- Creating the timeline that keeps you and your guests partying till the last song -
Couple: We were thinking of starting the ceremony at 2pm and having the last song at midnight
Me: So a 10 hour wedding?
Me: Nobody loves you that much
Look, I’m not trying to attack anyone here lol, but…that’s crazy!
Think about your guests. If the ceremony starts at 2pm, they are getting ready around 12:00, then they gotta drive..park..sit in the sun for the ceremony..wait 90 minutes till dinner..
That’s 12 hours for them. And by 9:30, they're grabbing their coats.
But the biggest issue with a wedding lasting this long, is that there are going to be very large gaps of time in between your events. In order to fill 10 hours, you have to have a long Cocktail Hour (not a good idea) and an even longer dinner OR everything is over by 7:00 and now you have a 5 hour dance which is a death sentence to your party.
It is my opinion as a DJ (and your designated party guy) that the approach to your wedding timeline should be:
All Killer, No Filler
When I first meet with my couples and we talk about the timeline, I always suggest we start with the end time and work backwards. For example- if we end at 11 then:
11:00 Last Song
8:00 First Dance
5:30 Cocktail Hour
(Side Note: If your venue lets you go till midnight, it doesn’t mean you have to go till midnight)
Now- the dance.
A good DJ is not going to be playing songs all the way through beginning to end. That means that you are going to get more music (which is a good thing).
A good DJ will also not let a song that isn’t working play all the way through.
What I mean by that is let’s say I put Everybody on by Backstreet Boys (a total banger) but at this particular party it’s…eh..and the dance floor goes from:
Your DJ should change the song when the swaying starts. That keeps your dance floor from clearing.
Your DJ should also be “reading the room”. What that means is that when a song goes on, their head should be up to see what everyone is doing.
Is that song working? If yes, then head down, pick that next banger.
Is it not working? Then have that next song ready to go (quickly), and get out of that clunker.
Alright, how long should your dance go?
I’d say the MAX is 3 hours. Anything longer than that and your guests are thinking:
"NO MORE SONGS!" as opposed to "ONE MORE SONG!".
You get the latter when you stay in this time-frame.
The biggest problem of going over 3 hours is that it gives people the feeling of, well, we’re going to be here for a while, I can step away for 30 minutes. That’s not good for your party.
My best parties have all been in that 2.5-3 hour dance time.
Trust me, I want your party to be a total RAGER. But having it last too long, really works against you.
Aaron is a wedding DJ located in the twin cities and has been an active DJ for over 3 years doing over 150 events.