How to Keep Wedding Guests on the Dance Floor

Discover Beth Helmstetter's top dos and don'ts to ensure your dance floor stays full!

Celebrity wedding planner Beth Helmstetter of Beth Helmstetter Events shares her expert tips for keeping your wedding guests on the dance floor all night long for the ultimate celebration.

how to keep wedding guests on the dance floor all night beth helmstetter events tips
Photo: Steve Steinhardt

There's an art to keeping wedding guests on the dance floor – one that most wedding planning or entertainment companies know well. And while guests dancing at a wedding isn't the priority for every single couple, it is for many! 

If a packed dance floor is one of your top wedding goals, celebrity wedding and event planner Beth Helmstetter of Beth Helmstetter Events, Inc. is sharing a few dos and don'ts to keep in mind as you plan your nuptials and enjoy the festivities:

Bride in Fringe Second Dress for Silent Disco

Photo by Lauren + Abby Ross; Planning & Design by Beth Helmstetter Events, Inc.

Do: Dance the Night Away

Your guests will follow your lead. If you, as the couple, aren't dancing, they will likely follow suit. When possible, say all of your hellos to guests during the ancillary events or during dinner, so once the dance floor opens you can do nothing but dance. 

And while an unpopular opinion, avoiding a dress change for the bride after the dance floor has opened can ensure the energy stays on the dance floor the entire night. 

Do: Position a Bar (or Two) Near the Dance Floor

To avoid guests leaving the dance floor for too long to grab a drink, place a bar or two near the dance floor, so guests can easily just step off the dance floor for a quick refill and get back to dancing as quickly as possible. 

Don't: Leave Guests Sitting at the Tables for Too Long

Having an elaborate coursed-out dinner is a big part of creating a formal affair, and if you're envisioning a black-tie celebration, this may just be what you have in mind. However, when creating your wedding menu, make sure to either work with your chef and catering team to deliver the meal as efficiently as possible or plan to get guests up and dancing between courses.

If you leave guests at a dinner table drinking wine and eating course after course for three hours, your band will have their job cut out for them when it comes to rebuilding the momentum for dancing. 

Bride in Second Dress on Dance Floor

Photo by Lauren + Abby Ross; Planning & Design by Beth Helmstetter Events, Inc.

Do: Let the Band (or DJ) Read the Crowd

It can be tempting to direct every song for the band and the DJ – especially if music is a big part of your story as a couple. However, the most successful celebrations are influenced by your musical taste, while also being given the space to change gears if guests aren't responding. 

DJs can get out of a song within a few seconds if the one they're playing clears the dance floor. Similarly, bands can watch crowd response and adjust their set list as well. 

Do: Place Lounge Furniture by the Dance Floor

Like the bar, giving your guests a nearby spot to take a quick break from the dance floor can encourage them to get right back out there the next time they hear a great song. 

Anticipating as many of your guests' needs right there by the dance floor ensures they never have to go too far for too long unless they truly just need some fresh air. 

Don't: Have Too Many Distractions

It can be tempting to have everything from photo booths to tequila-tasting stations to an outdoor lounge and more at your wedding reception. However, the truth is, every one of those elements is dividing your guests' attention away from the dance floor.

These elements work perfectly for larger guest counts (250 and above) or for couples who don't care if the dance floor is a main feature. That said, if you want your guests to dance, I recommend limiting distractions to one additional element only. 

Wedding Guest in Red Dress on Dance Floor

Photo by David Bastianoni; Planning & Design by Beth Helmstetter Events, Inc.

Do: Schedule the Cake Cutting for Later in the Night

While not everyone knows wedding etiquette to a tee, the "rule" is that guests are free to go home once the cake has been cut. For this reason, we recommend scheduling the cake cutting as late in the evening as possible to still allow guests to enjoy a slice before the end of the night. 

Also, while you do have to slot a tentative time for this detail, I personally recommend playing this one element by ear. For instance, I may schedule a cake cutting at 10PM, but if the dance floor is packed at that point, I'll push the cake cutting back a bit. If at 9:30 p.m., guests seem like they need a change of pace, I'll move the cake cutting up to change the energy of the event temporarily. 

Do: Bring Late-Night Snacks to the Dance Floor

While we love a late-night food truck as much as anyone, having guests order from said food truck only distracts from the dance floor. When possible, have late-night snacks passed on the dance floor or save late-night snacks as something guests grab as they're leaving the wedding. 

Your wind down at the end of the night can be quite fun when an In-N-Out Burger truck is parked outside for guests to order and enjoy before heading home. The alternative of announcing this treat 45 minutes before your celebration ends can wreak havoc on a perfectly full dance floor.

Don't: Schedule Band Breaks During High-Energy Moments

While not always possible, try to schedule band breaks during dinner and the cake cutting, so the energy doesn't get interrupted by a change in flow.

If that's not possible, work with your wedding-planning team and/or wedding band to ensure the music they have prepared for breaks is high energy enough to keep the dance floor going. Or even better, consider bringing on a DJ for band breaks to keep the energy alive all night long. 

Wedding Guests Doing Limbo on Dance Floor

Photo by Lauren + Abby Ross; Planning & Design by Beth Helmstetter Events, Inc.

By following these dos and don'ts, your guests will be set up for success when it comes to celebrating your love on the dance floor all night long.