Washington Wedding Pros Offer Advice on Keeping Your Dance Floor Packed

Keep the dance floor alive with these expert tips for wedding entertainment.
Written by
Mackenzie Sylvester


Seattle Bride Fall/Winter 2023

Get the expert advice on all things wedding entertainment with these tips and ideas from top vendors in the industry. Find something perfectly suited for your individual taste and style. If there's one thing that is a guarantee, it's that your guests will be dancing all night long. 

What’s your best piece of advice for couples when planning wedding entertainment? 

Integral DJs:  “Their wedding entertainment will have a huge impact on the overall experience. This is the one and only opportunity to create the party of a lifetime that their family and friends will remember forever.” —Marc Matsui of Integral DJs

Orion Entertainment: “Do a bit of soul searching. Think about what you value when it comes to entertainment, and how you envision the entirety of your day. Once you pinpoint what kind of entertainment you want, then comes the interview process. We recommend meeting with at least three vendors, get a sense of their vibe, and get a real concrete idea of what services they will provide in totality.” —David Schwartz, Founder and Marquee DJ

Blue Wave Band: “It’s helpful to have a general idea of what you’re looking for: your venue aesthetic, guest count and what kind of music you like. From there, an experienced band can help guide you on what band size is perfect for your event and can help put together a set list of songs and genres that you and your guests will love.” —David Dawda,  Blue Wave Band Manager  

The After Party Band: “It’s helpful to have an idea of what you’d like the vibe to be for the night and to have clear expectations for your entertainment. Don’t be afraid to ask your entertainment vendors questions about what they typically do or recommend. Every band and DJ is different. Ask for videos of live footage if you can. Meet the owners or leaders if you can. Get a clear sense of who you are going to be working with, not only in the process leading up to your wedding day, but also on your wedding day.”  —Tristin Rupp, Band Consultant and Singer

Seattle Parties: “Couples should consider all the age groups that will be represented on the big day. What your parents and grandparents will want to dance to might be different from what you and your friends will be requesting. This is essential to the success of any multigenerational dance floor situation. A successful party should make everyone from 9 to 90 feel happy and included!” —Sean and Leslie Wheatley, owners  

Courtesy of Blue Wave Band

What are some things that couples typically are unaware of when it comes to planning their wedding entertainment?

Integral DJs: “Couples are sometimes unaware that entertainment skill level ranges from beginners to talented veterans, just like any other profession. The investment into a DJ or band is usually indicative of the quality of the experience provided.” —Marc Matsui of Integral DJs

Orion Entertainment: “Something most couples and frankly a lot of wedding planners don’t understand when it comes to live entertainment is where to place performers for best results. This may seem obvious, but it is vital to the success of your dance party that the DJ is placed directly in front of the dance floor—or as close as possible ... so when we play music loud enough for dancing, people who want to dance can feel it, but people in the back can still have a conversation.” —David Schwartz, Founder and Marquee DJ 

Blue Wave Band: “First, it works best if a couple gives their entertainers a list of three to five must-play songs and favorite genres. Then let the band use that guidance to work their magic reading the room on the night. Second, some venues are subject to noise ordinances or have decibel restrictions, especially if they are in a populated area. Make sure to plan your day-of schedule accordingly so you can maximize the party time and won’t be surprised by an early cutoff.”  —David Dawda, Blue Wave Band Manager

The Afterparty Band: “Most couples don’t understand the difference between bands or DJs that are a family or have a single owner/operator versus ones that are corporations, agencies, or franchises that have a roster of DJs or a huge roster of musicians that they will call upon to do a date. It is crucial to ask your vendors who you will be working with and who you will be getting for your wedding, and if they practice together.” —Tristin Rupp, Band Consultant and Singer

Seattle Parties: “Sound equipment, microphones and music are required in multiple locations: such as the ceremony and cocktail hour as well as where dinner, speeches and dancing will take place. Be sure to discuss the time needed for setup and teardown when hiring your entertainment so that these bases are covered. The company typically has an 8- to 10 hour day, sometimes more. This is all factored into the cost and may better illustrate why pricing may be higher than expected. Hot tip: Feed your crew a hot meal, it’s a long day for them!” —Sean and Leslie Wheatley, owners 

Jenn Tai & Co. 

Lindsey Denman

What creative entertainment and/or photo booth ideas do you suggest? 

Integral DJs:  “Silent disco is a fantastic way to do something different and extremely fun. Older attendees can set their own volume, and it’s a good way to keep the music rolling beyond 10 p.m. noise ordinances at outdoor venues!” —Marc Matsui of Integral DJs

Orion Entertainment: “Enhance a backdrop with LED lighting, mirrors, greenery/flowers or balloons. This is usually not cheap, but the results can be stunning! If given enough time, most photo booth companies can order custom props with your names, or funny messages that will keep guests laughing and smiling for every photo booth session.” —David Shwartz, founder and marquee DJ

Blue Wave Band: “It can take an event to the next level if you have a stage for the band and a designated dance floor. It can make your event feel more like a concert and really allows your entertainers to play to the crowd. We also love when a parent or loved one asks to perform a special song with the band.” —David Dawda, Blue Wave Band Manager

The Afterparty Band: “We love when the bride or groom wants to play with us. We’ve also performed for choreographed dances (be it first dances, mother and son or father-daughter, or groups such as sororities and fraternities, just the wedding party, or even all the guests)! And this may not be for every couple, but we love surprise songs. We also highly recommend props and costumes that go with the ones we already bring and wear if you really want to throw the party of a lifetime.” —Tristin Rupp, Band Consultant and Singer

Seattle Parties: “Having one song request per RSVP card in your wedding invitation is a great way to get everyone engaged and thinking about the dance party in advance. Plus, it’s a fun way to decide on some of the dance songs.” —Sean and Leslie Wheatley, owners 

Laurel McConnell Photography

What song do you recommend for the first dance?  And any advice for choosing one? 

Integral DJs: “The best first dance songs usually come from shared experiences during the relationship or artists that both people enjoy. There is no wrong answer, and couples can choose between a sentimental or upbeat vibe.” —Marc Matsui of Integral DJs

Orion Entertainment: “Some of my favorites are ‘First Time (acoustic)’ by Seven Lions, Slander and Dylan Matthew; ‘From the Ground Up’ by Dan and Shay; and ‘Heaven’ by Calum Scott. People often dread the first dance and want it to be as short as possible. This is the first dance of many that you will share as a married couple. Revel in it. Don’t worry about everyone else in the room. Just take that moment for you and your sweetie to soak up all the energy of the day before your friends and family join you on the dance floor soon after.”  —David Shwartz, founder and marquee DJ

Blue Wave Band: “Some of our favorite first dance songs include classics like ‘At Last’ by Etta James, ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ by Elvis, and more modern hits like ‘Lover’ by Taylor Swift. We also curated a playlist on Spotify with many first dance recommendations.” —David Dawda, Blue Wave Band Manager

The Afterparty Band: “The right song is going to be whatever feels right to the couple. Be it fast, slow, funny, romantic, classic, brand new, an original song, a cover of a song done a cappella, with a string quartet, or some unique way that they both love.” —Tristin Rupp, Band Consultant and Singer

Seattle Parties: “What is your favorite song as a couple? Is there a song that reminds you of your first date, your first kiss or your first vacation together? Is there a song that really captures the story of your love? Did you want it to be a romantic love song or a unique combination or mash-up [starting slow then mixing it up to surprise everyone with a hilarious dance-off at the end]?” —Sean and Leslie Wheatley, owners

Courtesy of Blue Wave Band