Dancing is the norm for weddings and most events. It is a great way to celebrate with all your guests. Dance floors are the centerpiece of your event. It can define the ambiance and layout of your whole event.
Niral Shah, CEO/Founder of Nirali Shah Events, is an event planner based out Houston, Texas. She has over a decade of experience in the wedding industry. Nirali is a genuine and honest advocate for her clients. Every client is educated about every descision they make. Her transparent approach creates a stress-free environment for any bride or groom.
I sat down with Nirali to understand an event planner's for a "lit" dancefloor.
Priya: So first off, how big should a dance floor be? There are events where I go to, and I am huge a sweat ball and bumping into people left and right. And then there are others, where I feel like there is way too much space. Is there a ratio of the number of guests to square feet?
Nirali: First, you want to account for the number of guests that will be dancing. You assume that your fabulous DJ will have all your guests on their feet!
The first thing to consider is the layout itself. You want to make sure your stage width (where the wedding party sits) is relatively the same size as your dance floor width. If the stage is 40 feet wide, then you want to make sure your dance floor is not too much smaller than 40 feet in width. If your dance floor is significantly smaller than your stage, the dance floor will look tiny in photographs and show a lot of dead space.
It is also important to know how many guests you will have at the event. For example, if you have 200 guests and the event has a 40x40 square feet dance floor, your floor will look empty, and guests will spread out on the floor, making your party feel divided. I usually encourage the following: 24x24 for 150-250 square feet; 28x28 square feet for 300-450 and beyond that, you can work with your designer to create a layout that fits in your venue space with your guest count, a stage, and dance floor. Sometimes, with a guest count higher than 450, your focus becomes fitting into your venue- so you have to consider a lot more regarding the layout of seating and stage.
Priya: I never thought about how a dance floor looks in photographs. But now that I think about it, dead space can stand out in an event. So now that we know about the layout, is there any particular area a DJ should be relative to the dance floor?
Nirali: From an event planner’s perspective, the DJ should see the dance floor and read the guests' body language/mood. If a DJ is in a corner and unable to see, he may be playing music that nobody is dancing to and won't know to switch it up.
The traditional setup is to keep the DJ towards the front of the room, a little close to the stage. However, there's a lot of fun ways to work with the setup for a DJ. Some venues allow the DJ to be on a second floor. You can have some fun with your designers to create a unique setup for your DJ. RAOFACTOR creates club ambiance feel with the DJ as a focal point.
We've also done setups with elevated stage risers to get the DJ placed above the bride and groom's stage backdrop, or even hidden behind a police mirror to create a shadow illusion with light!
Priya: I love the idea of a club ambiance. Another concern I always have is the engagement with party guests. Do you have any recommendations to get the party started?
Nirali: There are many ways to get guests on the dance floor. Your DJ is vital the transition music. When dinner starts, an upbeat ambient musical piece should increase in intensity over 45 minutes. This gets to a place where people hear jams that they want to get up and dance.
Simultaenously, changing the mood (turn off the house lights and start dance floor lighting) of the room with the bride and groom on the dance floor will get the party started.
Another way to start off the party is with a group photo on the floor. This gets people up and on the dance floor. Also, a slow dance and getting others to join in is a great way to get guests out of their seats.
Priya: I will have to use those techniques the next time I have an event. What should clients look out for (specifically for a dance floor) before they sign a venue contract?
Nirali: You want to see if the venue includes a dance floor for you (a parquet floor is a wooden floor you usually look at most sites included in your package). Those come in 3x3 or 4x4 pieces that are put together to create the floor dimensions. If they do not add this, you will need to find a third party to bring this in.
Priya: Good to know! Finally, as an event planner, what are your three recommendations to create a fun dance floor as a guest?
1) Be Bold and Take Risks! Use your dance floor to tie your decor together and express your themes or personalities! If you have a sangeet with bold colors and a market theme, do a vinyl print that sets a scene or brings in designs, colors, or LED floors that will tie your theme together. Work with your designer to create a floor design that will be a showstopper!
2) Don't be afraid to play with the setup- If you have the room, think outside the box and create fun ways to engage your guests visually and through experience! Do multi-leveled floors or different shapes instead of the traditional square or diamond if your design allows it!
3) Lighting is Everything!- You want to have a LIT floor! Creating the atmosphere for a party requires lots of light to make this happen. Moving heads, DMX (color changing) and LED uplights around the room, pin spots, gobos (image stocks in design form that move or stay static), and LED walls that have video mixing (where the music video to the song is playing as you're dancing). These are ALL wonderful ways to get your party started and dance floor staying LIT!
Priya: Thank you so much for sitting down with us! Where can we find you?
Nirali: I do not have a website at this time. However, you can message me at https://www.instagram.com/niralisevents/.
We hope this helps! Let us know what you think! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or concerns!