The fun has begun, & it’s time to party! Your wedding reception should be a blast, & the last thing you need to be worrying about is your timeline. Your wedding coordinator and/or DJ should take care of making sure that everything stays on schedule so that you can enjoy your night. However, there are some useful tips that will help your reception flow smoothly. Keep reading!
1) Guest Consideration
While planning out your timeline for your wedding reception, take your guests into consideration. As much as the day is really all about you, there are some things you should take into consideration when it comes to your guests. If you have elderly guests that will not be staying until the very end, make sure you schedule the cake cutting at a relatively early time so that they can be a part of it. Grandma’s love seeing this sweet tradition!
A personal tip of mine: Don’t make the guests wait forever until they can eat! I know that most times this aspect of the day can be out of our control, but there’s nothing worse than having guests sit at their table for an eternity waiting for their food. This can cause your reception to drag out. Once the introductions for the bridal party have been announced & the first dance has been completed, guests should be served their meals shortly after. Prior arrangements should be made with your caterer, but normally this isn’t an issue. If you have a good amount of down time before dinner is served, just be sure to have plenty of hors d’oeuvres handy.
2) Keep it Moving
This is one thing that I wanted to make sure of at my own wedding reception…and that was to keep things moving. Chat with your coordinator about how you can plan your reception in a way that will keep the guests engaged & moving all night! Also, your DJ can help with this aspect. You can include some special dances that involve the guests, the bride and groom can provide a little entertainment by playing the “shoe game”, you can hold some of the special dances while the guests eat cake, & of course there’s when you open up the dance floor. The last thing you want is a reception that drags, because then you can bet that guests will start cutting out early. If you decide to have a special send off, that’s all the more reason why you want your guests to stay! This is your wedding reception, so don’t be afraid to get creative!
3) Make it Your Own
If you want to have a special dance with your grandparents, do it! Make your reception a reflection of who you are and don’t feel tied to traditions. I have seen Bride and Groom’s opt out of doing a bouquet or garter toss, while other couples decided to add in extra dances or cute little surprises. My husband and I ended up playing the “shoe game” at our wedding reception, and it ended up being a huge hit with the guests! Not to mention, it made for some pretty awesome candid photos. I have seen couples surprise their family and guests with a special dance. I have also seen couples opt out of a slow dance & dance to a more upbeat song instead. I have also seen some pretty comical garter removals, & the guests soak it up! Maybe you want to have you & your wedding party perform a funny dance? There is no right or wrong way to plan a wedding reception, as it should be a representation of you!
Also if you have any songs you don’t want played at your wedding reception, be sure to give your DJ a “do not play” song list. Sometimes couples don’t want to risk the “chicken dance” being played, even if a guest requests it.
4) Don’t Get Caught Up
Don’t get caught up in the formalities and the details. Sure, details are pretty & fun to photograph, but they can also steal the joy of the day if you get too caught up in them. Plan your centerpieces, welcome table, etc. well before the wedding date, and teach your coordinator or family friend how to set them up so that you aren’t even thinking about those things the day of! Or, maybe your venue will allow you to bring all of your items and set them up the night before? Trust me, you will be so glad you did
5) Reception Coverage
If you haven’t purchased enough coverage time for your photography to last until the exit, that’s ok! We have many options! I recommend planning your timeline so that you can have at least one hour of dancing photographed. The guests who dance during the first hour will still be dancing in the third hour
One hour of dancing will be enough time to really capture the joy of your wedding reception!
But what if I am having a formal exit?
A formal exit will most likely be what determines your timeline when it comes to your photographer. If your coverage ends before your exit, you have the option of planning a faux exit with your bridal party and/or guests! This is more common than you think. Instead of saving your exit until the very end, you can plan a faux exit with just the members of your bridal party & a few family members. This allows us to have more control over these shots and the party NEVER has to stop! In most cases, no one even notices that the bride and groom are missing for a few minutes. Also, it’s impossible to tell that the whole wedding party isn’t there waving sparklers & sending off the happy couple. This idea also allows our couples to save some money and still have all of the shots that they dreamed of!
Thank you for stopping by! Stay tuned for more educational topics like this, on the blog!
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