As most wedding planners know, incredible wedding music is key to a successful wedding. To ensure the wedding reception music makes a great wedding even better, planners should be sure to avoid the following pitfalls:
1. Don't place the DJ or band anywhere but directly next to the dance floor. It's important that a band be able to interact and make eye contact with the guests, and a DJ needs to be close enough to the dance floor to avoid any sound delays and be able to mix music. Separating the entertainment from the dance floor impedes both.
2. Avoid choosing wedding music that's too theme-specific or one-note (pun intended!). In an effort to carry out their client's carefully selected theme, planners sometimes select a band -- or ask a DJ to play songs -- that enhances that theme, to the overall detriment of the event. For example, tons of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin music may seem ideal for a "Rat Pack" style reception, but it won't inspire guests to want to stick around and dance. Similarly, for most groups, a flamenco band would be a fun and festive idea for a one or two music sets, but may quickly become tiresome after much longer. It's better to choose a more versatile music option that can work with, but isn't stuck in, the preferred style.
3. Don't schedule special dances to take place during dinner. Sometimes, in the interest of efficiency (or the attitude that "no one pays attention anyway"), a planner will have the first dance, father daughter dance, or mother son dance announced during the meal. This is awkward for everyone. Guests should be able to converse and eat, and more importantly, the people dancing deserve the respect of not hearing knives scraping plates and people talking during their special moment. It's much better to save the special dances for just after the dinner service, before the dance floor is opened for guests.
4. Avoid breaking up the dinner service with dance sets. Aside from being a catering team's nightmare (and most certainly affecting the quality and temperature of the meal), this kind of interruption is confusing to guests, who aren't accustomed to this style of timeline. The event will run more smoothly when dinner service is streamlined and the dancing takes place after the meal. The exception to this rule would be weddings in some parts of New York and New Jersey, where guests and caterers alike expect that dancing will take place between dinner courses.
5. Don't spread out the formalities over the course of the evening. Sometimes planners like to schedule one of the traditional wedding events every 20 minutes or so. This is a problem for a couple of reasons. First, the dance floor has to be cleared every time a formality takes place, which detracts from the guests' enjoyment. Second, the bride and groom may not enjoy their dancing, conversations or photos with guests being constantly interrupted. It generally works much better to stack several traditional events back to back. For example, have the father and daughter dance immediately precede the mother and son dance, and later, stack the cake cutting, bouquet toss and garter toss.