1. Have people in your bridal party bring a comfortable pair of shoes to wear later at the reception. Hours
of dancing on a hard floor, in dress shoes can be unbearable and dress shoes are slippery, on a floor with
2. Bring safety pins, bandaids, needle and thread, and kleenex. You'll need these for repairs to your gown,
as well as any blisters you may get from your shoes.
3. Bring some plastic building blocks, coloring books or other toys for the kids to play with, off in some
corner "away from the D.J. equipment", to keep them quiet and out of every ones way.
4. Relax and have a good time. The bride and groom set the mood for the entire reception. If the bride is
on the dance floor having a great time, so will her guests.
5. Put the wedding cake at the end of the food buffet line and have it cut up in serving pieces, right after
the bride and groom cut the cake, so guests can get the desert with their dinner. This will leave you with
less leftover cake to take home or throw away. Be sure to have someone appointed to immediately have
the cake cut up in pieces.
6. If you're having a reception in the summer, try to get an air conditioned hall. You and your guests will be
all dressed up in formal clothes, which can become really hot. If your guests are hot and uncomfortable
there won't be much dancing going on.
7. Outdoor receptions - while they may be cheap and scenic, it's a huge gamble when it comes to the
weather. It can rain, be extremely windy, be really hot, really cold, the bugs can eat you alive, it can be
muddy, poor electrical supply and such, so outdoor receptions are not always a good idea.
8. I've done some receptions where some, well meaning, person poured the champagne before the guests
even arrived. The bride and groom usually arrive up to 1 hour after the guests first arrive. Don't have the
champagne poured until toast time. You don't want it getting all warm and going flat in the glasses, plus it's
entertaining watching the best man attempt to open the bottle and letting all your guests hear that great
"POP" of the cork.
9. Have your photographer take all of the bridal pictures before the wedding ceremony, so you won't keep
your guests waiting for hours, at the reception hall, for your arrival.
10. Brides and grooms sometimes buy disposable cameras and put them on the tables, for the guests to take
pictures. This can be a great idea for casual pictures that the pros might not be getting, but take into
consideration that little kids often get a hold of them, and you'll get lots of pics of shoes, the floor, the
ceiling, half a face etc.
11. An alcohol free reception usually is a short reception. If your guests are loosened up a little, they'll be
more relaxed and in the dancing mood.
12. It's truly amazing how many party planners and reception hall managers are clueless about the proper
placement of the entertainment. They place the D.J. back in some corner, off in a closet, or in the middle
of a room. Sound is extremely directional, when it comes to the vocal part of music and speech. It funnels
out of the speaker, in a "V" shape, while bass frequencies will fill a entire room. If you want your guests to
hear the announcements that are being made throughout the evening, as well as enjoy the music, you need
to put the D.J. in a proper location, so that sound and lighting can go over the dance floor first, then out to
the audience. Placing a D.J. in the corner can take up more floor room, since the equipment will have to be
placed further out onto the dance floor, to get the width needed for the entertainment system. Many times
I've been placed in bad locations and the guestscannot hear the announcements made. I realize that the
reception is for the bride and groom but the stage should be for the D.J., and not the bridal party. Once the
bridal party has finished eating and the toasts have been given, the table remains empty for the
rest of the evening, since they'll be at the bar, on the dance floor, dancing or mingling with the other
guests. If you want the bridal table to be the center of attention......it can be placed on the dance floor, in
front of the stage and, after dinner, it can be removed for the dancing but this can also cause another
problem since the bridal party will be in front of the speakers, when it comes time for the toasts to be given
on the wireless microphones. Improper mic technique, by your best man and maid of honor, can make it
hard for the guests to hear the toasts, without bringing the volume levels up to the point of feedback,
causing a loud squeal from the speakers. Sometimes a good place to put the bridal table is off to one side of
the dance floor.
13. A bouquet and garter toss is for many of your guests the highlight of the reception, yet many brides
seem to be eliminating this from their receptions. I think it's a great way for guests to find out who's
single. What a great way for a single guest, at your reception, to meet their future husband or wife.
|RECEPTION HALL PLANNING
THE PERFECT RECEPTION HALL LAY OUT.
|MISTAKES MADE IN RECEPTION HALL LAY OUT
PHOTO # 2
|MISTAKES MADE IN RECEPTION HALL LAY OUT
PHOTO # 1
|As you can see, this room setup wastes a lot of space, behind the D.J., that can't be used. The buffet table is set
up to be used only on one side, so your guests will have to wait twice as long to get to eat. The wedding cake is
put far away from the food table, making your guests make a special trip to get desert and you'll probably have
a lot of left over cake to take home or throw away. The placement of the D.J. will also make it so that most of
your guests will not be able to hear the important announcements, made at your reception, and the music will
sound muddy to your seated guests who won't be able to enjoy the music videos, due to not being in the line of
sight to the video monitors.
|Unfortunately, it seems that many halls are set up this way. Your guests will be unable to hear any
announcements clearly, during the evening, and the music will sound muddy to the seated guests. The serving of
food, on only one side of the buffet table, will double the time it takes for your guests to get food to eat.
16 THINGS A BRIDE NEEDS TO KNOW -
ADVICE FOR A GREAT RECEPTION
Are you or is someone you know having a wedding reception? Here are 16 things you've probably never even
thought of, that as a professional mobile DJ, I suggest make for better parties. I first want to point out that it
is rare that all these items are followed in any given event but the more you can adhere to them, the more
likely your party will be at full steam come closing time.
1) Don't put the older guests next to the dancefloor/speakers. If you have to ask why, then you may want to
hire a harpist for the night.
2) Don't cram your entertainment out of the way, your entertainer should be seen. Powerful entertainers will
work to get people on the dance floor but they must be seen as part of the action, not just some side show.
3) A party should end when it shouldn't end, not when it should. Ending a party before it dies down leaves
everyone with the impression the floor was packed all night. It just feels better when people are left wanting
more versus being completely burned out.
4) A "too small" dance floor is better than one that is too big. Why? The answer is simple: It creates the
impression, whether real or not, that the floor is full. People are more likely to dance when the crowd on the
floor is dense than when they feel like the only ones out there. Take it from the pro who knows about dancing
and crowd psychology, not from the banquet manager selling you on why a huge floor is so important. If people
end up dancing on the carpet then great they end up dancing on the carpet and the story of your floor being so
packed people couldn't even fit on the floor only further reinforces my point.
5) Darker is better than lighter for dancing. People feel like less of a spectacle, less "on-stage" when they
think they're harder to see.That's why crime increases at night as well and yes when some people dance it is a
crime. This one works along the same lines of psychology as tip 4.
6) Keep exit doors closed. Doors are inviting and you don't want to invite people outside of the main room.
Having them open allows more light into the room which again works against the psychodynamics of the dance
floor. Open doors invite people to their cars in the parking lot. You want to keep their focus in the reception
room for as long as possible.
7) This is a very general but valid statement: Nicer places, (country clubs, etc.) actually make it harder,
especially in the summer and fall months to get people up and moving because they are so pre-occupied
enjoying the scenery. Think about it... would you rather enjoy a cold beverage on a breezy deck outdoors
amidst the trees or a sweaty dance indoors? It isn't that the night can't be great but all things being equal,
nicer venues pull from the floor potential. As a DJ I love playing nicer events and usually do so, as that's my
target market; but it can't change simple human nature. If you're having your party/reception at a really nice
venue then you'll just want to pay closer attention to some of the other factors to tip the scales in your favor.
8) Bars should always be in the main room. Preferably closer to the dance floor but the floor shouldn't be in
the way of any lines to the bar. If a bar and/or desserts are put outside the main room, then a huge percentage
of potential dancers are unavailable. Bars are like kitchens they draw people to them. If you can help it, don't
make your DJ wrestle with the draw of a bar.
9) If you're going to shut the bar down for 30 minutes out of, say, 6 hours, do it during dinner. If you do it at
11:30 then the party will more likely die out, as people will feel that it's time to go.
10) Happy music keeps things going. Keep away from any negative vibes at all. Keep the mood up-up-up.
11) Respect the musical opinions of your local professionals. They do this for a living. Be careful not to cut out
all the "cliche" wedding music as you'll find this will negatively impact the dance floor potential. People dance
to what they know. A wedding reception is not the time and place to prove to your friends and family that
you're into obscure music. You've got a lot of people from all over your family tree that want to have a good
time, so let your DJ exercise all his or her tools and really work his or her craft.
12) The entertainment should eat with the guests and not be fed a soggy club sandwich in the janitors closet.
From tons of experience, the more my brides and grooms treat me as a guest, the more likely their unpaid
guests will respect me too. I find it rather ironic that the nicest venues often have some sort of crapitude
(made up word) towards DJs, bands, photographers and video crew and will encourage the bride and groom to
shovel them off away from the action during dinner with a plate of moldy (I'm not kidding) cold cuts. Wouldn't
it make sense that they be right near the action? Not to mention, if you treat your vendors like second class
citizens, how do you think that affects their attitudes? Your pros will bend over backwards for you if you just
treat them with the same respect you'd treat your guests with. I can tell you now that professional wedding
vendors will even do extra for you at no charge when you treat them right.
13) Don't do a dollar dance. The reason is that when the bride and groom are doing this the guests realize they
won't be seen slipping out the door. If you must do one, do it early on after the main dances and limit it to 3
14) People tend to remember the beginning and the end of an event. That's why your DJ should do a strong,
grand introduction. It helps build rapport early on, and if done right and with energy and enthusiasm, it puts
him or her in a more powerful position to work your crowd all night.
15) It is best for any traditional events or speeches to be done and out of the way before dancing begins. In
addition, it is important for pictures of the bridal party and bride and groom to be done, when at all possible,
before the dancing begins. As a DJ I have seen more parties lose steam because my bridal party is having
pictures taken after the bridal dance. Do all the pictures before. It may cost you an extra hour earlier in the
day but it will save you from losing a good handful of guests early on in the evening.
16) If you have to cut corners, don't compromise on the entertainment. My clients never complain that they
paid too much for my services. Also, know that experience is king. I am a better DJ after every event I do.
A wedding reception is not the time and place to prove to your friends and family that you're into obscure
music. Let your DJ exercise all his or her tools and really work his or her craft.
If you have any good suggestions or ideas to add to this list,
please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I'll gladly post them here for others.
|Sometimes I run across reception halls that expect to open the hall up only 1 hour before reception starting time,
for the D.J. to set up, and then expect the D.J. to be packed all up in 30 minutes, after the reception. Perhaps
the people in charge of these halls are used to having amateur D.J.s that arrive in their family car, filled with
their equipment of 2 speakers and a laptop computer, and set it all up on a table, provided by the reception hall,
then they sit on their behinds all night long. The only system I have, that can be set up and packed up like that, is
my D.I.Y. rental system. My gold system takes over 4 hours to set up and 2 hours to pack up. I'm not slow..... but
there's over 2,500 lbs of equipment, to haul in and set up, and dozens of cables to plug in. It's just really bad,
when a hall that a couple has to pay sometimes over $500 to rent, can't pay 1 employee to stay 1 hour over, to
lock the door. What can it cost the hall to pay that one employee for an hour, $10.00?
If your hall is limiting you on the quality of the entertainment, that you have at your reception, due to the length
of time they allow for setting up and packing up of the entertainers equipment, you might want to look elsewhere,
for a hall, and be sure to let the hall know why you will be looking for a more responsive place. Only then will the
managers wake up.
I've been D.J.'n since 1996 and I'm just amazed at how many halls don't really have a clue on things such as....(1)
Ease of access, to get equipment into the room (2) Proper electrical wiring, at the spot where the entertainment
is to set up (3) Proper placement of the entertainment, in respect to the dance floor and the seated guests (4)
The amount of time it takes for a professional entertainment system to be set up and packed up.
|This is the best layout in any room, especially when it comes to rectangular rooms. The music will be loudest
on the dance floor, which is where you want it to be loudest. All the seated guests will be able to hear the
announcements clearly, as well as having a clear line of sight of the music video screens, for entertainment.
The buffet table is open on both sides for a quick flow of guests, so they can get their food fast. The cake is
located so that, as the guests leave the buffet table, they can grab their desert on the way back to their table,
when you cut the cake, before dinner.
|Above is a photo taken at a reception hall that I played, with my small system, back in 2011. They put the bridal table
along with the cake, where the D.J. setup should be, on the dance floor, and put the D.J. off in a corner. They also
placed a guest table between the D.J. and the dance floor. Don't allow this to happen at your reception.
Please help educate these banquet managers.