There are so many things to think about when you are planning a wedding, and there are some things you only learn after years of experience. Here are a few technical tips I’ve picked up that will set you up for success when planning a wedding:
1. PUT THE DJ ON THE DANCEFLOOR
This applies to both the DJ and their speakers. Putting the DJ right in front or beside where you want to dance should be a priority.
If you must, putting the DJ themselves around a corner or behind a wall for dinner is a much better option than cutting the DJ off from the dance floor later. A really important step to reading a crowd is being able to see them, the DJ needs to see when songs land, and who is dancing. Also, the closer the DJ the easier it is for guests to dance over and make a quick request when inspiration hits.
Although sometimes it’s impossible, I cannot recommend having the DJ’s sound system anywhere but right on the dance floor. It creates a dance-club atmosphere without having to blast music past anyone still sitting at their table.
2. DON’T USE THE MIC IN FRONT OF SPEAKERS
Using a live microphone in front speakers currently in use creates a feedback loop.
(It’s that screeching, ringing sound that scares the pants off of everyone.)
Feedback isn’t always that big of a problem and can sometimes be lessened with smart speaker placement… but you can completely avoid it by having your podium/speeches across the room from the sound system.
ADVANCED TIP FOR MC’S: Feedback can still occur even when you aren’t speaking, so turning your microphone off when not in use and before approaching the sound system is a great way to win over the DJ’s heart.
3. HAVE A CAPABLE MC
I’ve seen the vibe at a wedding go downhill many times because they have an MC who is inexperienced, rambled, didn’t say enough, or couldn’t be understood. Great public speaking skills is the obvious must, but a great MC will also know how to communicate the flow of events, know what things to announce and when, and has the ability to communicate with your vendors.
4. GIVE YOURSELF MORE TIME, AND THEN LET IT GO
Things always take longer than you plan for, try to overcompensate by giving yourself more time than you think you need. At the very least realize that your schedule turns into more of an order of events if you only give 150 people an hour to eat, and think your dad is only going to speak for 5 minutes.
I’ve seen dad’s pull out binders. No joke.
I would say most weddings run at least an hour behind, and running 2-3 hours behind by the end of the night isn’t rare at all. BUT, all of those parties were still fantastic! Weddings run behind because everyone has amazing speeches, or people want to mingle longer with family before switching from dinner to party-mode. Of course, making sure you don’t miss out on partying is important, but everyone is already there, and nobody is going to leave before your first dance. No need to rush.
5. DON’T HANDCUFF YOUR DJ
Not a country fan. I get it. Want the DJ to stay away from Bieber. Not a problem.
But giving your DJ an extensive list of DO NOT PLAYS or asking them to stick to a strict playlist is an easy recipe for a party where nobody dances. Which is fine if that’s all you wanted, but let’s be real - what you really want is for your guests to dance and have fun.
You might not like Despacito or Bruno Mars but if it gets your whole family up on the dance floor it’s probably worth the sacrifice.
6. SCHEDULE MINGLE TIME
If you have a large family or a lot of friends coming from out of town, everyone will want some time to catch up. With you and each other! The best practice is planning 20 minutes somewhere after dinner for a mingle period. Worse case scenario if nobody has anything to say, give your DJ the signal and start the party!
7. DON’T STOP THE PARTY!
Once the dance floor has been opened and the party has started you have crossed the point of no return. If you decide to stop everything for another speech, a game, a performance, etc. it could take a while to get the party going again and could even spell the end of dancing for the night.
This also applies to send-off’s. If you want to get that sweet IG photo with a sparkler send off just know that it probably will end your party so don’t do it until you are ready to shut things down!
8. ENCOURAGE GUESTS TO MAKE REQUESTS
Encourage your guests to request songs they want to dance to, especially if the dance floor isn’t packed.
I love getting a couple of quick requests, even better if it’s from people already dancing. Getting just 5 or 6 requests can give me enough of a springboard for the next three hours.
9. DON’T SEAT THE HEARING IMPAIRED IN FRONT OF THE DJ
After years of events myself - my hearing isn’t what it should be and I can tell you from experience that the first thing to go is being able to pick out voices when there is a lot of background noise. Seating any of your guests that are hard-of-hearing near the speakers usually ends up with them asking for the music to be turned down, and then the people at the back of the room feel like they are sitting in silence.
10. HIRE EXPERTS
Nothing makes a bigger difference than hiring experienced and professional vendors who are on the ball and know how weddings work. I have seen many weddings not meet their potential because they hired a friend, family member, or went with a cheaper option.
I think this one tip might be the subject of the next entire blog post!