for your dance.
Please call me to discuss any of these issues, I am more than happy to brainstorm with you to make your reception the best it can possibly be for all your guests.
Room set up and Considerations
Typically it's best to have the DJ set up against the wall on one end of the room with the dance floor directly in front of him. That way everyone can see the dance floor and video screen and the sound will carry to the whole room. Even though I have several decades worth of experience I still can not adequately entertain your guests if I am not near the dance floor.
As for sound, think of speakers as a flood light- if it's not pointed at you, if there's something between you and it, or if you can't see it, you will not be able to hear it clearly.
If you going to have assigned seating, please avoid placing older guests next to the dance floor/speakers- they will appreciate this more than you can know. Tables between the dance floor and the disc jockey are never a good idea- period.
Every room is a little different than any other room, therefore a consultation with you, me and the hall coordinator is an extremely good idea in order to incorporate the sound system/ video screen so that everyone's happy.
If space in the hall for all your guests is an issue you may want to consider putting the head table or the buffet table on the dance floor. That way you won't have to displace guests in order to clear the dance floor for the dance. People that are displaced tend to leave. Also it is best to get the dance started as soon as possible after the meal because the more time there is between the meal and the dance the more guests you will lose.
Don't sweat the size of the dance floor too much, a smaller dance floor is better than one that is too big.
Please avoid the old ritual of being kidnapped to the bar before the dance starts. I've personally witnessed 3 weddings where the groomsmen got the bride so drunk that she couldn't attend her own wedding dance! I've also seen wedding parties that were absent in excess of 2 hours and when they did return to the hall less than half of the guests remained.
If at all possible, please avoid balloons. Kids love to pop them but most people don't appreciate the noise. Most halls don't like them either because of the possibility of them getting caught in the ceiling fans and some people have serious allergies to latex.
Real candles are romantic and look great but I have personally witnessed TWO table fires when napkins were carelessly thrown over them and one instance of a bridesmaid and groomsman each wearing about a cup of hot wax when the cake table fell over. Alternative- L.E.D. tea candles look very similar and create NO hazard.
Alcohol seems to be part of most wedding receptions and while it rarely creates serious problems some caution and forethought are prudent. In my experience beer at weddings is usually pretty safe but when free hard liquor is provided watch out! and hold on to your wallet! Guests that are more than happy with a beer will hit the top shelf bourbon when someone else is paying for it- in fact, I've seen people order two at a time, set them down to dance, forget where they left them and go get two more! I've also seen the bar bill for several wedding top $6000! One suggestion is to hand out tickets thus limiting the number of hard liquor drinks being consumed and controlling your costs.
Another very common problem is that of drinks being carried out and spilled on the dance floor. This is a dangerous and costly situation. One way to avoid this situation is to have a brief discussion with your wedding party and ask them to refrain from the practice. Another consideration is that the halls usually frown on the mess and damage that spilled drinks cause to their floors and may keep your deposit.
I've seen all kinds of food served at wedding receptions- everything from pizza to lobster. Your menu is probably going to be budget driven which is an important consideration but I do have a few things for you to think about concerning serving the meal. Buffets are very common and run smoothly for the most part but I have been at a few weddings where the catering staff dished out every plate of food one at a time. Please do not do this! When this was done it took over 2 hours to serve 200 guests! I've found that one buffet line for every 75 people is a great rule of thumb. I have a few thoughts about having the staff serve each plate; it takes a very large staff to pull it off in a timely manner and your guests may get food that they would not have taken if they were given a choice.
People dance to what they know so even though you are the boss and this is your reception please keep your guests' tastes in mind and shy away from obscure music or anything risque or profane. The music list is provided so that you can convey to me the songs that you absolutely must hear at your reception. Please avoid letting other people check off your music list as typically other people will pick music that you may not like or want. During the average dance there is only time to play about 60 songs- that's it! I do take requests from your guests as long as they are appropriate and will work with your crowd. Let's face it, there's some great music out there but the majority of your fun-loving party guests do not want to hear an hour of Pink Floyd regardless of good they are.
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