The band and venue
A ceilidh needs organising well in advance. If you want to book a quality band with a caller (the person who instructs and shouts out the moves) and if you want to book a venue, it’s worth making sure you give yourself enough time. For some, a good old-fashioned church hall is just the thing, with plastic cups (filled with industrial-strength squash), but you may feel it is more appropriate and attractive to guests if you hire a more established venue with a bar (something like a social club function room or Civic Centre hall). Depending on the time of year, you could advertise and style the event as a ‘winter warming’ evening, or a more family-orientated event in the early evening, with tea for kids, or a fun summer Saturday night.
It’s amazing the range of people who are interested in ceilidhs. It’s important that any fliers, adverts or social media posts give clear details about what will happen at the event and also that there will be a talk about the Christian faith. You don’t want people to be taken by surprise or feel tricked into coming to something they didn’t expect.
On the night
The band that you book will probably have an established set list, so they will likely advise on the length of the event. But half-way through the evening it’s worth giving people a break from dancing. This will give you the opportunity to introduce your speaker and allow for a 5–10 minute gospel talk. You want the speaker to have enough time to warmly introduce some basics of the gospel and encourage and invite listeners to come to another forthcoming event where they’ll hear a longer, more direct talk. A ceilidh lends itself well as a warm-up event a month before a mission.
Food and drink
You will also need to organise drinks and (maybe) food during the night. It’s good to have tables around the edge of the dance area (not just for wallflowers, but for people to take breathers, listen to and chat about the talk, and potentially eat). The opportunity for down-time in the evening means significant conversations can take place as well as great and memorable fun.