The "Anniversary Dance", wedding or marriage dance can be done one of two ways:
1 - Starting with the longest married couples and working your way down to the bride and groom.
2 - Starting with ALL the married couples on the dance floor and working your way down to the longest married couple (typically done in place of the "Garter & Bouquet").
This month I will be talking about Option #1. As with the other "Dance Floor Openers", I will typically do this before dinner as a way to open / start my second set of then night if...
- The first set didn't bring many people to the dance floor for whatever reason
- The bride and groom are looking for me to be very involved, a lot activities, very lively, etc.
- The party / people need a good kick-start to get going
- The crowd is on the older side
- There appears to be a significant amount of older married couples
- The bride and groom are a fun couple, but not exactly comfortable with a "fast dance" in front of all their guests
- A fast song might be too much for the guests right away - I don't want to scare them away
- There are some family "situations" that make the Aniversary dance un-doable.
I will NOT do the "Anniversary Dance"
- If I'm aware of an older relative recently passing away (could be uncomfortable)
- The bride and groom already want me to dedicate a song to their Parents, Grandparents, Aunt & Uncle etc for their
Anniversary (it would be repetitious)
Once I've decided I'm going to do the dance, I have to set it up properly for it to be successful and the set up is basically the same as the other two. The first thing I do is walk over to the B&G and let them know that in 5 minutes / after this next song etc., that I will be doing an activity to get things moving / people up and dancing. I do this to make sure they stay in the room as they are the last and most important piece to the activity. (nothing worse than inviting the B&G to the dance floor and someone yelling out "The Bride is in the bathroom")
Next I walk out to the dance floor, and ask for everyone's attention (it's very important to get everyone's attention for this activity, because the instructions are very important and if you are unable to properly convey those instructions to MOST of the guests, you could be setting yourself up for trouble, as no one will know what's going on.) Once I have their attention, here's my stuff...
"Ladies and Gentlemen, the next dance we'll be doing is called the Anniversary Dance and it's a very simple thing to do. As soon as I start playing the next song, I would like all of the couples that have been married for ***50 YEARS or more, to please make their way to the dance floor. After which, I will then invite all of those couples married ***40 Years or more out to the dance floor, and so on until we have all of the married couples here tonight out on the dance floor. So once again, when I start playing the next song I NEED ALL the couples married 50 YEARS or more to make their way to the dance floor."
Once I have made my way back to my equipment. I start the song and once again announce "Will all those couples married 50 YEARS or more please make your way to the dance floor." It is at this point you wait and see what happens. First off, if a couple has been married for 50 years they're probably old and slow, so give them time to get to the dance floor before moving on to the the next group (40 years). Secondly, if you only get a few couples to come to the dance floor, it's time to lay a little of your showmanship on the crowd and create one of those moments that separate you from the average DJ. If I get 5 couples or less out to the dance floor, I once again take mic in hand and make my way to the floor. I walk over to one of the couples, politely lean in and ask them (off the mic) "how long have you been married?". I then get on the mic and announce "Ladies and Gentlemen ...54 years, how about a nice round of applause." I then do this for every other couple on the dance floor (hopefully picking the longest married couple last). By doing this little bit of showmanship you are
1 - Creating a very special moment
2 - Honoring some special people (typically the B&Gs parents, grandparents etc.)
3 - Grabbing everyone's attention and guaranteeing that the rest of the married couples will participate
4 - Showcasing your talent (trust me, if done right, they'll know who you are)
Once done with this step, I move off the floor back to my equipment and announce "And now L&G all of the couples married 40 years or more, please make your way to the dance floor" and so on until you have everyone on the floor. Here's the order in which I proceed
1 - 50 years or more
2 - 40 years or more
3 - 30 years or more
4 - 20 years or more
5 - 10 years or more
6 - 5 years or more
7 - more than 1 year
8 - more than a day
9 - "all those couples married today, please make your way to the dance floor" (obviously the B&G, and usually accompanied by a round of applause without asking)
10 - "and last but not least all of those couples who feel like they're married, are fooling around, can't stand each other" etc (pick one or make up your own little funny punch line)
Once the song is over, I kick into one of the classic wedding dance songs, because you have old and young people on the dance floor and you want to keep them there.
Some quick little notes and thoughts about the song and starting point. I always use the 5 minute version of "Always and Forever" for my Anniversary Dance, because the song is a classic known by young and old alike and I need a good 5 minutes to pull this off properly. While the song you choose is not as important, the length is. You cannot do this properly in 3 1/2 minutes, especially if you do the part where you walk out to the dance floor and honor the first few couples on the floor. As for the starting point I used "50 Years" as an example, but I have started as low as "30 Years", it all depends on the crowd. Before you start, take a look around the room, if it doesn't look like anyone there has been married for 50 years, back up a little. Better to be safe than start your dance with nobody moving.
Make it your own and make it work. The B&G will be happy, the guests will be impressed and everybody will be dancing. And what did you do? Nothing more than take the initiative and play a song