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The Best Wedding DJs Create A Good Flow For Your Reception

24 November 2023

You are marrying the person of your dreams and assembling only your closest friends and family at a world class venue in one of the beautiful locations on the planet! There are people coming to see you get married from all over the country. If you do everything right, your wedding day will quickly become one of the most cherished and memorable days of your life.  And now I bet you are asking. "What do you mean by doing it right?". Well, in this post, I'm going to discuss one of the most important ways to ensure your wedding day is going to be the best day possible.  Making sure your wedding day is the best day possible has everything to do with the "flow" of the day.  Let's face it. The end result of months of planning this day is you, your family, and your guests on the dance floor having the time of their lives.  But, we've got a lot to accomplish before we get to that point, and if the flow of the evening is not designed properly, your wedding day may quickly become a day you'll soon want to forget.

First and foremost, as a seasoned, professional wedding DJ, I highly recommend at the absolute bare minimum a "month-of" or "day-of" planner / coordinator to help you put together a timeline that is going to give you the best chance of having great flow to your wedding reception.  For an informative post I put together earlier this year on this topic, be sure to click HERE.  When we speak about putting together a timeline that promotes the best flow for your evening, we're talking about moving from element to element in a timely manner to keep your guests from falling asleep. I want you and your guests to be on a path of least resistance, and to get to that point of being footloose and fancy free on the dance floor with a drink in your hand and your friends all around you. Every single wedding is different. They are comprised of different brides and grooms, different family dynamics, and different guests. There are so many ways to make sure that the flow of your wedding day gets to that final destination (the dance floor) in the quickest way possible. Your experienced wedding planner / coordinator (please hire one, you'll thank me later) will help you design a timeline that keeps your wedding reception moving forward.

The Best Ways To Ensure Good Flow At Your Wedding Reception (What Works)

Some of the scenarios I'll outline have been seen recently at weddings over the past few years. Others have been observed for years and have been adopted by a lot of wedding planners and coordinators over the years.  Be sure to bookmark this post and discuss some of the scenarios I've outlined in this post with your wedding planner or coordinator. You are going to hire a wedding planner or coordinator, right? Please do, I promise you'll thank me later. Did I mention how important it is to hire a wedding planner / coordinator? :)

All Three Dances Together Upon Introduction To The Reception
Why Brides Choose This Option:
Depending on your relationship with your parents and any situations where 'Step" parents may be involved in the wedding planning, you may or may not partake in all of these special dances. They include the first dance, the father/daughter dance, and the mother/son dance. The these three dances are some of the critical elements that are generally performed during a wedding reception. Some modern brides may choose to do all THREE of these dances back to back to get them out of the way early in the evening so they can get to dancing quicker. 
For some of the Top 80s First Dance Songs, <---CLICK HERE - For some of the Popular Father/Daughter Dance Songs, <---CLICK HERE - And finally, for some of the Popular Mother / Son Dance Songs <---CLICK HERE

One of the drawbacks of doing all three of these dances together is it may seem long and drawn out. In recent weddings, I've seen a lot of my clients opt for the bride and groom to do their first dance after being introduced, then do the other speciality dances after dinner. You'll want to read on as to the precise timing of when these dances are generally performed after dinner. :) Modern brides like the idea of ONLY doing their first dance after being introduced because it puts the spotlight on them.  With doing "just" the first dance upon introduction, you get "one" beautiful couple with "one dance" instead of having 1/3 of the spotlight by doing all THREE dances together. The couples who are not concerned with the focus being placed on them by not splitting them up are wanting to get to dancing quicker.

If Not All THREE Dances Together Upon Introduction, What Else Works?
For those modern brides who prefer the spotlight on them during their first dance, you can opt to do the father/daughter dance and the mother son dance AFTER dinner. In recent years, this has been the preferred method by almost all of my clients.  But when after dinner would be the best placement for these special dances? I'm going to explain how to place these dances into your timeline here shortly, but it involves explaining the placement of other important elements of your wedding reception.

Common Preferred Order Of Elements During The Wedding Reception

SPECIALTY DANCES (Father/ Daughter & Mother/Son Dances)

Depending on the size of your wedding guest list, dinner should run at least an hour. This gives you and your guests an adequate amount of time to relax and indulge in your delicious catering and make the rounds to meet and greet with guests you have not seen in years. As dinner wraps up, this is an optimum time to begin your toasts for the evening.  Lots of my clients ask me who should perform a toast. In an effort to keep the "flow" of the evening going smoothly, the best man and maid/matron of honor are usually the only ones who need to make a toast. Depending on family dynamics, the father and mother of the bride or groom may also want to say a few words. At the end of the day, you can have as many as few people do toasts at your wedding reception. Obviously, the more people who toast, the longer it's going to take to get to dancing, but I will leave this up to each couple.  Toasts at the end of the dinner are a perfect way to kick back with an adult beverage and be entertained by all the fun stories about the bride and groom that tend to be told during this time. 

Need An Idea For Doing Toasts At Another Time?
For those couples who are looking to keep the momentum going in a positive direction during their wedding reception, you may consider doing your toasts during your rehearsal dinner. While doing toasts during your rehearsal dinner reduces the audience, some brides and grooms opts to do the toasts at this time to reduce the chatter so they can get to the dance floor a little bit quicker. Do you need some suggestions for a great rehearsal dinner playlist? <---CLICK HERE And here's an idea that blew me away recently. One of my clients did their toasts at the beginning of the reception before dinner! They were actually done right after the welcome speech by the parents of one of my clients.

Since you have everyone's attention from the toasts, a great time to cut the cake would be after toasts. Make sure this is in the timeline. If the cake is on the other side of the venue, your wedding DJ may need to throw on a song before announcing the bride and groom to cut the cake.  If you need any ideas for the Best Cake Cutting Songs <---CLICK HERE

When You Should NOT Cut The Cake
It is not recommended for brides and grooms to cut the cake late in the evening, like stopping the music after dancing has started. Believe me, your wedding DJ will thank you  bunches. I've seen timelines put together where the cut is cake 45 minutes after dancing begins. The transition from dinner into dancing is a crucial time where your wedding DJ will be ramping up the fun. Having everyone leave the dance floor when they are having fun may not go over well and is sure to kill the momentum of the evening. Would you believe I've seen a bride and groom cut the cake right after being introduced? Yes! Here's a newsflash. YOUR wedding timeline can be anything you want it to be!

So, the toasts are done. And now, the cake cutting is done. If you did not opt to do all THREE dances upon introduction to your wedding reception, the perfect time to do the father/daughter dance and the mother /son dance is after the cake cutting. If you have no other business to tend to on your wedding timeline, these last two dances will most likely be the last of the major elements that will need to be done before the dance floor fills up!. So many times I have executed these two special dances and then immediately ramped the dance music up. Depending on how long your wedding reception is, you and your guests for that matter will be very ready to get out on the dance floor and dance the night away.


There are no hard and fast rules to making sure the flow of your wedding reception is perfect. I just wanted to share some of my experiences for current and prospective clients of what I've seen that works over the years, and also what has failed.  I think the biggest takeaway you can take from this post is to complete all of these elements as close together as possible. When you design your timeline to have these elements get executed as close as possible, you are ensuring the momentum will not because you decided to cut the cake an hour after dancing began.  YOUR wedding planner can help you craft the perfect timeline to make sure all of the business gets done before you and your guests begin to cut a rug on the dance floor. 

Ready To Speak With DJ Mike Bills About Your Wedding? 
Thank you for making it all the way to the end of this post. Planning a wedding can be a daunting task if you are just starting out. I've been doing this a long time, long enough to be able to make these types of recommendations. As I mentioned up above, I strongly recommend that you do not do your wedding planning alone. Hire a wedding planner or coordinator! You'll rest easier, especially if you are planning a destination wedding.  One of my favorite things to do is to speak to newly engaged couples about their wedding. Are you ready to talk music? Do you need some tips on putting the perfect playlist together? If you came upon this page and have not explored the other parts of my website, please click over now Read about my style as a wedding DJ and also take a look at my reviews. I am serious about working with every single one of my clients to make sure their wedding is a success. If you would like to set up a quick call with me to see if I would be a good fit for you, please click the link up above, at which time you'll be taken to my contact form where you'll be asked some basic details about your big day. Then, we can set up a time to talk. I look forward to hearing from you soon.  In the meantime, click on the bonus content down below. I hope that the bonus content that I selected for you does not spook you too much. I actually was reading over it as I was putting this post together :( Yikes. A good read if you need to be reminded of bad wedding DJ experiences.

6 Brides Talk About Their Wedding DJ Nightmares