Keep Your Reception Flowing Smoothly!

Don’t leave it to chance!

Hiring a strong team of vendors to work closely with you before your wedding, and behind the scenes for you the day-of are KEY to ensuring a smooth-flowing and stress-free wedding day!

Understanding the role of your DJ/MC!

Even if you’ve hired a professional wedding planner or day-of coordinator, you’ll be looking to the DJ/MC you select to help you design & execute a flow for the entertainment portion of your wedding day.  

Understanding the roll of dynamics and mood in transitioning from one part of your event to another is super-important!

Keep guests involved, informed & engaged

Your guests should never be left looking around, just staring at their phones, or each other, wondering what’s going on, or what will happen next. 

Getting the Ball Rolling

Once your reception is underway, knowing how to take advantage of the natural ebb and flow of each event, every special dance, and every wedding tradition is critical.  

Wedding Reception Transitions

Since wedding receptions are most often chock-full of different special events requiring changes in tempo and mood, and even breaks in music altogether, the understanding of how to make these transitions smoothly becomes crucial.  Your guests should feel like they are along for the ride at your celebration – not like they are being pulled along or forced to stop abruptly throughout the night.

The following is a sample time line using this approach, my “Dance Theory” if you will, and is an example of how to design an event flow that uses music thoughtfully to transition between certain parts of your reception.  There are no rules of course, and I will always work with you to construct the event flow that is right for you and your guests.  The below is only a general guideline meant to give an insight into the thoughtful, careful use of musical transitions throughout your event.

First Dance – For the sake of our example, we’ll start the timeline here.

Transition/Build – Build into upbeat, open dancing slowly or quickly. You decide what feels right for you and your guests.  I have different ideas about how to draw your guests to the dance floor to kick off dancing.  And no…  they don’t include cheesy “snowball” games or putting anyone on the spot.  :)   Ask me!

First Open Dance Segment – Keep to slightly older, more accessible, and familiar mid-tempo music to encourage dancing by older folks and those who might tend to leave earlier, and/or may not dance to newer or faster music.

Wind-Down – There are times, for example, when getting ready to stop music for cake cutting, etc. that you want to wind down your upbeat, open dancing.  This will provide a nice slow transition, and will eventually (by design) clear guests off the floor.  Use parent dances, anniversary dances, money/dollar dances, etc. for this effect.  For money/dollar-dances, stick to slower songs, so there is not an abrupt STOP when moving to cake cutting, and also because all your guests want to share this time with you, and not all folks (think older) will necessarily be comfortable with high-paced fast dance selections and may not come up to dance with you to faster songs.


Tosses – Use tosses, traditionally high-energy and emotionally charged events, involving several people on the dance-floor, to segue back into open dancing.

Second Open Dance Segment – PARTY!  This second dance set is when you would start to pump it up with the newer songs, more dance/club/top-40 music for younger generations, current radio music and the hard-rock party fav’s.

At this point, all that “wedding stuff” is over and its time to let go and really just spend the night dancing and hanging out with your family and friends.

Wind-Down… or Climax… YOU Decide! – Use Last Dance and Last Song of the Night (if applicable/different) to slow back down in preparation for the end of the event.  As an alternative to the wind-down, you could choose to end your celebration on a high-note with real high-energy selections right up to the end to leave everyone wanting more. 

The time your guests are having when your reception ends or when they leave will likely play a large role in their lasting impressions of your celebration, so leaving them jumping and asking for more can be a good thing!

Most Importantly:

In the end, just remember: there ARE NO RULES! There is only what works best for you, your guests, and your event!  My expertise is geared towards helping you find, and achieve that perfect balance!

Keep Your Wedding Guests Longer!

Everyone on your guest list is very special.  Whether they’re close friends or family, you want to make the most of your time with them.  And you want to be sure they have the best time possible!

  • But how do we make the most of their time at the reception before the party even starts?
  • What can we do about guests who may be prone to leave earlier on in the reception?
  • WHO is most likely to leave before the party even gets started?
  • How can we make them stay longer or, even better, GIVE THEM REASONS to stay longer?

To answer these questions, we need to first understand who is most likely to leave a wedding reception “early,” and WHY.

Once we know these things, we can give them reasons to stay longer, while maximizing their enjoyment of your celebration!

Generally, the folks who tend to leave earlier in the reception are either older guests, or guests with small children.Sacramento Wedding DJ Group Shot Wedding Guests

There’s no telling when folks might decide or start to leave, but it’s fairly common, and pretty widely accepted as a matter of wedding etiquette, that one can leave after the cake cutting.  How can we use this in our favor?  Let me show you!

There’re also ways to ensure that guests with young children hang around for the fun as well.  I have tons of ideas!

The bottom line?

Guests who feel involved, and are being entertained and included, won’t want to leave when the DJ plays the last song of the night, let alone sooner!

I have lots of cool ideas to help make the most of various “down time” spots at a reception, and ideas on how to get your guests involved, engaged, and interacting with one-another.

If you’re interviewing DJs for your wedding, be sure to ask each of them what types of ideas they have in this area, and ask the for suggestions on how to maximize your guests’ stay and enjoyment at your wedding.  They should be able to rattle off several ideas & suggestions as easily as if they were telling you what they had for breakfast that day.  If you’re met with something like a “deer-in-headlights” look (“Umm, well…”), it might be good idea to keep looking. :)

Here are some fun out-of-the-box ideas from TLC on keeping your guests engaged at your reception as well.

If you are in need of DJ & Entertainment services for your upcoming wedding, I’d be honored if you’d consider my services.

Your Wedding Guests: How Do We Get Them To Dance?


This is an important question, and one you should be asking all your DJ candidates. Hopefully, they have a really good answer!

It’s tricky

Getting a dance floor started at a wedding can be challenging for a variety of reasons.  Don’t let any other DJ tell you differently!  The demographics of your audience, the day of the week, the time of day, the location and type of wedding venue…  The list goes on and on.

One of those challenges, and perhaps the most difficult to overcome, is that no one wants to be the FIRST ONE to get out and dance!

Your DJ should be able to give you many different ideas on how to get your dance floor started on your wedding day.  Most importantly, he or she should be able to get folks on the dance floor without resorting to cheesy or embarrassing routines, or putting anyone on the spot.  It should be a natural-feeling progression for everyone involved, and all that is needed is to find creative ways to capitalize on your guests’ innate desire to help you celebrate.  After all, that IS why they’re there in the first place!

I’ll focus on one such idea here, and this is just one suggestion to get your dance floor started.

Let’s imagine YOUR wedding day…

All eyes are on you because you just shared your first dance together, and emotions in the room are high.  Your dance song fades, and I (yes ME, your DJ, RIGHT…?) remain silent and let nature take its course.  The whole room erupts into applause!

Then, as this applause fades out, I congratulate you both.  While you remain on the dance floor, I then invite ALL of the other couples present to JOIN YOU on the dance floor to share a slow dance with you on your wedding day!

VIOLA!  You get an INSTANT packed dance floor, and it feels completely natural to everyone involved because this dance is something you wanted to share with them, and is something they’ll want to share with YOU on your special day!  That IS why they’re there after all, right – to share such moments with you!

Even though you and I know it’s intentional and strategically planned, it doesn’t feel that way to your guests.

This idea is great for several reasons:

1)  You get an INSTANT packed dance floor!  After that slow song, I go right into an upbeat dance selection, and people keep moving.  We start dancing the night away!

2)  It gives older friends and family, and folks who might not consider themselves “dancers” a chance to get out on the floor and share a dance with their special someone.  We’ll have more slow songs and all types of genres throughout the night, but this dance is a nice way for people to feel comfortable on the floor without feeling that all eyes are on them.

3)  It makes a GREAT photo-op for your photographer!  They get to start the night off with a fantastic shot of a PACKED dance floor with you sharing an intimate time with all who are closest to you!

There are other variations of this technique that I’d love to share with you, but this one is by far the most popular and commonly picked by my couples because of it’s effectiveness, and subtlety.

More than “just music.”

So you see, finding a great DJ is about more than finding someone to “play some music” and “make some announcements.”

It’s about finding someone who understands the psychology of your guests, and who knows how to guide the flow of your wedding from beginning to end to make sure that everyone is involved and has the best time possible at your wedding!

Sure, a DJ can get your dance floor filled without employing a creative strategy like the one above, but how long will it take them to get that first, second, and third person on the floor?  How many different songs and genres will they cycle through – each one making the whole thing more and more awkward for you, and your guests – before they find one that will actually get someone to come to the floor?  This is the type of situation you can easily avoid by making sure your DJ has a solid plan that MAKES SENSE when you ask them this important question.

Want more cool ideas like this?

I’ve got ’em, and I’d love to discuss them with you!  My planning materials cover all types of different scenarios and key questions to help you & your guests get the most out of your wedding day celebration!

If you are in need of DJ & Entertainment services for your upcoming wedding, I’d be honored if you would consider my services.