How big should a dance floor be for 150 guests

How to Keep the Dance Floor Packed All Night Long

No one wants an empty dance floor at their reception. Here's how to start the party—and keep it going strong.

Pictures by Katie

Here's one wedding nightmare you might not think of until it's too late: an empty dance floor. You've booked the band or DJ, planned your playlist and specifically carved out time for dancing—so why isn't anybody on the dance floor? You don't want to force people to get out there, but, like, seriously, why isn't anybody dancing? Trust us, if you follow our advice, you won't have to deal with this wedding reception dilemma. Your guests will find their way to the dance floor naturally and willingly (and that's an understatement). Here are the 11 best ways to ensure a packed and lively dance floor the entire night. Let the party begin!

1. Set the Mood Early

Cocktail hour is a great time to get the party going. Consider hiring specialty performers. Entertainment like a mariachi band, jazz trio, bluegrass group or barbershop quartet will energize the crowd postceremony and get everyone in the mood to celebrate. Look to your love story when deciding on specialty music: Hire a brass quintet if you met in marching band, an accordion player if you took an unforgettable trip to Paris together, or get a steel drummer in honor of your upcoming Caribbean honeymoon. The main idea is to make sure your guests aren't noshing and drinking in silence.

2. Make Sure There's Enough Space

Small dance floors are too cramped and big ones make people too self-conscious. Here's a good rule of thumb: There should be at least three square feet of dance floor space for every two guests. So, if you have 150 guests, you would need a 15' x 15' dance floor; 200 guests would be about an 18' x 18' area; 400 guests calls for about 25' x 25' of space. Ask your reception site about adding on extra flooring if the standard seems too small. And one more thing—make your dance floor the focal point of the room, not tucked into a corner. By highlighting it, you send guests the message that dancing will be a big part of the evening.

3. Align Your Seating Chart

Seat friends and family who love to dance closest to the dance floor. They'll be more likely to get up and start moving early if they have easy access. And once they're out there, others will follow (some people just need a little encouragement). As for your more elderly guests, do them a favor and keep them away from the speakers. They'll appreciate it. Mind your decibel levels too. You want your friends and family out there dancing, but you also want your nondancing guests to be able to enjoy themselves without having to yell. Talk to your musicians about how they plan to handle volume and accoustics within your reception space.

4. Skip the iPod Idea

You may have the most genius playlist in mind, but there's a reason why DJs and bands are so common at weddings—they're pros at reading and interacting with the crowd, and adjusting to their mood throughout the evening. They're there to ensure everyone is dancing and having an amazing time (so you don't have to). Besides, do you really want a friend or family member getting up to grab the microphone all night to announce your cake cutting and bouquet toss? Didn't think so. If you do your homework, you'll find a band or DJ in your price range who fits your style. Trust us—it's worth the money knowing your guests will be entertained all evening.

5. Don't Limit the Genre

Even if you both truly love indie rock, there's a good percentage of your guests who probably haven't heard of Modest Mouse and won't appreciate it like you will. A playlist made up entirely of '80s dance music, rap or country is the same story. Don't get us wrong, including your favorite genre at your wedding is great, but it's important to include a little mix of everything—that way there's a little something for everyone. Your wedding is a celebration of your relationship—one that probably involves music—but it's also a time to share with your extended family. Keep them in mind when developing your playlist. Throw grandparents a nod with Frank Sinatra and give your aunts and uncles a chance to dance to a little "We Are Family"(unless you're truly averse). Seeing them enjoy the night will be well worth a few minutes of Sister Sledge.


6. Make Music Interactive

Let guests in on the fun by allowing them to request songs via the RSVP card. Or set up a poll on your wedding website and ask everyone to vote on your first dance song or the last song of the evening. You'll have everyone looking forward to the voters' choice song reveal.

7. Create a (Short) Do-Not-Play List

There's no bigger dance floor turnoff than hearing your least favorite song (ahem, "Chicken Dance"). Put together a short list of please-don't-play songs for your DJ or band to avoid. But at the same time, don't micromanage. While your music pro should know which genres you like and dislike, let them figure out the best way to mix the music.

8. Keep Your First Dance Brief

You may have fallen in love listening to "Free Bird," but imagine how long nine minutes and eight seconds will feel alone on the dance floor. (And if it's dragging for you, imagine how your guests will feel.) Pay careful attention to your favorite song's length before committing to it for your first dance. Time your song and practice dancing to it beforehand. Even four minutes can kill you if you're just rocking back and forth. If your heart is set on a certain (long) ballad, try to have it cut down to a reasonable length. Work with your DJ or band to come up with the perfect shortened version. Same goes for your parent dances too.

9. Keep Things Exciting

Surprise your guests with something unexpected, like introducing a never-seen-that-before act. Think live entertainers, like break dancers or flamenco dancers. Time it right so they make their entrance just as the toasts are wrapping up to get all your guests back up and moving on the dance floor and out of their food coma.

10. Serve Dessert (or Snacks) on the Dance Floor

Ready for this genius idea? Instead of breaking up the flow of your dance party, have your traditional cake-cutting moment earlier in the evening, say, right after toasts or your first dance, before the first course is served. That way, guests will already be seated and paying attention, while you'll still be in focused, newlywed mode (not trying to get low during "Shout"). Then, once the party gets going, have your caterer pass perfect bites of cake around the dance floor, instead of serving plated slices at people's seats or way in the back at a designated dessert table.

11. Dance!

Here's the simple truth: The most fun weddings are those at which the newlyweds are having an absolute blast. Set an example for everyone by getting your happy selves out there as soon as possible. Your guests will notice and be more likely to join you when they see how much fun you're having. And when in doubt, enlist your wedding party. Your reception will be a long, busy evening, so let your crew know beforehand how important it is to you that your guests dance, and ask them to lead the movement to the floor. That way, if you do get caught up talking to guests, they'll have your back.

Ready to turn your wedding into a party? Search bands and DJs right here.



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DANCE FLOOR for our wedding or corporate event- How big to go?

When planning a wedding reception, party, or corporate event and hiring a DJ, most clients have visions of a non-stop dance party.

Regardless of what else is on the agenda, the goal inevitably at some point (if not the main focal point) is to get as many guests on the dance floor as possible for as long as possible.

They imagine all they have to do is hire an amazing DJ, and their floor will magically be packed all night!

Yes, we believe it’s crucial to hire an experienced & talented DJ with great room awareness, but even the best DJ can only work so much magic if the logistics of the room are working directly against them.

A common oversight from clients when planning their wedding or corporate event is overestimating how big the dance floor needs to be in the room or event venue in relation to the number of guests.  Another mistake is not renting an actual square dance floor because they venue floor is already made of wood, concrete etc..

If room layout and dance floor size are planned incorrectly,  the dance party can sadly look like this:

At Hey Mister DJ, we specialize in keeping dance floors constantly packed in Los Angeles and the greater Southern California area. 
It’s our specialty, but there are many factors which will help or hinder the our ability to create and maintain dancing.

Room size, lighting levels, guest count, timeline floor, bar & photobooth placement etc.. which all play a crucial role in funneling guests where you want them moment by moment.

For today we are just talking specifically about dance floor SIZE and placement.

In a nutshell…the key points are these:

  • A small floor that is packed and hard to get onto always looks better than a giant floor you can’t quite fill.
  • A dance floor that is too far removed from the dinner area or logistically hard to get to may end up empty.
  • A room that has no dance floor and instead just an open wood/concrete floor is confusing to guests.

Clients always worry about if the floor will be big enough, but if you have guests dancing on the carpet that is a happy problem. In other words, the larger the dance floor the harder it is to keep it full and create the appearance of a rocking party.

Does this look inviting to you?

With these, there is no lighting on the actual floor itself and no perimeter to define where dancing begins or ends it still feels intimidating and uncomfortable to the eye.

Guests need the dance floor area to be clearly defined and separated from the rest of the room so they feel comfortable.  

With this next one, they did a great job lighting the perimeter of the room, but again, the dance floor has no defined beginning or end.  In this situation we’d use pattern & wash lighting to help create a perimeter in lieu of an actual dance floor boarder.

Lighting can help to offset this problem (See our BLOG) “Why dance floor lighting matters” but clearly defining the area you want guests to dance is always a plus and helps draw them in. Human nature dictates that people like clear direction and containment, it’s just how the brain works.
When you have 4 corners it’s easy for the brain to day “I should dance here” but when you have an open space it creates anxiety because the brain can’t map where the space begins or ends.

Now, let’s look at a room that has placed down a dance floor that is the appropriate size in relation to the room and lit it nicely to make it appealing and inviting.  They even used couches for framing and to fill in “dead” space in the room instead of adding more tiles to the floor. Your wedding planner or room designer will usually have ideas on how to utilize furniture, lighting, pipe & drape, and other elements to make a big room feel more cozy and inviting.

Keep in mind that you will maybe have about 40% of your guests dancing at any given time.
Others may be at the bar, conversing, bathroom, photo booth, updating their Instagram, eating dessert, etc.

Our Jewish wedding or Mitzvah clients are usually concerned with doing an amazing HORA (group) dance and want enough space for everyone.  But it’s a critical mistake to build a dance floor that accommodates the entire guest count for only those 10 minutes when we will be struggling the rest of the night to keep it filled.

If during the HORA some guests are on the carpet, it’s totally fine!

One of the most common situations that put clients in this challenging position is when they book a venue that is too large for their guest count.  Once the venue figures out how many tables they need and exact placement, they realize they have too much dead space, so start adding extra tiles to the dance floor to fill in space.  Now you have a HUGE floor that you’ll never be able to fill with enough guests, but the edges of the room don’t look as empty.

It’s ok to have some empty space on the perimeters of the room.  Here’s another great example of a room with a dance floor that is an appropriate size in relation to total room size:

Here is a handy chart to use as a reference based on guest count assuming that roughly 40% of your guests are dancing simultaneously:

#of guests      # of dancers      Size of dance floor

60                        14-20                 10 x 10

100                      32-40                 12 x12

150                     50-70                15 x 15

200                     78-90                18 x 18

The industry standard suggests that each wedding will need 9 sq ft per couple (that’s over 4.5 ft per person).   Example: Let’s assume a party has 200 guests. 40%, or 80 guests, will be dancing at any one time. This means that you would need approximately 360 square feet of dance floor for this party, or about a 16×20 dance floor.

If you figure 40 of 100 guests will dance, then you need about a 200 square foot dance floor. If you double that for 200 guests you would need a 400 square foot dance floor. With 300 guests you need a 600 foot dance floor.  You can see how easily that rule could get out of hand.
(When it comes to choosing your dance floor size, we have found that a 12’x12’ dance floor usually accommodates a small to medium size wedding or event. That’s 144 square feet)

However, you do have to consider other factors like the age of your guests, and how many people you really think will be dancing at one time.

Keep in mind that every event has 3 times of people:

  • Group #1: I will dance for sure no matter what! (The party starters- small in numbers but reliable)
  • Group #2: I most likely will NOT dance (Although with enough alcohol…)
  • Group #3: I am unsure/on the fence but might dance if the situation is ideal (usually the largest # of guests)

This last group is who we should always be thinking about when designing a room/event venue for a wedding, party or corporate event. Group #3 is saying “well, if I feel comfortable enough and the energy is good I will possibly jump on board” so the room must always be setup in a way that maximizes the potential for them to join.

So take this dance party for example:

If you count, there are about 45 people on the floor, and they are clearly having fun.

But because the entire room is a wood floor and there are no corners telling guests where the dance floor ends, they all spread out, and consequently it looks like it’s not a packed floor and thus not as much energy in the room as possible.

Now compare that to this dance party:

Notice that there are only about 20 people on this floor.  Almost HALF less than the previous photo but it appears to have more energy because everyone is grouped together tight because they are on a rental dance floor that has defined edges.

There is also much better lighting in this room which helps add additional energy visually.

To Recap: Hey Mister DJ always recommends having some type of dance floor for every event…even when the venue has a natural concrete or wood floor.   Again, the reason is that the perimeter creates what we call “defined space” that draws people in and helps ensure more dancing. An open area is “undefined space” and often guests feel uncomfortable dancing in such an area.

Here’s a few venues in Los Angeles area we play often that always get the dance floor size right:  

It’s counter-intuitive but when you have a SMALLER dance floor, you are likely to get MORE people dancing.   Now go out and have the best dance party ever!

Are you searching for an amazing DJ/MC for your wedding?
We service the following areas in Southern California:
Greater Los Angeles, Malibu, Calabasas, Westlake Village, Ventura, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, West side, Valley, Downtown, Santa Barbara, Orange County, Anaheim, Palos Verdes, Pacific Palisades and more.

See a full list of the venues we work with often HERE

How to calculate the size of a wedding venue: a few simple rules

Are you starting to look for a wedding venue? Then you have probably already faced the main problem - how to determine the size of the hall or space.
We will talk about a few simple rules that will allow you to calculate the area you need.

1. Decide on the number of guests. This is the first thing to do in order to understand the size of the pad you need. It would be wrong to take a smaller room in the hope that one of the guests will not come anyway - if all of a sudden all the invitees can be present, you will feel cramped and uncomfortable. It is better to count the number of guests on the list to the maximum, taking into account all the "+1" that you indicated in the invitations. nine0005

2. Decide what format the gala dinner will be. At a buffet table, it is permissible to limit the area to 1 m 2 per guest, in the case of a banquet seating, you will need 1.8 m 2 per guest, and if there is also a dance floor, 2 m 2 per person. That is, if you have, for example, 100 guests, you will need a hall with an area of ​​50-100 m 2 for a buffet table, and 180-200 m 2 for a banquet.

3. Calculate the area for the ceremony. If the ceremony will take place in the same place as the banquet, you will need additional space or a separate room. For seating guests at the altar or arch, 0.5 m 2 is required for each guest plus a minimum of 3-5 m 2 for the design of the area where you will exchange vows. The more guests there are at the ceremony, the larger the arch or podium for the ceremony should be, so that everyone can clearly see what is happening. nine0005

4. If you plan to sit at a separate table , you need to allocate at least 3-5 more square meters for a beautifully decorated presidium 2 .

5. The stage must be at least 12 m2 2 to accommodate musicians with instruments and equipment. If your program will include dance or acrobatic numbers, you need to find out from the artists what size space they need and add it to the hall area. In some cases, artists are ready to perform on the dance floor, so a separate area is not needed. And the stage, by the way, can be used for the ceremony. nine0005

6. Do not forget about the ceiling height is another important parameter. For a family dinner, a room with ceilings of at least 2.7-3 meters high is suitable. The larger the room, the higher the ceilings should be. Also, ask artists and musicians in advance what their ceiling height requirements are.

7. The last thing to consider when choosing a site is additional space. This is a wardrobe (in the cold season), dressing rooms for artists, a cigar room, a lounge area, a room for storing equipment and inventory that will be needed during the evening, and so on. The number and area of ​​latrines should also correspond to the scale of the event. nine0005

Photo: Kristina Ageeva Decor & Flowers, Anastasia Dubrovina.

Choosing a room for a restaurant -

In addition to the obvious requirements for an institution by the concept, there are also state standards that regulate the size and composition of the premises for a catering establishment.

Area and its stuffing

In addition to the obvious requirements for the establishment of the concept, there are also state standards that regulate the size and composition of the premises for a public catering establishment. So, according to GOST R 50762-95 "Public catering. Classification of enterprises" the composition of premises for consumers in a restaurant should be as follows: a lobby, a wardrobe, a hall, a banquet hall, men's and women's toilet rooms with a room for washing hands, a smoking room. This is the minimum without which the restaurant cannot function.

According to the law, there are no serious restrictions on the footage of the premises. But there is an established ratio of the kitchen area to the hall area as 1: 2, that is, with a hall area of ​​​​200 square meters. m (in Moscow this is the average) 100 sq. m. In reality, high rental rates and shortage of premises often reduce this ratio to 1:4. Mark Veksler, director of franchising at Brothers and Company LLC, says about the requirements for restaurant footage: "The area of ​​the restaurant should be 250-500 sq. m (or 80-120 sq. m if the restaurant is located on the food court)". nine0005

Another aspect of the choice of footage directly relates to the calculation of payback. As experience shows, the more tables in the hall, the more the restaurant is able to accommodate visitors, the higher the profit. But it should be borne in mind that, firstly, an excessive concentration of seats can have a strong impact on attendance in general, since it turns the restaurant into a kind of dining room. Secondly, there is GOST R 50762-95 "Public catering. Classification of enterprises", which states that one visitor in a restaurant should have at least 1.8 square meters. m or 2 sq. m, if the restaurant has a dance floor or stage. This means that a restaurant with a hall area of ​​150 sq. m should have no more than 83 seats. Finally, when choosing a room, you need to correctly assess the potential traffic of the institution, so as not to overdo it when determining the number of seats. Table turnover is considered good for small restaurants - at the level of 2-3 landings per day, for large ones - 1-2 landings, respectively. nine0005

Selection rules. Fundamental points

In addition to space requirements, it is worth remembering such fundamental points as:

1. Communications. Ventilation, water supply, electricity supply, sewerage are the key points in the work of the restaurant. In the center of Moscow there are houses without hot water supply, there are houses with non-standard voltage in the network, with serious and regular interruptions in electricity and water supply. “In my practice, there was a case when a person found an excellent premises for opening a pizzeria: the place is very successful and lively, the rent is low, and the size of the premises is optimal,” says Sergey Klyuchansky, chef and director of the Capriccio restaurant. “It would seem like a gold mine, but + As it turned out later, there was simply not enough electricity.” nine0005

2. Condition of the premises. This aspect is especially relevant for the old part of the city, since it is there that buildings often require serious repairs, reconstruction or bringing the premises in line with technical requirements. In any case, when choosing a room, you should consult with experts. "Experienced consultants will tell you how much it will cost to repair and redevelop the received premises for the planned concept, - recommends Alexander Minaev, CEO of the consulting and design company Art People Group. - I advise you to take this issue seriously, because this is a fairly significant expense item: practice shows that it is construction and finishing works that take about 40% of investments in the opening of a restaurant. nine0005

3. Heavy inheritance. It would seem tempting to buy a closed catering facility for the opening of a restaurant business: there is a clear saving in the means and timing of the opening. However, in such a situation, one should find out the real reasons for the closure of the "precursor".

4. Accommodation in a residential building. The location of the restaurant in a residential building leaves its mark - additional investments in sound insulation, a ventilation system will be required, there will be restrictions on working hours, there may be problems with residents of the lower floors, etc.

5. Conditions of lease, if the property is not purchased as a property. The most important factors are the rent (which should not exceed 5-6% of the expected profit), its composition and the lease term. The rent includes the actual rent, utility bills, taxes and operating costs (cleaning, security, etc.). Often the owner announces in advance only the rental rate, and the rest of the components the entrepreneur will pay on top of this on his own. In addition, landlords prefer to conclude short-term contracts, and this is a big risk for a future restaurateur: it will take six months or a year to actually open a restaurant (design, construction and finishing work, etc.), another 2 years to return investments, and only subsequent years will bring dividends. nine0005

Selection rules. Location

It is worth considering the special requirements for the location of the restaurant. In the most general terms, 7 basic principles can be distinguished:

Principle 1. The premises should be located in the city center or in one of several promising residential neighborhoods. If earlier only the center was traditionally considered a win-win option, now the city authorities are trying to establish the infrastructure of new microdistricts: large shopping and entertainment centers are being built, the first floors of residential buildings are already allocated for infrastructure during design, etc. Indeed, a huge number of people live in residential areas who want to occasionally eat out. In terms of traffic, such places are very good, and the rent in these microdistricts is comparable to the rent in the city center. nine0005

Principle 2. The premises, especially for a stand-alone restaurant, should be located near the metro: paradoxically, but practice shows that the success of even an expensive restaurant is affected by proximity to metro stations.

Principle 3. The premises should be located on the first floor - as experience dictates, a restaurant located on the second floor, even in the first line of houses, usually goes bankrupt.

Principle 4. The premises must be strictly in the first line of houses. Here you need to be especially careful, because there are "pseudo-first" lines, when the building is the first relative to the road, but is located at some distance from it. And if in winter the building is clearly visible, then in summer dense greenery can completely hide it from the eyes of potential customers passing along the road. nine0005

Principle 5. Active vehicular and pedestrian traffic must pass nearby. It should be borne in mind that it will be difficult for customers of the future institution to get to dinner if there is a regular traffic jam on the highway opposite the institution at this time. Regarding pedestrian flows, it is worth noting that the concept of the institution should correspond to the composition of the flow, i.e. if the flow is formed by students of neighboring universities, it makes no sense to open an elite restaurant here. The direction of the flow is also important, i.

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