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  • Writer's pictureSara Ricke

To Dance or Not to Dance

We have had a few couples share with me the question of having a dance or not -- and if we felt they "had a choice!" Well -- first let me tell you that you ALWAYS have a choice on what you share with your guests on your special day -- and a wedding dance is no exception! While they are the "norm" in Northwest Iowa, they are not required -- and you can go so many different directions if you choose not to have the dance! Here are a couple of options that I have seen online -- and some ideas that I have shared with our non-dancing friends!

If you are having the discussion on whether to have a dance or not, here are some questions to ask each other:

  • Do WE like to dance?

  • Do we like the dance atmosphere?

  • Do our friends and families like to dance/will they dance the night away if the opportunity is offered?

  • Do we want the options of a First Dance/Father-Daughter/Mother-Son?

  • Are our friends and family likely to embrace our decision to do something different?

  • Are we interested in offering other activities that align with the way we want the day to feel?

And here are some great ideas that I have seen throughout the years online -- and a few we added too:

two djs in a yard under a canopy guests in background
DJ Chris and DJ Jimy Mac at The Great Hall of Royal

Having a play list/speaker for the special dances but then switching to background music either on your own playlist or by a DJ.

Just a quick aside -- don't discount how a DJ can help your day if you have it in your budget. A great DJ offers a lot in MCing, moving people to where you want them to be next, meeting and matching the mood of your guests to keep a good flow -- and we've witnessed some that have done some creative games with the guests throughout the meal/evening. It's definitely not ALL about the dancing -- and worth a discussion!)

Wedding guests dancing.
Dancing outside at The Great Hall of Royal

Having some ice breakers or fun games that your wedding party can help with.

An example of this -- and a favorite that we've seen as guests ourselves -- was the bridal party teaming up to raise money for their team ( in our case it was Iowa, ISU and Nebraska). They worked the room and had guest throw money into their team hat -- and the winning team in money collected had their fight song played. It was a very sports minded group -- lots of rivalry -- and the wedding party and guests had a ball with all the good natured banter that went along with it!

Having games for your guests to enjoy.

We have seen this increase as people are looking for "things" for their guests to do! In the case of The Great Hall - we have a very generous outdoor space and we are seeing wedding guests utilize this space for bags, ladders, and other lawn games. We've also had a smores station set up for the evening snack -- and sidewalk chalk brought in for the little ones to do some hands on summer fun! I always laugh that minutes after a ceremony a football or frisbee always appears -- and the kids are entertained for hours!

Having indoor games for your guests to enjoy.

This is a new one for us --- but I love the concept! If you've got a "games" kind of guest list -- decks of cards. and some board games might be just the ticket! The beauty of the games is really that they offer a little bit of structure -- where the guests mingle, and visit with new people. As an introvert I am very unlikely to seek out new people at an event, lol...but, add a table playing pinochle and I'm all in!

Having something hands on to do.

Oh this has so many options -- really whatever YOUR interests are! Decorating your own cookies or cupcake stations with all the fixings and an expert to lead the way. Having an artist lead groups in painting simple projects at 2 hour intervals ( think a paint and sip project offered throughout the night). Having a mixologist set up to show groups of guests different kinds of drinks, educate them on the history of them, and show them how to make them.

A few more notes to consider if you make the decision to do something other than a dance:

Consider making a timeline available. Without the traditional structure of a dance your guests will want to know "what's next?" and "what should I be doing?".

Consider adding in times for specific things that you want them to know about such as a first dance if your doing one, cutting the cake, a whole group game/event. That way everyone knows what to expect and they have some things to anticipate!

What do you think? To Dance or Not to Dance?

<3 Sara

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