Wedding Reception Perfection: Tips and Suggestions

Over the past years I have performed at many, many wedding receptions. From my experiences I've come up with some keys to help insure a smooth, enjoyable and trouble-free day. I'd like to share them with you.

DJ Location and Setup
Since your entertainer will need to be heard by all attending, he/she needs to be in an area that is open and visible to all. Do not hide your entertainer in a corner or in the back of the room. The music levels required to reach the dancers and guests would be most uncomfortable for those near the DJ. If you must have your entertainer in the back or corner see if the hall can provide a stage, this will help with visibility and sound quality.

The Seating Plan
Make an effort to seat older guests and young children away from the DJ area. The sound levels needed to cover the entire hall will be too loud at the source for your older guests. Young children tend to run around and could trip on equipment, wires, video light setups, etc. Seat the young adults to middle aged guests by the DJ area, they are typically not upset by the music nearby.

Most halls, without prior word from you, will set up the entertainers, videographer, and photographer in a separate room for dinner, this is inadvisable. The DJ needs to be in the hall to keep the music going during dinner and to interact with your guests. The videographer and photographer should be there as well to capture any spontaneous acts by you and your guests. If you are going to provide a meal for your professionals I recommend setting up a smaller cocktail style table (to save space) next to the DJ area for the entertainers. If a separate table is not possible then seat them at the closest table to the DJ area.

The Plan of Events
Your entertainer should finalize your plan of events in a reference style format for you and your event professionals. This reference sheet should also be shared with your wedding party during your rehearsal dinner. This way everyone in the wedding party will have an idea of what will be happening the next day.

Party On!
With any wedding the main focus will be on the bride, groom, and wedding party. It is imperative that these key players are in the room, and together at all times. Should the bar be located far from the dance floor, or in another room more often than not the groom and ushers will congregate there. This leaves bridesmaids without dance partners (which is sometimes how they like it!). Keep this in mind if your hall gives you an option as to the location of a mobile bar. Position the bar as close to the dance floor area as possible.

Everyone loves children, however children's behavior (running, sliding, jumping) can effect your dance floor environment. Ask your function hall if there is an area (photo room, separate room) that is available to you. Ask a friend, family member or even a baby sitter to monitor the kids, help them with their meals, and entertain them with games, stories, and activities. This will give their parents a chance to relax and really enjoy the evening knowing their children are being taken care of. Plus you'll be saving the dance floor for the dancers!

It's great to give your DJ a list of your favorite selections to play. However, sometimes your favorites are not the ones that will move your dance floor. Give your DJ the flexibility he/she needs to work in your guest's requests, sure hit selections, and your personal favorites. Have confidence in your entertainer. Since they have played to many audiences they are best qualified to find the right mix to motivate you and your guests.

The night is a success and there is only one hour left. This is the time to let the entertainer know that you wish to extend the services. This way they can tailor the music accordingly. Also, be sure to check with your function coordinator and other professionals on their charges and requirements for time extensions.

Changing At The End
Should you decided to change clothes before your last dance, you should determine ahead of time how long it will take, then plan to be changed and ready 15 minutes before the end of the event. This will give you time for your last song (4-6 minutes) and time to say good-bye and thank you to your friends and guests (9-11 minutes).

Article Written by Ron Carpenito, DJ and owner of - a Nationwide Web Directory of Disc Jockeys, Live Wedding Bands, Classical Ensembles, and Wedding Soloists/Vocalists.

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