Floor Plans

When you meet with your site, you will go over the set up of the room, where to put tables of guests, dance floor, bar etc. One thing that a lot of sites do not put appropriate thought into is where the DJ/Band's speakers will be in relation to the guests. To them it is all about the aesthetic of the room when guests walk in.

A lot of sites think it is a great idea to put the dance floor in the middle of the room and surround it with a circle of guest tables, with the DJ/Band setting up in a corner or the side. This is all well and good, but when we move to the dance portion of the evening, the music is going to get louder. Any guests seated between the DJ's speakers and the dance floor will not be able to sit there and hold a conversation. The likely outcome is that they will leave.

The site often doesn't care about this as the DJ/Band are the ones that will get the 'blame' but they should know better. The general rule of thumb is to not have any guests between the speakers and the dance floor, and any tables that will be close to the speakers should have younger guests.

This is nothing to do with the DJ/Band themselves, you can set them up anywhere. It is all about the placement of the speakers. Here are a few examples of poor floor plans.

Figure 1 (click to zoom)

In this example (see figure 1), the site wanted to put the DJ at the bottom. Speakers would have had to be against the wall, as you can't have guests behind the speakers. When it gets to dance music, the DJ will have to play the music that much louder to get to the dance floor, and no-one at table 6 through 12 will be able to sit comfortably and have a conversation.. The best solution here would be to put the DJ where tables 2 and 3 are and move the other tables out. There is room under table 17 for 2 tables.

Figure 2 (click to zoom)

In this example (see figure 2), the DJ is in the bottom righthand corner. There are 8 tables between the DJ and the dance floor; and, as in the example above, the DJ would have to play the music much louder than normal just to get to the dance floor. I saw this floor plan a week prior to the wedding and expressed my concern to the site, who in turn told me that they will set the room up how they want to and didn't care what I thought........ On the day I told them that before I started playing dance music, I reluctantly had to approach the bride and groom with my concerns and after much debate, they were able to get the site to move me to the top left corner and I placed my speakers either side of the head table. This was not perfect as I still had a few tables between the speakers and the dance floor, but it was only a couple and we made them younger people.

The ideal scenario here would have been what we call the 'Horseshoe' effect where they would have had the DJ along one of the sides, with the head table (possibly on a riser) on the opposite side and a horseshoe of guests around the dance floor, which would be moved across so it was directly in front of the DJ . The reason I suggested a riser for the head table is that then you could put some tables of guests in front of them between them and the dance floor, but they would still 'stand out'.

This scenario would mean no tables of guests would be between the speakers and dance floor!

Figure 3 (click to zoom)

This (see figure 3) is an example where you can see the before and after. This picture shows the before. You will see that they had the DJ table top right. I stated earlier that where the DJ is set up is not the issue, it is where the speakers are, so ordinarily this would not be a problem, as you could put the speakers either end of the dance floor. The issue in this scenario was that the speakers would have to be set up directly in front of the doors, which were glass doors. This would not be allowed as it is a safety hazard (no to mention spoiling the view as this was overlooking the water.

Where they had the sweetheart table was up against a plain wall. My suggestion was to rearrange tables as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 (click to zoom)

As you can see, they moved me to where the Sweetheart table was and the sweetheart table opposite, but in a bit from the door (we moved the dance floor a bit closer to the DJ, giving them more room to move the table in from the door) this now meant that all the pictures of the bride and groom had the water in the background, as opposed to a plain wall.... It also meant that the Speakers could be placed either side of me and not be a problem to any guests.

I hope this all makes sense. I stress, it is nothing to do with the DJ/Band, it is all about the comfort of the guests when the music gets louder for dancing. During dinner, most DJ's can provide wireless speakers that can be placed around the room to give a surround sound effect. This way you are not trying to reach the whole room with 2 speakers, which would mean it would be too loud for guests near them, if they were playing it loudly enough for people in the corners to hear.

To explain better how wireless speakers work, I normally place one in each corner of the room on the opposite side to where I am set up. If you click on the link below, you will hear how a guest who was sitting in that corner would hear the music. After a few seconds I turned it off so you would hear what that guest would hear without this speaker (just the two speakers near to me) and then turned it back on again.

Click to listen to sample: