I have been DJing for a good number of years now and I think there has slowly been a shift in expectations and what people require. I'm not saying these are either good or bad but they are there. One thing I have noticed possibly since the 24 hour drinking licencing is that people are turning up later and wondering why the party ends sooner than they expect.
So what can we do about it...
Well Outside of of just booking a party for longer assuming most venues would be happy with that arrangement is to apply some better time management.
Borrowing some lessons from Wedding Receptions is to get any ceremony out of the way early in the event. So It's probably best to get the food and cutting of the cake or indeed any speeches done (If you are having speeches) etc.
and it relates to pacing and enjoying the night from start too finish here are my reasons why:
• It keeps a nice flow to the party.
• Your guests aren't getting bored waiting for things to happen.
• Your guest get to eat fresher food not sandwiches with turned up edges by 9:30 pm.
• Rather than stopping the party to blow out candles or do a speech it keeps the dance floor fuller for longer - You see to fill a dance floor usually it's build up you can't go from 0 to 100 mph without doing 1-99 mph in-between at some point. So in my experience there is no magic bullet song and it takes a some time to get people in the mood, if you open the food for example at 9:30 pm it might be 11:00 pm till everyone is ready to dance and by then the party could stop (depending on the venue) between 11:30 pm & Midnight. That's not a lot of party time. Also stopping the party to do a speech could start the process over all over again. So a good example is say I get a dance floor going by 10:30 pm and 10:45 pm you decided to give a speech, well it ruins the momentum of the party and maybe I can't get them dancing again until 11:30 pm.
So what's a good example of a time line?
I'd say assuming a 7:00 pm to midnight party I would go:
7:00 pm Party Starts
7:30 pm Hopefully the majority of your guests have arrived
7:45 pm-8:15 pm open the buffet
8:30 pm-8-45 pm Blow candles out on cake (maybe cut it and serve it as pudding) follow this up with any speeches whilst everyone is seated and settled
9:30 pm The Dancers should be getting ready to dance by this point roughly,
giving two & half hours dancing rather than half an hour.
Are there any cons?
Unfortunately yes there are, one is people are just arriving to parties later & later I'm not sure there is anything anyone can do about this. This is due to shyness sometimes of being one of the few people in the room or maybe some kind of crisis happens a lot of times people aren't late to upset you. It can affect the overall party however maybe I would suggest don't let late comers dictate your party too much and learn when to just let it go in that matter, do try to make late comers welcome too.
The other I have noticed depending on the crowd there can be a mass exodus of people after the meal, maybe they have kids or dogs to get back to, or maybe they just don't want to be around party music (I do try to give a conversation area for these types of people using the correct speakers for the job but it does happen), it depends what the individuals intention was always going to be, and it's not necessarily about you as the host or me as the DJ. Obviously a mass exodus can kill a party, maybe check how many guests have other obligations or offer a quiet space for more sensitive audiences where they can catch up and chat in peace.
This is just a guide to give you an an informed opinion that I would consider when planing a party, and maybe you will want to adjust it depending on how well your guests are likely to react the biggest experience I have is no two parties are alike.