Q: My mother doesn't want us to start the dancing until after dinner -- she says it's tacky to have people dance straight through the meal. But I'm worried that the reception will be boring if we wait that long to start the music, and that people might even skip out early. How can we compromise?
A: Often a parent's priority for a party is civilized conversation over delicious food, whereas the bride and groom are looking forward to seeing their friends cut loose to the sounds of Justin Timberlake.
If you're having a large sit-down dinner that may cut into dance time, one way to strike a middle ground is to start the dancing early in the reception, but to limit it to the time in between courses. That way, everyone will get on the dance floor straight away.
Just make sure to have your band or DJ mute the tunes (or at least play soft dinner-appropriate music) when food is served so everyone will be seated to enjoy the meal.
Or, you can split up the music. Have your band or DJ play a little dance-invoking music toward the end of the cocktail hour and before the first course is served; then, have them start the music back up after dinner.
With either of those strategies, you and your mom should find that there's plenty of time for both fine dining and dancing.