1. Music should be playing at a volume where your guests can still have conversations
This is one of the things my couples bring up time after time. Some of their guests say that every time they go to a wedding the music is so LOUD that they can't hear themselves think, much less have a conversation with their cousin who they haven't seen in 5 years!
I get it, and that's why the first priority at every cocktail hour and dinner should be to keep the music at the right volume. You can turn it up later for dancing.
2. This is a great time for songs that don't translate so well to the dance floor
We all love songs that aren't the best for dancing. And this goes for me too. A lot of the music that I listen to at home is chill music or something rare that wouldn't make anyone run to the dance floor. So cocktail hour and dinner are great times for that kind of music.
Important tip: Don't play a lot of slow songs at dinner! Often by the time your guests sit down to eat, they have been through a 30 to 45 minute ceremony under the sun and had (at least) two cocktails. I have seen people fall asleep during dinner - so keep it upbeat for the most part.
3. Get creative
Like it or not, the dance portion of your reception isn't always the best time to get very creative with the music because people usually don't dance to music they don't know. So cocktail hour and dinner are a great time to have your DJ get creative. •
4. A mic should be provided for speeches and toasts
Speeches often happen during dinner. The music should be completely turned off and your guests can stand by the couple's table while they speak or stand right at their seat.
5. Special dances can be done before or after dinner
If you choose to do a first dance, parent dances or a traditional dance like the Hora, you can do them whenever you want during the night. It's best not to do them too late, because shortly after dinner some guests go back to their hotel. •
6. Ask your DJ (me)! “He is incredibly knowledgeable about all genres of music. I didn't even have to give him much direction .. just told him a few genres we liked and a few songs and he made it happen.” Nate S., Jericho, NY