Just imagine it – your wedding ceremony is over (it was so beautiful), the speeches are done and dusted (you’ve wiped away the tears), everyone enjoyed a sumptuous meal. Now it’s time for the band to get the party started on the dancefloor, right?
“For a lot of couples, their main concern is whether their band is gonna get everyone up and dancing,” says Quinn McHugh, lead guitarist from the Radio Club Band, which operates in Queensland and performs at plenty of weddings a year.
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“You need a band that’s going to put in that extra 10% and won’t be hiding behind their instruments all night. If guests aren’t dancing, they need to take it upon themselves to turn it around, so do your due diligence when finding the right band.”
As Quinn explains, a great wedding band needs to be more than just a group of excellent musicians, but entertainers who know how to engage with the crowd, break down those barriers, and get the party vibes happening on the night.
The performers in the Radio Club Band come from a wide range of backgrounds, such as jazz and classical artists from the Conservatorium of Music as well as lead pop and rock singers who know how to sing brilliantly and get the party pumping.
“At some weddings, people will be on the dancefloor all night and it’ll be spilling out at the edges and it’s just mayhem. At others, they’ll be on the dancefloor and then break for cake and coffee, so we’ll slow things down,” says Quinn. “Then we’ll ramp it up again – it comes in cycles.”
Quinn suggests couples spend the time to shop around for bands with experience at weddings and have a listen to their work. For example, The Radio Club Band has a regular showcase night for anyone to come and hear them play.
Here are Quinn’s top tips on how to get all your guests on the dancefloor – and keep them there for the rest of the night!
Invite them on the dancefloor after your first dance
Want your guests to get down on the dancefloor? Lead by example and get the party started after you and your new husband do your first dance. That way, even the most shy wallflowers won’t feel too scared to join in.
“It’s a natural progression because you’ll be on the dancefloor then traditionally, the bridal party will get on the dancefloor, along with the parents – then everybody jumps on. From that moment, that’s our cue to start pumping it,” explains Quinn.
Don’t expect a spontaneous disco
It’s important to note that dancefloor action comes in cycles and you can’t just expect people to bust out some moves at the drop of a hat, says Quinn. Generally, the older crowd like to shake their tail feather earlier in the evening and take a break, while the younger generation prefer to take over later on.
Indeed, the band needs to build the crowd up throughout the night, from perhaps some light background music to a build-up of excitement later on.
“Only then will everyone be ready to dance. It’s like starting hardcore rave music at 8pm – it won’t work. There has to be some sort of graceful segue.”
Book a brass section
To really up the ante, consider hiring a sax player or a couple of trombone and trumpet players, suggests Quinn.
“It’s something special that really adds that ‘wow’ factor. Brass instruments look and sound amazing, and they just lift things up to another level. They really have a great effect on the way people interact with the band,” he says.
Whether it’s Whitney Houston, Prodigy or Frank Sinatra, let your guests make requests – it’s a great way to make them feel included. In fact, some of them may even want to hit the mic themselves.
“If we feel that it matches the vibe and tone of the event, we’ll let people come up on stage, as long as the bride and groom are okay with it. It can really bring the house down and it’s fun to have guests rip it up on the mic. It creates a nice bridge between the band and the crowd, like we’re all in the party together,” explains Quinn.
“But if it’s someone who’s had too many drinks and is requesting his fifth Cold Chisel song, we probably wouldn’t be up for it. We have to keep the music quality high and keep the crowd under control, but if it’s worked out in advance with the couple, then we definitely like to have guests perform with us.”
Trust your band
If you find a great band who has lots of wedding experience, you can relax – these guys know how to read a crowd and choose a playlist that will appeal to both young and old. So while you can give your band a list of perhaps 10 songs that you like (and don’t like) as a guide, they’ll know on the night exactly what works best for your guests. There’s no point in painstakingly putting together a list of 50 songs, for example, says Quinn.
“We do commit to learning specific songs and often we’ll be required to play a song that’s out of the repertoire for whatever reason,” says Quinn.
Give your female guests thongs to dance in
Pack some cheap thongs (the shoe version) for your reception and let your female guests whip off their towering strappy stilettos and slip into something more comfortable for the dancefloor. Trust us – they’ll love you for it!
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