The typical bride spends about 36 days planning her wedding and roughly $30,000 paying for it (the cost of an average wedding in Manhattan tops $78,000!). That’s a huge expense for a single day — even if it is a lavish event held in honor of you and your beloved. Here are nine tips to ensure your guests stay until the last grain of rice is thrown, so you can enjoy the revelry to the utmost!
1. Enlist Your DJ’s Help
Your DJ sets the tone for your party. Meet with him in advance and explain the guest demographic you want to appeal to. Make sure he’s got a pre-selected lineup of familiar, irresistible dance tunes. You can’t go wrong with catchy ’80s tunes like these!
Ask him to tease the crowd by promising that wedding classics like Footloose, the YMCA and Love Shack are “coming up soon!” and save them for the tail end of the evening. Last but not least, make sure the music is loud – but not too loud. That’s a huge turn off!
2. Keep It Cool
Keep the room cool by cranking up the AC or lowering the heat. Keeping guests dancing is key to keeping them in the house. If they’re hot and sweaty, they’re more likely to call it a night.
If you’re planning on hosting a big summer wedding bash, make sure to keep everyone hydrated. Providing easy access to beverages will help keep guests on the dance floor. Alcohol is one option, but lemonade and water will quench their thirst and give them energy to party on.
3. Create Primping Stations
Just as sweaty guests will be more likely to head home early, so will guests who feel uncomfortable (physically or with their appearance.) Set up men’s and women’s comfort areas and equip each with chairs, mirrors, Band-Aids, makeup remover, body spray, simple makeup basics, deodorant, hair products and accessories, etc.
Make your primping stations discrete by using movable partitions or curtains, or a separate room if available.
4. Set up Selfie Stations
Place disposable cameras on each table to encourage guests to have fun snapping candid pics for you and your spouse to enjoy later. Better yet, rent a photo booth for the evening so guests can take and keep snaps of themselves. Keep baskets of boas, tiaras, sombreros, sunglasses and other props nearby to amp up the fun factor.
5. Strategically Position the Booze
With easy access to liquid courage close to the dance floor, even your more introverted guests will be likely to cut loose. The further the bar is from the action, the emptier the center of the room will seem, making it more likely people will be to call it a night early.
6. Be Mindful of Your Older Guests
Not everyone on your guest list will be interested in drinking and dancing. Create a comfortable space away from the DJ and dance floor (but with a great view of the action) for these guests. Equip it with cozy seating, pitchers of iced water and a coffee and/or tea service.
7. Satisfy Their Munchies
Even after an elaborate dinner and a slice of wedding cake, partying will probably make your guests hungry. Consider setting up candy or cupcake buffets to provide a rush of energy, arrange for a surprise late-night pizza delivery or even a surprise food-truck visit.
8. Save the Best for Last
If you’ll be tossing your bouquet and/or garter, move these traditions to the end of the evening right before you slip away for the honeymoon exit. Have your DJ announce every 20 minutes or so when these events will occur.
Sparklers are a fun way to get everyone involved if you’re enjoying a beautiful outdoor wedding at night!
9. Consider Hiring a Bus
A major reason guests bow out of receptions early is not because they’re bored, but because they have a long drive home. Renting a bus to transport guests from a relatively centralized location to and from the reception venue will mean guests won’t have to drive as far, so they’ll be able to relax and enjoy the party.
Your wedding reception is the most special, lavish, expensive party you’ll ever throw (unless you’re Jay Gatsby). Put yourself in your guests’ shoes before the big day and think about what makes a party irresistible to you. That way, you can be certain it will be a bash to remember!
Can you think of any other fun ways to get guests to stick around longer at a wedding? Do you have any stories or advice for our soon-to-be married couples? If so, please comment below! Also, our Facebook and Pinterest pages are great resources if you’re looking for more wedding ideas and inspiration. Enjoy the festivities!