding party and some fun guests about joining the dance floor before the day of the wedding! If 5-10+ people run out right away to join you on the dance floor, it’s way less intimidating for everyone else to join in. After all, everyone came because they want to celebrate with you. A little encouragement is all it takes in most instances. Also, don’t let the photographer pull people away for photos right when the dance floor opens up. If it falls flat at the very beginning it can be harder to get the momentum back later.

#3 Consider the age range of your guests

If your guests range widely in age, like many weddings do, starting with songs that everyone knows can help with guest participation early on. Often, once people have already been involved with the dance floor they feel comfortable joining throughout the night, even if they don’t know some of the music. I often suggest a party starter mix of popularly requested wedding songs to get things going. I typically make it kind of like a mega mix, where after the first verse and chorus we transition into the next song to get things moving early on. Also since I mix live at my events, if a particular song is really working I can let it play if it seems like the right call.

Follow these tips and your dance floor is sure to get going early on and stay hot all night!