Once the food is eaten, dessert’s been had and a few special people have said shared their thoughts and feelings about the newlyweds, it’s usually time to party. After all, the wedding reception is all about celebrating the new journey that the couple of honor have decided to go on. While the ceremony is more about the seriousness of making the commitment official, the reception is all about having fun with the newlyweds, their families and a few of their closest friends.
As a wedding DJ, I completely understand that people may not necessarily remember what the food was like or how the room was decorated; they WILL remember if they had fun or not and why. With that in mind, when couples search for entertainment for their event, what they’re really looking for is someone who can help them have the best time possible. They are looking for someone who will execute their vision of what their celebration should be; they’re also looking for someone to engage their guests so that said guests also have a good time. I personally don’t believe that they’re looking for a comedian; someone whose idea of entertaining everyone is by being boisterous on the microphone. What they’re looking for is someone who can read a crowd, choose the right music at the right time and help them along in spots where an assist (whether verbal or otherwise) is needed.
When people ask how I came to be a DJ, I tell everyone that I literally became a DJ because I love to dance. It’s a somewhat simplified version of the actual events, but that’s the gist of how I began this journey. When I’m behind the board, I literally can’t stand still. I can be seen swaying to the music during the slow songs; it’s not uncommon to see me nearly getting lost in some of the songs behind my table during a set; when it comes to the group dances, if the group is struggling or they’re leery because they don’t want to be seen messing a dance up, I get on the dance floor and help them along. I believe that it is imperative for the DJ to let everyone see that they’re having a good time alongside them.
Dead air is the enemy of every DJ. Unless dead air is being used for dramatic effect, it should be avoided at all costs. What this means is that the DJ needs to know their music well enough to know when to get back behind their board to fade in the next song. Few things are as embarrassing as having the music stop then watching every head in the house spin to look at you with shame, Shame, SHAME expressions on their faces.
Group dances are quite popular at wedding receptions. In the time that I’ve been a wedding DJ, I can’t recall a single reception that didn’t have at least one group dance. Whether it’s The Electric Slide or The Chicken Dance, YMCA or The Time Warp, Thriller or La Macarena, it’s a safe bet that a group dance will be a sure-fire way to fill up your dance floor. I generally like to end the receptions that I do with a pseudo-group dance that places the spotlight back on the newlyweds (feel free to ask me about that at some point; I’d be glad to discuss it).
Since I’m in the mood to talk about dancing, here are my Top 5 Group Dances at Wedding Receptions in reverse order.
5. The Chicken Dance
Most people know how to do The Chicken Dance; it’s one of those dances that we learn in school. I don’t see it as often at receptions now as I did when I first became a wedding DJ over 12 years ago; I do dust it off when there are quite a few kids attending a reception. I personally add a twist to it that, when it works well, is REALLY nice to get pictures and/or video of (especially from above).
4. Piano Man
Do you mean the song by Billy Joel? That “Piano Man?” I most certainly do. There are a couple of colleges in St. Cloud, Minnesota that I’ve discovered this song to be closely associated with (however, I don’t know the full story, so if there’s anyone out there reading this that may know, please drop some knowledge on this DJ). In any event, it’s usually one of those songs that is best saved for the end of the night. I personally like to get the newlyweds on the center of the dance floor with the group making a circle around them before I start it. What makes this one stand out to me is the fact that most (if not all) of the men will drop their pants while everyone is swaying side to side and belting out the song at the top of their lungs. If it sounds a little weird, it is. I can assure you, though, it’s DEFINITELY memorable (and, hopefully, nobody’s opted to go Commando).
3. The Cupid Shuffle
The Cupid Shuffle is one of those dances that is QUITE easy to get if you listen to the words. Of the group dances, I’d say that it’s about the easiest to do; once you do it a couple of times, you’ve essentially got it down for life. As a wedding DJ, I love looking out into a sea of bodies all doing the dance as one; few things give me goosebumps like seeing a group dance going smoothly.
This one was made famous by Will Smith and Alphonso Ribeiro in the TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire. I like to let everyone know that it’s coming by making an announcement during the song that I’m playing to lead into it. That announcement always receives quite a few cheers; I personally love those instances where the bride gets into it as well.
1. The Wobble
It was introduced to me at a wedding reception and I completely embraced it. With quite a few of the group dances, I add embellishments of my own so that it’s totally mine. I can’t even begin to convey the joy that I get out of doing this dance. Be forewarned, it IS a workout. But then, that’s almost the point.
La Macarena, The Electric Slide, Thriller (though, I’ve never learned how to actually do the dance)
There you have it. Feel free to let me know what YOUR favorite group dances at wedding receptions happen to be in the comments below. Are yours in a different order? Don’t hesitate to share that, either.
Thanks for reading!