5 Reception Tips from a Wedding DJ

While the ceremony is arguably the most important part of your wedding day (the reason we’re all gathered here today) but let’s talk about where you’re going to be spending most of your time, money, and energy… the reception! There is nothing worse than looking out on the dance floor and just seeing a few awkward cousins side-stepping to the hits of the 90's. We chatted with our DJ and party-starting-extraordinaire Mike, to get some tips and wedding reception advice on how to make your dance floor packed and your reception unforgettable!

A bride is dancing with guests at her wedding reception.

Choosing The Music For Wedding Reception

1. Don’t be Afraid of Slow Songs

Despite what most middle school dances led you to believe, slow songs get people on the dance floor! It is a chance for all of the couples to enjoy a moment together, and for you both to get a break from the craziness of the day. Maybe Aunt Sandy won’t be up for the Cha Cha Slide, but she would be willing to put on those dancing shoes for a little Frank Sinatra.

A bride and groom are pictured dancing with twinkling lights on the edge of the photo

2. You Can’t Go Wrong with JT

While it doesn’t necessarily have to be the beats of Justin Timberlake, although highly recommended, a sure-fire way to get the crowd going after a bit of a lull is to play the favorites! You and your fiancé may have specific taste in music, and some don’t like the radio hits played nonstop, but a few (maybe slightly cheesy) songs can get the party going and get your guests dancing. If all else fails, a little Don’t Stop Believin’ always brings everyone together.

Three bridesmaids in red dresses dance during a reception.

3. Break Up the Night with Some Games

Again, another slightly cheesy move, but it works! Give your guests’ feet a break from dancing and have your DJ facilitate a game for everyone. Some crowd favorites we’ve come by are the shoe game, trivia, and even the dollar dance. This can get some of the kids, or people who aren’t comfortable dancing involved in the reception festivities.

A bride and groom are sitting down while holding a gold flipflop in the air

4. Kids are the Ultimate Ice Breakers

When the night is just starting out, sometimes people can be a bit hesitant to be the first on the dance floor. You know who doesn’t care about that? Kids! If you have a few kiddos at your reception, play some songs that they will know (a little Let it Go anyone?) to get the dancing started.

Kids hold onto each other going around a dance floor in a line

5. Make Sure You Have a Wedding DJ

Not all DJs are created equal. DJing at a prom or a local club is a completely different game than playing at a wedding. At Bellagala, all of our DJs are specifically wedding trained, so they know how to keep the night as seamless and fun as possible for you and your guests. Because as we know by now, it takes a lot more than pushing play to keep a party going

A DJ is behind his equipment at a wedding reception


Your wedding entertainment is every bit as important as the dress, the flowers, and the cake. When it comes time for your reception, your DJ truly runs the show and makes sure that everything is running on time and in the right order. Here are 5 questions to ask a DJ for your wedding to ensure a celebration that will live up to everyone's expectations.


A wedding DJ does a lot to make sure the evening goes smoothly. If they are in charge of wedding reception music list for your ceremony, they will most likely also be in charge of all microphones, speakers, and other additional equipment. Make sure they will provide all that necessary AV equipment (especially for outdoor ceremonies). We'd hate for your guests to miss out on your vows because they couldn't hear! 

Like we said before, your DJ pretty much controls the flow for the remainder of the evening. Ask what kind of playlists they have for cocktail hour, and what exactly they'll all do throughout the evening. Do they have a designated MC, or will your DJ also do all of the announcing? Are you thinking of doing a final dance at the end of the night? Double check that your DJ will be able to accommodate this. Will there be a backup DJ on call just in case? Although DJs do a lot to give you the best reception possible, the way they do this varies depending on the company. 


The musical taste of your wedding DJ is without a doubt one of the most important elements. If your DJ is super into heavy metal, and prefers to only play that style of music, you better prep for that. If you'd rather not take the risk, ask your DJ what their personal taste is, and what their favorite type of music to play at weddings is. This will help determine weather or not they are a good fit for your wedding reception. 

Another key thing to ask your DJ is if they have a "do not play list." We all have those songs that make us cringe a little every time we hear them...especially at weddings. You'll want to make sure that your DJ notes those songs, and makes sure they aren't played on your special night. If they do have a "do not pay list," then ask what they'll do when someone requests that specific song. This answer will show the professionalism of your wedding DJ. Nobody wants Aunt Karen getting upset because your DJ won't play the chicken dance! 

Your grand entrance into the reception is a big moment, and believe it or not there are many different ways of going about this. Do you want it to feel like a sports event, or more of a casual announcement? Ask your DJ how they typically coordinate the grand entrance, and what their MC style looks like. 


One of every couple's worst nightmares...an empty dance floor at their wedding reception. Only the best DJs know how to pump up the crowd with perfect wedding reception playlist and get everyone back on the dance floor. Ask your DJ what they would do in that situation, but cut them a little slack on this answer. After all, no group is the same, and their answer is heavily dependent on what your group is like! 


This probably seems fairly obvious, but don't overlook this question. Knowing how much experience your DJ has, specifically with weddings, will tell you so much more about them. The more experience they have, the more adaptable they are to unique situations because odds are, they've dealt with it once before. They will also have more knowledge about the best equipment, and reception flow. Extra bonus, the more experience they have, the more reviews they'll have (which means you get to learn more about them from other couples). Another benefit of a wedding DJ with more experience is that they have probably worked at your venue before. It takes a lot of stress off of you to know that they know exactly where to go, and what they need to bring. 


Do they like to end the night with a song request? Do they have you decide on the final song ahead of time? Ask your DJ how they prefer to end the night! You'll know if their style blends with how your group would like to end the night, and you'll also get some intel on how they'll help get people out the door. Your reception has to end at some point, and your DJ will be a big help in getting guests out of the venue before your rental time is up.