Tips and Tricks to Rock the Reception

What are some tips for planning a wedding reception?

Written By Jeff Knee Owner Of
When planning a wedding reception most couples do not realize that the largest part of the reception is the dance. It usually takes place from 8:30pm -1: 00 am and is longer than any other part of the entire wedding. Couples will spending  a lot of time and money planning other aspects of the wedding but then do little planning and have just a small budget left for the entertainment for the dance.

Consider this, when your guest go to look back at your wedding reception weeks, months or years later, what do you think they will remember? The food, the decorations, the hall? The cake?….They will remember the great time they had! They will remember if the music was hot or not. There are several things you should consider while planning your wedding reception. The most common choices for the entertainment are Live entertainment (band), or Professional DJ service.

What’s better for a wedding, Band or DJ?

Live entertainment is always nice especial if you have talented musicians. Bands can be very entertaining to watch. Keep in mind that they can only play the music that they have practiced and know as a group. Usually about 40-60 songs. Most bands usually only play one or two styles of music. If your guest are not dancing at your wedding reception to the type of music they play, it is unlikely they will be able to switch to another style. Bands usually play 40 -60-minute sets with 20 -30-minute breaks in between. One thing to consider with bands is there are usually 3-5 people that all need to be there. Should one of them decide to quit the band or if they became ill they might not be able to perform. A good band can cost anywhere for $950-$5000.00
DJ’s can provide a wide variety of music and usually have at least 25,000 songs. When hiring a Halifax DJ make sure you hire a professional. What’s the difference in a professional? Here are some things you should look for. Professional Halifax DJ Companies will have a business telephone line that is answered in  professional manner. They should have a contract that protects both you and them and have either paper or online forms that help you list all the important details. They should have Connects. licensed music, public liability insurance, be legally registered, and able to show references or letters of thanks. Some DJs will be a member of a professional association such as the Canadian Professional Disc Jockey Association . Members of these associations usually had to prove their professionalism in order to be a member. Your DJ should have a backup plan should there be an equipment failure or should a DJ become sick or have a family emergency. All DJs should be able to show you pictures or video of his system at a venue in Halifax! If now why not?

Once you have found a professional Halifax Disc Jockey, how do you choose which one? Budgets have to be kept, and you (as the decision maker) have to try for the best DJ you can find, for the best price. (THIS IS HUMAN NATURE.) Most professional DJs in Halifax range in price from $450- $1200.00 . HIGH PRICE does not ensure HIGH QUALITY. However,  the opposite is usually true! Successful DJ companies will charge what they are able to get in their market. If you find a DJ that is half the price, there is usually a reason he or she is only able to charge half as much as a professional. The bottom line in hiring a DJ is to find one that is willing to work with you and one that is interested in what you have to say. One that is interested in making your wedding all that you want it to be.

The victory of an amazing deal loses its appeal after you realize it was for a cheaper product. Here is one of my favourite quotes.

There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell for a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man’s lawful prey!– John Ruskin

Tips from a Halifax DJ

As a professional DJ for the past 20 years I have seen couple through no fault  of their own sabotage their own party!  Here are some factors that myself and most of my djs have noticed that can make or break a party!

Do not locate the bar in a different room than the dance floor. If at all possible. Some venues locate the bar outside of the room leaving your party divided. It will look as if half your guest have left. Another Problem with this, is that while guest mingle by the bar are outside, they hear a song they want to dance to, it will be half over by the time they get to the dance floor. In some cases they will request a song, only to find out it played while they were out talking and getting a drink. If at all possible never divide a party into two or more rooms for any reason. A new Party killer can be a photo booth. They are lots of fun! Just try to keep it inside the room or do not have it going all night. Having it running during the dinner or cocktail time is best.

Don’t forget the dance floor and DJ when you plan your room layout. The layout of the room is important. DJ systems are very directional. The sound is loud close to the speakers so they should be close to the dance floor. The lighting is meant to light people dancing, and the dance floor. So the DJ system should always be located in front of, or next to the dance floor. If at all possible do not sit guest directly in front of the DJ system. If you must have them next to the speakers, have it arranged to have them relocated before the music starts. Or at least have that table for a younger group that can handle it.  No one wants to sit next to a loud speaker with the lights flashing in their eyes.

Lights! Sound! Action!

In mid summer the sun does not set till almost 9:00 so have the drapes closed and the house light dimmed. This will help darken the hall for the dance. Lot’s of people are shy when it comes to dancing in a bright room. Keeping the room darkened with the DJ’s lights going will help encourage people to get into dance mode.

The Music

The Music is the be all and end all of the party! It is also a very hard thing to plan. The reason is that you will have so many types of people at your wedding with so different musical taste. Being strict with your DJ’s music choices will only result in your party not being enjoyed by everyone. Your DJ should have a wide variety of music and be able to mix it up to match the crowd that he or she is playing for. The compromise I suggest is for the couple to pick out ten “must play songs” that they think will go over at their reception and then 15 more “play if possible songs”. 10 Do not play song ( if you want) . Then let your guest make request and then let the DJ do his job and pick music that will keep people dancing.

Timing is everything

Timing for a weddingA wedding can be a long day, so do your best to keep it on schedule and wait times to a minimum. Big wait times, between the meal and the dance will sometimes result in some of your guest leaving early. Speeches are important but your guest will be in no mood to party if they go on till eleven o’clock. You can help control this by letting your speakers know in advance that you don’t want long speeches and that their speech should only be no longer than “x” minutes. This will make sure guest are not bored or wiped out before the party starts. I suggest the best time to start the formal dance are around 9-10pm.  If the sunshine is breaking in the windows at 7:30 the DJ will burn through his dance floor  fillers trying to get people up if you start the party too early. Once the party is started the less interruptions in the music the better. Having people on the dance floor and then having them to sit back down to watch a power point slide show or a last minute toast is not a great idea.

Eat drink And Be Married

A common problem for most halifax DJ companies is that some of the guest or bridal party will suddenly disappear to their hotel rooms upstairs to have a few “cheaper” drinks. Having a few drink tickets for each guest, or an open bar for even for one hour, can be a great way to get the party started and eliminate guest going back to their hotel room. If you can’t do a open bar do a discounted bar. Like 3$ a drink.
Some menus can be a party killer also! Remember Christmas dinner? Did you feel like dancing after? Buffet style or heavy foods can kill the party mood. You don’t want your guest to be hungry but you don’t want them to be so full they want to take a nap either. Some weddings will break out another course of food called a Late night snack. This often shows up at 10:00 just as the party gets started.  Within minutes of this happening the dance floor is empty and 40 minutes later guest are starting to leave as a natural reaction to a full belly.  So consider this when planning your menu.

Help fill the Dance Floor

You’ll have lots of friends and family to talk with. Some of them would probably enjoy a dance just as much. So pull them out to the dance floor. More guest will dance if they see you up dancing. Also,  set the expectation with your family and bridal party that you would like everyone to dance to the first couple of fast songs at your wedding reception. This will help get the dancing started and encourage you guest to get up on the dance floor. No one ever wants to be the first.

Celebrate good Times!

Keeping all of these things in mind when planning your reception, will help it become the party you wished for. A wedding is one of the few times that you will have all your family and friends in the one place! One of the most important things you can do for yourselves is to enjoy it. All day you have been in a formal setting and now is the time to really celebrate with your family and friends. So relax, have fun, and dance with as many love ones as you can, you will be creating memories that last a life time

By Jeff Knee owner Of Atlantic ProDJ Halifax

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