Grooveyard has been doing weddings for almost two decades and over that time we’ve worked with a lot of different planners, and seen what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes people ask us what makes for a good party. Here’s a few thoughts:
People often tell us they want the dance floor to be full, and they ask us to make sure to make that happen. We tell couples that if they want that,the easiest way to guarantee it is to let themselves have fun (so no worrying about the things people get paid to worry about) and dance! People do what the bride and groom do. If you plant your feet on the dance floor and make people come to the dance floor to say hi/bye/hang out, guess what? The dance floor is more full than if you spend your time either wandering around or standing at the bar. Of course, it’s your wedding, so if you want to stand at the bar, that’s your choice, but just know that a lot of your friends will be there with you, and thus not on the dance floor. The weddings where the dance floor is full are almost always the ones where the bride and groom love to dance.
Have speeches happen after the each course of the meal goes down, that way you’ve got a seated, non-chatty audience (as opposed to between courses, when people decide it’s time to go to the washroom, to the bar, for a smoke, etc). And that way you get the most dance time out of the band. We’ll take our breaks during that speech, and when it’d done, we’ll get people up on the dance floor while the servers clear the tables (if you do the speeches between courses, your meal will take longer, because the servers can’t clear during the speech like they can during a band set).
Don’t have all your speeches at the beginning or end in one big block. People will pay attention for a couple of speeches together, but after that they get restless. Plus, if you spread those speeches out (say, a couple of speeches during 1st course, a couple during second course, and usually the bride and groom last during dessert), they give the band a break without needing any recorded music or DJ.