The ultimate guide to keeping your wedding guests dancing all night long
So how do you avoid those quiet moments where guests with sleepy feet shuffle off the dancefloor for another gin and a quiet chat?
No one wants their wedding evening do to fizzle out. We all want to see our guests dancing like no one’s watching, busting those crazy moves to their favourite tunes and having the best time ever – all night long. But how can you plan this in advance? How can you know for sure that your wedding dancefloor will be packed out all night long?
The simple secret to an epic wedding dancefloor is to hire a live wedding band.
Live wedding bands generate the kind of buzz you get at a concert – the excitement, the nostalgia of dancing along with all our favourite people, letting our hair down, celebrating the best day ever and having the most amazing time of our lives.
Our friends at Seventh Second are sharing their expertise with us today. These guys have been packing dance floors for 15 years and their fantastic live wedding bands know how to get a party started and keep wedding guests dancing all night! Their advice also applies to wedding DJs so don’t worry if you’re not sure a wedding band is for you, because everything we’re about to say applies to DJs too.
If you don’t have time to read all of our advice right now don’t worry because we’ve made a handy infographic to share all of our wedding dancefloor advice with you at the end of the feature. Remember to bookmark it later though! This is such a fantastic read, packed full of tips which will really help you to keep your wedding dancefloor buzzing all night.
Hiring a great wedding band is the secret to a packed dancefloor – it’s that simple!
There is something about having talented wedding musicians on stage playing everyone’s favourites which creates the most exciting audio, visual and interactive experience to keep your wedding dancefloor packed until the end of the night.
Before we go any further, perhaps you and your friends are more into clubbing and concerts? If that’s the case, read our guide to choosing between a wedding DJ or live band.
So now you’ve decided whether to have a DJ or a band, that live wedding entertainment you’ve just chosen will keep your dancefloor packed all night – but that’s not all! We have more tips to keep your wedding dancefloor to all new epic levels so keep reading!
Choose the right wedding band for you
First of all think of the music that you love, as a couple. Perhaps that’s guitar bands, perhaps it’s lively pop, nostalgic swing or soul and reggae. Then think about your guests – what do they love? It’s not just the sound of a band which will keep your dancefloor packed: the look of a band, the strength of the performance, their confidence, their experience all combine to create an amazing wedding experience your guests will never forget. And that doesn’t mean a three-piece wedding band can’t knock your wedding guests’ socks off – if everyone loves the tunes they play and the atmosphere they bring with them, it’s a guaranteed leading dancefloor win!
Seventh second have a fantastic guide to live wedding bands which might help you choose. You can check it out here. We’d always recommend booking a band early, but if you need a wedding band at the last minute, it’s definitely worth getting in touch!
What songs should your wedding band play?
Chat to your wedding band when you book them about the songs they’ll play. Give them your suggestions and check out their own setlist ideas to create an amazing playlist which will keep your wedding day guests dancing throughout the night. You can find more tips on choosing a set list for your wedding and in Seventh Seconds’ guide to hiring a wedding band.
It’s a great idea to listen to your wedding band’s advice about which songs to play. Of course you can influence the set list to fit your tribe, but an experienced wedding band will know instinctively which songs are going to work on the wedding dancefloor. So trust their judgement, take their advice and find a balance between the songs you love and the songs they know will keep your wedding guests on their toes!
Below is an example of a typical and very popular wedding band live set.
Example wedding band playlist – set 1
Valerie (Amy Winehouse)
Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
You Really Got Me (The Kinks)
Teenage Kicks (The Undertones)
Dock of the Bay (Otis Reading)
Brown Sugar (Rolling stones)
Stuck in the middle with you ( Steelers)
Sex Machine (James Brown)
Hippy Hippy Shake (Beatles)
Billy Jean (MJ)
Alright Now (Free)
I’m a believer (Monkees)
Everybody (Blues Brothers)
Example wedding band playlist – set 2
Last Night (The Strokes)
Chelsea Dagger (The Fratellis)
I predict a Riot (Kaiser Chiefs)
Moves like jagger (Maroon 5)
Get Lucky (Daft Punk)
Play that Funky Music (Wild Cherry)
I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor (Arctic Monkeys)
Sex On Fire (Kings of Leon)
Mr. Brightside (The Killers)
Sweet Child O’ Mine (GnR)
Surfing USA (Beach Boys)
500 Miles (Proclaimers)
Johnny B Goode (Chuck Berry)
Twist and Shout (Beatles)
Hey Jude (Beatles)
For more wedding song ideas, check out the top 10 weddings songs for 2020 – with examples for your ceremony, first dance and even the last dance!
Hire a wedding DJ as well as a band
If you read the guide to choosing a wedding DJ or live band, you know that you could book both as a genius solution to keeping the dancefloor busy without a break on your wedding night. If your DJ and live wedding band work together, the music carries on, the vibe keeps going, and the dancefloor stays packed out. But don’t worry if you can’t afford to have a band and a DJ. Most of Seventh Second’s bands offer a free wedding DJ service between sets. It can save a few pennies which I’m sure you can use elsewhere! There’s a helpful little reference to the cost of a wedding band here.
Don’t peak too soon!
If the music starts too early in the night, your wedding guests might not be quite ready to hit the dancefloor. Give your guests time to have a little break after the meal, to grab a gin at the bar, and to get their dancing feet ready! If your venue has accommodation on site, some guests will want to head to rooms to freshen up after the meal. Allow them a little time before your band begins to play. And remember to include set times for the band on your wedding timeline – this means guests know when the party will really get started!
By starting the music and the dancing at the right time, your guests will have gathered up enough (Dutch) courage to rush onto the dancefloor whenever they hear their favourite tunes!
Remember you want your wedding party to finish on a high: so plan your timings working backwards from the end of the night. You don’t want your life wedding band to finish too early, before all of your guests have had a dance – so it’s important you don’t ask them to start too soon either!
How many sets should your wedding band play?
Most often, the wedding band will play two x 1 hour sets, or three sets of 40 minutes. After the two of you, they’re the life and soul of the party, so you’ll want your wedding band to play as long as possible, right? We’ll let you in on a secret: the best option to keep your dancefloor going crazy is to have two x 1 hour sets.
How to avoid a lull between your wedding band sets
Tumbleweed on a wedding dancefloor is the last thing you want! So keep any breaks short, even if you have a DJ filling the gap. It’s the only way to beat wedding tumbleweed!
Take your wedding dancefloor to the next level with a superset!
If your wedding venue has a curfew, or if you’re on a tight schedule, a “superset” is a way to turbo charge your wedding dancefloor to crazy levels. It’s a non-stop, 90 minutes of full-on live music which gets everyone up and dancing! Seventh Second love these supersets because everyone knows that now is the time to dance and nobody wants to miss the riot of a superset wedding dancefloor! You heard it here first!
Your first dance
The first dance of the night is one of the most magical moments in a wedding, and that stays the same whether or not you’re alone as a couple on the dancefloor! Have a slow shuffle by all means – we love the romance! – but then get your guests onto the dancefloor, pronto! Some of the best first dance songs start slow (which is perfect for your romantic moment) then turn into something fast and fun which your wedding band will love. Between you and the band you can get all of your guests onto the dancefloor to celebrate with you.
Keep the gin coming!
If you like a tipple, start the night off with a free bar! A little lubrication will help your wedding guests strut their stuff on the dancefloor. A few drinks in, and your boss, your Grandad, and the Toastmaster will join the kids, the Aunties and your uni mates in setting that dancefloor on fire!
Your wedding outfits were made for dancing – now is your time to shine!
The two of you can start the party and keep it going all night long! It’s YOUR wedding day, everyone wants to be where you are – so go for it, grab your flip-flops and bust your best moves, and everyone else will follow. Plus, you will look amazing out there in your wedding gear (for extra impact, add a little sparkle to your evening outfits)! And if you spot a renegade guest hiding in the corner nuzzling a glass of wine, go and ask them to dance. If you’re doing the asking, they’ll be straight up there with you!
Random stuff to check with your wedding Coordinator if you want a packed dance floor
Where is the bar? If the bar at your wedding venue is in a different room, people will sling off. Do your utmost to book a venue where the dancefloor will be right next to the drinks. If the bar is miles away even your favourite dancers are going to get thirsty and disappear to grab a drink. If they get chatting to someone on their way back, that dreaded wedding dance floor tumbleweed might appear! For more tips on choosing a wedding venue for an epic evening do, check our guide here!
Don’t let your wedding band clash with food!
So you’ve already arranged for a nice gap between the wedding breakfast and the first dance – nice work! Now you need to plan your evening snacks. If bacon butties and pizzas come out while the band are hitting their peak, the bacon might win. To avoid your dancefloor clearing, schedule food to fit between setlists. Make sure your wedding coordinator or venue staff know how important this is, and perhaps ask a responsible relative to check for you too.
Will your wedding band have enough space?
A 7 piece wedding band will need more space than a 3 piece, so ask them, and your venue, if there’ll be enough space for them to play. It’s likely your band will have played at your venue before, so they might be able to tell you straight away, or perhaps they’ll need to check if the venue has all the space they need. There’s a great little guide to how much space a wedding band needs here – but do be sure to check with your band and venue too.
Curfews and sound restrictions – avoid!
If you want your evening do to be the party of a lifetime that every guest will remember and talk about for years to come, you need to make sure the party is EPIC. So check with your venue really early on that they don’t have any time restrictions or curfews in place. Sadly this does happen, and if there are noise limiters or silly curfews your wedding dancefloor won’t reach the epic heights you are dreaming of.
Take great care of your guests
Weddings can be a long, intense day. Do your best to make sure your guests have a chance to rest, to eat and drink and have a relaxing chat before the evening do kicks in. You don’t want them sleepy, so get your timings and wedding band setlists spot-on, and perhaps provide a little care package in the ladies and gents loos: anything from deodorant and dry shampoo, lipstick or a face glitter station and a basket of glow sticks will help get your wedding guests ready to dance all night!
Keep the party going!
If your wedding guests are real party animals ask your band if they’ll play an extended live set. If you have a great venue without a curfew and your guests are always the last ones standing, ask your wedding band to play 3 x 1 hour sets. It’s quite common to do this, and if the party is going brilliantly nobody wants to wind things down too soon!
Light up the dancefloor
All of Seventh Second’s wedding bands provide amazing stage lighting so it’s important you let them shine! Leaving the venue’s main lighting glaring can kill the party mood. So make sure the venue’s main lights are off, the band’s lights are on, and your guests will head straight to the centre of the party.
Look after sleepy toes and legs!
Those baskets of flip-flops you see on wedding blogs? They’re for ladies who’ve had enough of heels and want to go wild on the dancefloor. Have the flip-flop station near the party and make sure guests know they’re there!
Don’t be nervous of putting some chairs next to the dancefloor. When your guests want a little rest from dancing you don’t want them to go too far away. They’ll sit out one song and rush right back for the next one if it’s only a few paces to the dancefloor.
Props aren’t just for wedding photo booths!
Start your wedding dancefloor props with glow sticks by all means, but get creative and make a party accessories station for your guests to dive into. Think feather boas, wigs and funny hats, animal masks and at least 20 inflatable guitars for your guests to play with. I promise even the shy retiring types will join you on the dancefloor if they have an air guitar to hide behind!
Chat to your wedding band and listen to them too!
You can read loads more about this in Seventh Second’s guide to wedding bands for hire, but the key thing to understand is that wedding bands are masters at this game! An experienced wedding band will know how the wedding plays out, how the timings work, and which tunes will please your wedding guests – of all ages! Their job isn’t just to play instruments and sing along – it’s to give you the party of a lifetime, so they really do know what they’re doing at weddings and they want to help you pack that dancefloor all night long.
Don’t be shy to ask them questions, and have a really good chat about set lists and timing options so they can design your wedding party and dancefloor exactly how you want it.
If you’re still lost and don’t know where to start with choosing a wedding band, read this!
The guys behind Seventh Second are actually in the wedding bands they promote so they are more than an entertainment agency just booking bands and then leaving you to it. They have all the experience you could possibly ask for and Jon told me his own wedding dancefloor story! He had all of the Seventh Second musicians performing at his wedding with a setlist made purely of dance classics which were modern and classic enough to get everyone up and dancing! As well as the music, they chose a venue with an affordable bar right next to the dancefloor and that would stay open until 2 am so that guests could dance, and rest, and get back on the dancefloor for the next amazing tune!
Need a reminder of all of this wedding entertainment advice? Here you go…
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