This is how every wedding should end, don’t you think?
At the end of one of the best days of your life, you want our loved ones gathered around, singing and dancing their hearts out.
I spoke to Chris Mortillaro of Elegant Event Entertainment this week, who happened to be the DJ at this particular wedding. My goal was to pick his brain about last dances. Obviously, the guy is doing something right. While this is what you consistently get when you hire EEE for your wedding or special event, Chris is generous enough to want every DJ out there to be able to give their couples an unforgettable end to their wedding. With that said, grab your dancing shoes! I am going to share his recipe for a last dance that sends you off with a bang.
1. Picking the Song
It isn't a hard rule, but in general you want to pick a fun, upbeat song everyone knows. This gives your guests the opportunity to join in and make a memory. When I saw this photo I knew the song had to be Don’t Stop Believ’in by Journey. It is hands down the most popular last dance song, and has been now for years. But, there are so many fantastic songs to select, and one that may be more personal to you. I have seen New York, New York bring down the house at a wedding filled with New Yorkers, performing leg kicks that would make The Rockettes proud.
2. Gathering The Guests
It is Jason Jones, Chris' business partner and co-founder of EEE, who gets the credit for creating their approach to a last dance. It begins by foreshadowing the last dance by a quick announcement as the second to the last song begins. That is a good time to let the guests know the last dance is coming, and to stay near so they don’t miss it. This builds anticipation for the event. The announcement will also prepare the couple and vendors, making sure everyone is on the same page and ready. As the last song starts playing, the DJ should ask all the guests to join the couple on the dance floor, forming a circle around the couple. Sometimes, this takes a little coaxing. The DJ will let the guests know the couple needs their participation for this last amazing event of the night and they want them to be a part of it. The DJ may have to interrupt some conversations happening off the dance floor, but guests will soon realize cutting a conversation short was worth it. While the dance begins in a circle, showcasing the couple one last time, it isn't long that the circle should be broken up so everyone can just let go and dance their butts off. This is a celebration, people!
3. Save The Details
Did you notice that I called it an "event”? A last dance can be big. Epic even, if it is played right. That means you don’t want a DJ to announce anything before the last dance about the impending exit procedures. Nooooo. When a DJ does that, it is all guests hear. They are obedient, so they will start gathering their things and head out the door if he tells them to. Early exit announcements will decimate the population of your dance floor every time, as well as create some confusion. The last dance should be an event, just as important as toasts or the couple’s thank you to all the guests at the end of the night. No one should miss it, and it shouldn’t be downgraded to an exit procedure. In fact, Chris mentioned something I have also been noticing also last year. More couples are starting to forego some traditions that have been important for decades. They are skipping things like the bouquet toss, garter toss, and a cake cutting. One reason is that they don’t want to interrupt the momentum on the dance floor. Another reason is that it can be embarrassing for single women to be called out, especially over a certain age. And, many brides just don’t want to be the focus of attention for all her guests as her groom goes up her skirt to remove the garter with his teeth. Awkward! But, whatever the excuse, all the more reason to create a big show with the last dance. And, as the song is winding down, at the very end of it, that is the moment for a DJ to shout out the couple’s names, thank all for coming on behalf of all the vendors (name them because we all worked hard together to make the day wonderful), and then, finally, give the exit instructions and call it a night. Put all this together and you will have a seamless, personal, polished last dance and end to your wedding.