We have seen it before. Its not a pretty site and one that we cringe at in the DJ business. For us, its that recurring dream where you are late for a test. For you, its a shattered expectation of your big day. What is this horror I am referring to? An empty dance floor, a few guests wanting to dance and a bunch of guests heading to the bar, bathroom, patio, etc... when dancing begins.
So what do you do when you have non dancing guests? One option is to offer vodka. Sometimes this method is successful and other times this method will backfire in unruly guests. We have a few suggestions to get most of your guests involved and having a great time. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Dim the lights. This sounds simple enough but many people forget this simple trick. Your photographer may have turned up lights for photo ops but now its time to turn them down. People are less inhibited and may be more likely to join in the fun.
2. Start with with fun, family friendly dances that gets everyone moving. most people will join in on the Twist, YMCA and yes, even the Chicken Dance. Even if you hate these options, allow one or two to get a full dance floor in the beginning and it will encourage people to stay out there. You can get progressively more club-like as the evening goes on and the older folks start to head home. You will leave all of your guests with a good memory of the fun they had at your event,
3. Pick danceable songs. I have pointed this out in a previous post but this is so important. "Don't Stop Believin" by Journey is an awesome song but have you ever tried to dance to it? This brings me to my next tip....
4. Ask your DJ for suggestions if you need help with song selection. They know which songs get the most people on the dance floor.
5. Have a size appropriate dance floor. Huh? Does size really matter? Yes it does! Having a dance floor that will accommodate all of your guests plus and extra 50 will inhibit shy dancers. They want to disappear. Making a tighter space to dance will allow your more inhibited dancers to move to the center where thy will blend in.
6. Understand that there are some people who just won't dance. There are always a few of these in every crowd. The best thing to do is not pressure these people to dance. You want all of your guests to have a good time and some of them are just observers. Let them be observers and don't make it awkward for them to do so. A friendly wave from the dance floor or a light comment stating "I didn't know that you aren't a dancer. Please go enjoy the photo booth or just relax and enjoy!" This will go a long way in ensuring that your guests will stick around for the fun and not run for the hills when the dance music begins.
When planning a large event the personalities and preferences of your guests are going to be vastly different from other events you may have attended because this is your group of people. Adjusting expectations and allowing people to join in at there own pace will ensure a pleasant experience that everyone will enjoy.