A lot of couples sit down to plan their reception up until about the cake cutting or toasts. After that, it becomes a lot more fluid in the timeline. When you are planning your dance party, there are some things that are worth your consideration, especially when deciding how long things need to run. While there is no specific answer, here are some thoughts our Austin wedding entertainers have put together so you can make sure your reception awes your guests until the very end of your Austin wedding.
Barring special circumstances like guest performances or culturally specific traditions, it’s best to keep things around the four hour window. Even after dinner, dessert, toasts, and first dances, most couple are still looking at a solid couple of hours to dance the night away with friends. Keep in mind, your bridal party has been up with you all day as well, so their energy levels may be waning by the end of the night. Most older guests will stay for a while before calling it a night, leaving a smaller portion of your crowd really raring to go for several more hours. The goal is to keep your guests entertained, not to wear them out. Also, with no natural breaks in the evening after the bouquet/garter toss, keeping momentum becomes more difficult even with the best wedding DJs. Ultimately, you want your guests leaving on a high rather than desperate to call it a night.
An hour and a half to two hours of dancing is about right for most people, but should you have an especially exuberant crowd, consider an after-party at an alternate location. Most venues have strict cut off times, and many vendors charge fees for their staff to be out past a set window. Charging on with your dance party at the venue with vendors in place can rack up a serious cost, and if you’re left with only a handful of people standing you may not feel it has been worth it. Moving to an alternate location can give those heavy party goers a second wind. This can also give you some freedom to expand on your playlist to include music that may not have been wedding-appropriate. You can also explore options for an after-party that you wouldn’t consider for your formal reception like karaoke, arcade games, a more relaxed campfire retreat, or just renting a bus to go to downtown clubs.
Here is a video of a wedding and an after-party we did at One World Theater in Austin.