Your DJ and Your Wedding Reception

Planning for your wedding reception

For a small wedding reception venues Melbourne as far as I remember the Ascot House Receptions is an appropriate venue. It’s your wedding day, one of the most important days of your life. Your wedding reception may very well be the biggest party you ever throw. It’s important that everything goes well, and to make sure it does, you should have a solid plan. A professional DJ should meet with you and go over you plans, help you pick out music for each “event” that will take place during your reception, as well as agree on how each announcement will be made.


It’s a good idea to develop a timeline for your reception. With all that you’ll have going on this day, it’s easy to forget the details. A timeline will help everyone remember “what to do next”, and will serve as a guide to keep everything on schedule. Without a schedule, the guests might begin to leave before you’ve had the garter toss, or your time at the venue could be up without the last dance being played. A timeline does necessarily have to be extremely rigid, but it’s good to at least have a guide.

Grand Entrance

Once the ceremony is over, and the guests have arrived at the reception venue, the first big announcement is the Bridal party’s grand entrance. Work with your DJ to select fitting music for your entrance. A professional DJ will have a list of songs to suggest if you don’t have anything in mind.

During the grand entrance, you’ll want your DJ to introduce each member of the bridal party, ending with the Best Man and Maid/Matron of honor. Finally, the Bride and groom are introduced, and the celebration begins! There should be a constant building of excitement during this grand entrance, and the responsibility for building the energy level rests on the shoulders of your disc jockey.

First Dance

Each wedding reception is unique, and the bride and groom may want to do things their own way, which more than fine. Generally, however, the crowd energy built up in the grand entrance is kept alive as the bridal party takes their seats while the bride and groom move from being formally introduced straight over to the dance floor for their first dance as a wedded couple. Work with your DJ to pick out the perfect first dance song for you and your new spouse. He or she should have a very nice list of songs to suggest. Once you have the song picked out, practice dancing to the song with your soon-to-be spouse ahead of time. All eyes will be on you, and although you don’t have to be Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, you’ll want to be able to do more than sway side-to-side for your guests. Take some dancing lessons if you feel especially uncomfortable with it.

Meal Service

After the couple’s first dance, it’s time to serve the meal. If not handled properly, and your reception has a large number of guests, this can become very confusing with a long line of guests waiting to eat. Your DJ can help maintain an orderly, manageable line, while entertaining your guests. For example, the DJ can work with the couple ahead of time to build a list of trivia that can be used as a means to “release” tables of guests to the buffet line. Another idea is to have a slide show prepared that the DJ can project, along with a sound track to keep those waiting entertained, and the DJ can again control which tables go in an orderly fashion to the buffet.

Cake Cutting

The traditional cutting of the cake is a highly anticipated traditional part of the wedding reception. The cake cutting is meant to symbolize the first time the couple breaks bread together as husband and wife. The scheduling of the cake cutting during the reception is up to the preference of the new couple, but it can take place any time after the meal has been served. My suggestion is to have the cake cutting shortly after most everyone is through eating the meal. The allows for all of the food portion of the reception to be covered before the garter toss, bouquet toss, and special dances begin. Work with you DJ during the planning stage to decide what song(s) you would like to have played during the cake cutting. Popular songs for this portion of the reception mention sugar or sweet in the lyrics. A couple of good examples include “Sugar Sugar” and “Pour Some Sugar on Me”. Your DJ should make an announcement that the time for cake cutting has arrived, and encourage everyone to grab their cameras and gather around the cake to watch the couple.

Bouquet Toss

An interesting fact about the bouquet toss at American weddings is that it sprang from a tradition slightly more sinister. Long ago even a small piece of the bride’s clothing was considered to be lucky, so wedding guests would literally tear the bride’s dress to gain their own lucky scrap. As a means of escaping the clutches of the eager guests, brides began to toss their bouquets in order to distract them. As we know, the woman who catches the bouquet is believed to be the next to get married. Your DJ should work with you to select a song to play during the bouquet toss, and should make an announcement, calling all of the single ladies to the dance floor. You might also have the DJ call out “1-2-3” or “3-2-1”, etc., as the bride is making her throw.

Garter Toss

Another time-honored wedding reception tradition is the garter toss. The bride should wear two garters; one to keep as a memento and the other to throw at the reception. Both garters should be worn on the right leg, just above the knee. The garter toss should take place immediately after the bouquet toss. A chair should be brought to the middle of the dance floor, where the groom will remove the garter, usually with his hands, but sometimes with his teeth. The garter removal is usually accompanied by a sexy or funny tune of some type, almost always to get a laugh from the crowd. Examples are “Striptease”, “Oh Yeah”, and “Can’t touch this”. Your DJ should be able to make some suggestions and work with you to pick the perfect song.

Once the garter has been removed, it’s time for the actual toss. The groom throws it backwards over his shoulder to the single male guests, who the DJ has called to the dance floor at the beginning of the garter toss event. As with the bouquet, the male guest who catches the garter is thought to be the next to be married. According to tradition, he is supposed to place the garter on the right leg of the single female guest who caught the bouquet.

Father-Daughter Dance

After the meal is over, and a bit of visitation has been had, it’s time for the Father-Daughter dance. This is a very special dance for the bride and her father. Your DJ should be able to work with you to find a song that will warm hearts and bring tears to many (good tears that is).

Mother-Son Dance

Like the Father-Daughter dance, this one will pull at the heart strings. The Mother-son dance isn’t as common, but is included in quite a number of modern-day weddings.

Just as with the couple’s first, these dances should be practiced as all eyes will be on the dance floor.

Money Dance

The money dance is a traditional dance that some couples like to include in their wedding reception. The money dance, sometimes called the “dollar dance” is intended to help the bride and groom financially and to wish good fortune upon their marriage. The way the dance works is the guests make an offering for the opportunity to dance with the bride or groom. The money is normally pinned to the bride or grooms clothing, or a sash if preferred. Sometimes rather than pinning money to the bride or groom’s clothing, the maid of honor and best man will collect the money using a boot or other collection vessel. Your DJ should announce the money dance, explain what it’s all about and how it works, and play the songs that the couple has picked out for this dance. The money dance should be allowed to run until willing dancers have dwindled down and the bride and groom finish things off dancing together. The money dance should take place directly after the special dances listed above and before the dance floor is opened up to everyone.

Last Dance

To let the guests know it will soon be time to get ready to line up and see the bride and groom off, the end of the reception is signified by the last dance. Work with our DJ to select a very special song as this last dance will be the big your party’s big finish. The DJ will announce the last dance, and the bride and groom take the dance floor alone. Again, it’s a good idea to practice dancing before the reception.

Once your plan and timeline is completed, your DJ should supply you with a printed copy of your plan that you can share with the venue, caterer, photographer, cake baker, etc. It’s a good idea that everyone involved is fully aware of what will happen and when. Again, the timeline doesn’t have to be followed to the minute, but you’ll be glad you prepared a schedule when it’s all over and nothing was missed.

Ross Henning is the Owner / DJ for Tunes 4 My Party Professional DJ service in Houston, TX. If you would like to hire a professional, reputable DJ in the greater Houston, TX area, please consider Tunes 4 My Party Professional DJ Entertainment and Lighting service.  We specialize in Weddings, Corporate Events, School Dances, and Parties. We are also extremely creative and can assist with event planning. Visit our website at, or give us a call at 281-846-2799.

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