1- Hire an experienced DJ
There is no way around it. This is #1 on the list because the music is an essential part of your wedding reception, and can make the difference between a pleasant evening and an epic dance party. A professional full time DJ will be well versed in all different styles and genres of music, will skillfully read the crowd and seamlessly transition from one song to the next, keeping the energy up and your dance floor full. You want a DJ who will perform for you and cater to your tastes and the music YOU love, while filling in the gaps with just the right song at the right moment. If you want your guests to keep talking about what a great night they had months later, you will need a DJ who knows his stuff and will work with you to create the best darn soundtrack you’ve ever heard.
2- Take care of the Kiddos
Set up a kids-only area (bonus if it’s in a spot that’s visible from the dance floor), where the little guys can hang out, eat some snacks, play boardgames, do some simple crafts, or watch a movie. This will keep the kids happy and the parents can do a quick run-by in every few songs to check-in. There are some great ideas on Pinterest for Kids Tables, have a look for some unique ideas.
3- Create a Lounge Area
It’s not just the kids that need a space to chill. Set up a lounge area where guests can take a break and have a chat without missing out on the great music and energy on the dance floor. A few comfy chairs, a sofa or two, some decorative cushions and voila!
4- Provide refreshments
Your guests will be dancing up a storm and will likely be parched from all the jumping, robot-ing and whipping-it. Instead of having them all head straight for the bar for some re-hydration, check into setting up a beverage station with a few self-serve drink dispensers with a variety of flavored water. Not only will this be a refreshing treat for your guest, but it might even help your final bar tab. Win!
5- Be prepared
You really don’t want to have to worry about anything other than bustin’ a move during your reception, so it’s a good idea to confirm as much as you can ahead of time. Ask your Wedding Coordinator or Venue Manager in advance if it will be possible to extend the party should you choose to do so, and what the hourly cost will be for the venue, bar staff and entertainment. Let your DJ know if you are cool with guests making song requests or if there is something that you absolutely don’t want to hear. Make sure that the venue staff can help you arrange for transportation for any guests that will be needing a ride a the end of the night. Most importantly, assign someone to keep your glass full- prioritize people.
6- Get Silly
Set up a few games like a giant checker board, or a collection of hula hoops and skip-its. Pass out some party props like inflatable instruments, glow sticks, wigs and accessories. Or help your guests make some memories with a professional photo booth rental. Think of whatever the kids would love and then do it for the adults!
7- Serve a late-night snack
Keep your guests fuelled by offering some yummy treats a few hours after dinner. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just think of what you like to eat after a big night out…..pringles and pizza anyone? The light night wedding snack, called tornaboda in Mexico, is a must-have at all weddings. Local snacks like quesadillas, tacos or traditional chilaquiles were made for late night munching.
9- Plan a little surprise
Just when your guests thought they couldn’t be any more wow’d, it’s always fun to throw them one last surprise near the end of the night. From salsa dancers, to fire dancers, a sax player to accompany your DJ for a few songs, to a full performance from an authentic mariachi group, an unexpected performance is an unforgettable way to end the evening.
10- Think about the day-after
You know that your group is going to go hard until the very end, so show them you love them by sending them home with something for the morning after. Depending on the degree of partying, you might consider a little gift bag with cinnamon buns and jams for an yummy breakfast, a michelada or bloody-mary mix, or a recovery-kit care package. That little extra detail will be very much appreciated after a wild night of dancing.
Looking for some more ideas and inspiration? Send us an email or visit us on Facebook; let’s come up with some fun ways to make your wedding reception the one everyone talks about years later (for all good reasons of course).