How to Get (and Keep) Guests on the Dance Floor

Are you the kind of couple who likes to get down and boogie? Want your guests to do the same?

Of course you do, that’s why your having a reception in the first place - to dance and get sweaty and release endorphins beside and next to your friends and family.

In fact, at your last dress/suit fitting you probably busted a move or two just to make sure you could wiggle/twerk/floss/samba in your fancy get up.

Your wedding reception is half dinner time and half dance time, so why not make it easy for your guests to get on the dance floor and stay there? #amrigiht

Well, it’s no secret that my favorite DJ company is Instant Request, I know I can rely on them to show up, on time, prepared, and to rock the dance portion of the night (with no nudges or reminders needed from me).

To say that they make my job easier is an understatement but the more important part is that they make your wedding better, more fun and they make it easier to justify splurging on a black tie DJ for the best experience possible.

And so it only seemed fitting to pick the brain of my go to guy at Instant Request, Mitch, on how to keep guests on the dance floor at your wedding. Because it isn’t enough to just have music, or just play the songs you like or your friends like. It’s not just the size of the dance floor or the flashiness of the strobe lights. Read on for tips on how to get and keep guests on the dance floor at your wedding.



Don't wait too long after dinner to get the 1st dances started.  Many couples forget to think through the flow of the night from dinner to dancing, especially when they are lured by the fantastical idea of removing tables to clear the space for a dance floor. Creating a lull in between events makes it harder to get guests excited for the dance portion of the night.

Ideally you’d serve dessert (immediately after toasts), wait 10 minutes or so and then get the first dances started right away. Take advantage of the cake-induced sugar high guests are about to experience and jump right into it.

If you are removing tables to clear off the dance floor, think about having those guests served dinner first (after the head table and immediate family tables, of course) that way they are done eating sooner and you can move those tables sooner. If your venue staff does not clear tables, make sure you have a wedding planner or some person in charge of spearheading this endeavor. You’ll need to be swift (clear dinner plates etc. then centerpieces, then linen; know where the chairs and tables will go), but also stealthy so as not to make a big scene.


Those that love dancing and will dance must be seated closest to the dance floor. So that even when they make their way back to their seat, for a quick drink or to remove their shoes, the lure of the bass is right in their face and they just can’t sit for long before popping back up and scootin their way back onto the dance floor.


Mitch reminds us, “To start the dance a good DJ will pick fun songs that appeal to the young and old and not just a new hot song that only the younger generation knows.  If you only play new music at the beginning, this is just a cue for the older generation to leave early.”

And it doesn’t need to be an assumption that the older folks at your wedding will want to leave early. If they’re having fun, why would they leave early? Save the raunchy, filthy, expletive music for the end of the night, and play crowd pleasing songs more often than not. This isn’t a college garage party, this is your wedding, it’s okay to not play every single one of your favorite songs.


Again, while your cousin Sheila may really, really want to hear ‘that one song’, that one song might be a total buzz kill. Be mindful of your song list and what kind of music your guests, as a whole, like.  Some wedding couples ask for song requests in advance via their wedding website or RSVP's, which can help weed out the ones that won’t be a good fit for your night.  A good DJ will allow you to create your playlist ahead of time, instead of relying solely on guest requests. 

No matter how much or how little control you want over your playlist, absolutely make a ‘must play’ list and a ‘do not play’ list. Please acknowledge that if you're a huge country fan and the rest of your guests are not, including a ‘must play’ list of 40 country songs is not going to bode well for your dance floor success.


It’s good practice to make the room as dark as possible after the 1st dances. Guests who are shy and don't have enough liquid courage (yet) will feel comfortable that not everyone is staring at them, judging their body convulsions. Waiting until after the first dances to dim the lights allows your photographer the opportunity to capture your first dance photos, meaning you’ll actually like the images of you and your hunny two stepping for the first time as a married couple.


It’s called Snowball and it’s one of the few JOBS your wedding party should be assigned (more on wedding party responsibilities here). The object of Snowball is to get people on the dance floor, think high school retreat ice breaker. Talk to your DJ about the song or the cue you’ll use, but basically every time that cue is given (like the DJ shouts out ‘Snowball!’) each member of your wedding party runs off and into the crowd, grabbing a new dance partner and gently forcing them back onto the dance floor. Now the next time the cue is given (‘Snowbal!’) everyone on the dance floor runs out and retrieves a new partner to bring back to the dance floor. Continue until all guests are shakin it (and ignore the negative Nancys who refuse to get off of their Laurels).


Lastly, but most obviously, if you want to get and keep guests on the dance floor at your wedding, hire a good DJ. A good DJ can read the dance floor and responds accordingly. Like if a requested song clears the floor, then a good DJ will quickly fade out onto the next song. A good DJ has experience, so they understand what songs are overplayed, and what songs are overplayed but nobody gives a rats ass and that song should be overplayed because everyone will sing along and laugh and cheers and dance like they’ve never danced before when it’s played.

dance floor fun | Alice HQ Photography | Machine Shop Minneapolis | Sixpence Events and Planning wedding planner.JPG

Keeping guests on the dance floor isn’t rocket science, it’s logistics. I’ve seen all of these things work to a couples benefit. Even my own wedding could have used a large dose of Sixpence blog tips. Our dance floor was way too big, it was away from the dancing crowd and the lights wouldn’t dim all the way.


Plus the first dance songs were like WAY too long. Our saving grace? A little thing called the dollar dance. Look it up people, I did all the antiquated rituals at my wedding.

Take this advice, hire Instant Request, and have the best dance party your friends and family will ever attend.

Prosperity, Love & Happiness,

Photos by Alice HQ Photography of Mandy + Curtis