When it comes to planning a wedding reception or party, you should definitely consider how you want the evening to finish. Like the ending of a good book or great movie, it’s always a best to finish on a high and ensure a memorable night for you and your guests.
Planning –As your DJ I would let the guests know when the last song is coming – that way they don’t leave 2 minutes before it! Some couples request a special song or perhap a remix of the first dance. If I’m given nothing then I tend to play something that everyone will sing along to but is still appropriate for a wedding – It Must be Love and All You need is Love are two examples from previous events. When the lights come up I often play a very last slower song at low volume whilst the guests say their final goodbyes and I start packing away.
Have a grand send off – It was a tradition for the bride and groom to leave the party before it’s actually over. Your DJ should announce your departure and orgnise your guests to create an archway leading to the exit – saying your goodbyes as you walk through. Alternatively get everyone outside to form an archway with sparklers.
Thank your guests for coming – Before the last song is played it’s nice for the bride or groom to say a few words and to thank their guests for coming and staying until the end! You’ll capture everyone’s attention before they join you on the dancefloor for one last dance.
Have an after party – Certain venues have time/noise restrictions, so if you know your guests will want to carry on, it’s a good idea to find a place where the hard-core party people can continue the celebrations. Whether it’s back to someone’s house, a hotel, or club, make sure you pre-arrange the location so if anyone wants to continue the fun, they know where they’re heading to. The after party also works if you want to switch up from a wedding style disco to a last club style hour – the people who don’t want that can leave and then let the real party start!
Don’t finish too late – I’ve played a few weddings that have ended too late for the type of crowd, meaning everyone was exhausted and disappeared before the party had finished. Consider that there are lots of older guests, new parents, guests from abroad etc. – It can be a very long day for many people. It can often be an early start for everyone so midnight is usually a good cut-off time, and 11pm for mid-week or Sunday weddings.
Don’t let it fizzle out – Definitely don’t take it personally, but if people start leaving before the official ending time, it’s much better to decide to finish earlier than planned rather than dragging the party out. Bring forward the last song and end on a high whilst the dance floor is still full. It’s much more effective to end on a high, with people remembering how great the party was rather than letting it fizzle out. The best endings are always when the night finishes with the guests feeling fulfilled, yet wanting more.