Why do some receptions flop, leaving guests itching to run for the door before the cake is even served, while others turn into legendary parties that leave attendees raving for years to come? Below, we’ll look 8 ways to make the night a hit for the happy new couple and guests alike.

1. Lead by example on the dance floor

One of the major keys to a fun reception that people will be talking about for years is to get people out of their seats and onto the dance floor. When it comes to dancing, lead by example and be sure to get the groom involved. Once you get friends and family members from their tables to the dance floor, they’re much more likely to loosen up a bit and stick around on the floor for at least a couple songs more.

2. Place a serving area near the entrance

Whether it’s your main bar area or servers with glasses of wine, having drinks available near the entrance area will help set guests at ease and get them to unwind.

3. Check the height of your centerpieces

Most guests will spend most of their time at their table, so make sure that the table experience is conducive to conversation. Make sure that centerpieces are either below or above your guests’ line of sight so that they can easily communicate with other table guests.

4. Don’t let your reception run too long

You should leave a little bit of freedom here (to the extent that your venue allows) depending on the vibe from your guests, but the optimal duration for a “wet” reception is around the 3-4 hour mark, while “dry” receptions are typically most successful if they stay around the 2 hour mark or below.

5. Minimize your decorations with the right venue

Locate a venue with natural beauty in order to minimize the need for decoration. Consider venues such as historic hotels, wineries, and museums. Be sure to select a venue located within a close distance of your ceremony to keep from potentially agitating any guests with long driving distances.

6. Properly entertain your guests

Today’s wedding receptions are more elaborate than ever, often becoming the focus of the wedding day. For an extra special reception, consider a fireworks show, magician, or dancers. Another trendy option is to rent a photo booth. When choosing a photo booth rental service, be sure to ask if props are provided by the company, as these lead to more exciting photos and more guest interaction.

7. Choose the right music set list

You don’t necessarily need to plan each and every song (in fact, many DJs would prefer to have the freedom to read the crowd and match songs accordingly), but if you want to make sure you’re on the right track with a general song list, try the Fun Wedding app for iPhone and iPad. This app contains monthly updated lists of the top 200 most requested songs, as well as the top 100 requested songs for each decade from the 1950s onward.

8. Don’t let the quest for the “perfect wedding” ruin your day

After the big day is over, many new couples find that they wish they’d had more time to spend with each other and with their guests. The best advice is to find a photographer who knows how to work without being seen to capture great candid moments, rather than relying on so many “set up” photos which can take your time and attention away from each other and your guests if done to excess.

Chris Johnson is a freelance writer for Toy Bros Entertainment, the Buffalo, NY area’s premier DJ and photo booth rental company.

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