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  • Writer's pictureAndy Przybyla

Dancing on the clouds, Do or Don't?

Pretty much the most common first dance upgrade you will see is dancing on the clouds, but is it best left to the venue to supply or should you go with a DJ because they offer the service?

Most of the Apartment group venues and several others offer "dancing on the clouds" as an upgrade to your wedding. Some DJ's also offer this service. The problem is there are a few types of machine that create the clouds, some better than others and some that can cause issues for your venue. It comes down to a few factors like price and practicality so please read on to find out more:

Dry Ice Machine

What you're ideally looking for is a Dry Ice machine such as a Nimbus. These use frozen CO2 (carbon dioxide) to make the clouds, it is lowered into boiling water inside the machine and rolls very nicely over the dance floor where it stays until wafted away or it evaporates into the atmosphere.

The problem is that a Nimbus is quite an expensive purchase but the cost of buying Dry Ice and storing and transporting it makes this service very expensive. It also needs someone to operate the machine. During the first dance your DJ should be at the booth, using the mic and doing other stuff, how can they then operate the machine and direct the clouds?

This makes the Dry Ice/Nimbus route very much something for venues to handle, they can store the Dry Ice in the freezer, have spare staff to operate it and can buy and store in bulk to reduce cost, leaving the DJ to manage the moment.

Low Level Fogger

Machines such as the Arcus 2000 are able to cool theatrical Haze (which many DJ use already) so that it doesn't rise and gives a similar effect to Dry Ice. These machines are cheaper to run by comparison as haze fluid is cheap and easy to transport.

The problem is the effect may look the same but when people start moving and it gets warmer, it rises and eventually just becomes haze. This is not all bad as Haze effect with a good light show is great to look at but many venues don't allow the use of haze machines (see below) and its not really doing what you're paying for after a minute or so.

I would also not use haze during a first dance as the photographer will still be taking photos and the haze will affect the focus and clarity once it rises.

Why Don't Venues Allow Haze?

99% of the time is a lack of knowledge. Historically DJs and entertainers used smoke machines which tended to set off the fire alarms as the are pumping out - well "smoke". Smoke machines have been phased out because of this and the could also affect people with respiratory issues.

Haze is not smoke, haze is much smaller molecules that hang in the air and can be used to create beams. Now haze might still set off a fire alarm if overused, its not 100% perfect but most DJs who know what they're doing and control it correctly will seldom if ever do this.

Imagine if the fire alarms did go off during a first dance. It's a risk that your spotlight moment could be totally ruined because of factors beyond your control. My advice is unless your happy with the risk, get the venue to do the dry ice or bring in an expert who can perform this for you.

Picking a DJ because they offer a dancing on the clouds service could be a total own goal. The market in now flooded with DJs who offer additional services to increase revenue and its often a mask the fact they aren't good DJs. Remember a specialist really is that - they do one thing better than the rest. They don't offer you Love Letters, Photo Booths, Dancefloors or to sing a few songs.

Thanks again for reading



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