Wedding Reception Tips
by Cecil Knight
Opening the Buffet
After your wedding, the pictures always take a few minutes longer than you had anticipated. After you arrive at the reception site, you will need to take a few minutes to freshen your makeup and hair and possibly bustle your wedding gown. Those items take time and your guests have been waiting anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. For this reason, you may want to consider opening the buffet to the guests before you arrive. The caterer will like it since they will know their food will be fresh and at it's best when served. The photographer will appreciate the extra time and you can take your time getting to the reception site. Your DJ will take care of greeting the guests and announcing the opening of the buffet. And your guests will know what is going on and can leisurely find their tables and serve themselves. Best of all you are able to maximize your time which will leave more time for the dance and party.
Selection of a photographer is very important. Choose one who treats the reception as a journalistic event, not a photo opportunity. While there are those once-in-a-lifetime family or group pictures that are available only on the wedding day, try your best to schedule those pictures at a time other than during the dance portion of the reception. Nothing kills a party faster than having to stop the music while a group of people exit for a special photo. DJs work very hard to build the party's momentum so it is best to keep disruptions to a minimum. Due to the traditional formalities such as cake cutting, toasts, the garter and bouquet toss, dollar dances, etc., wedding receptions involve a lot of startin' & stoppin! So if it's a dance you want, work with your DJ to create as seamless an agenda as possible.
Contrary to what you might think, serving too much alcohol can have a negative effect on your party. Some guests will never leave the bar. Active guest participation greatly enhances the dance and party atmosphere. Not only will having a Cash Bar save you money, it will also reduce the chance of people drinking too much before they drive.
A Good Mix of Music
Keep in mind that you will probably invite a wide variety of guests to your wedding reception. That variety applies to their age, background, musical and dancing tastes. It is our suggestion that you allow a good mix of music, representative of the different tastes, to be played. You might not think 'the older folks' will be interested in dancing, but you will be pleasantly surprised when you see how they respond when they hear music with which they can identify. Too much of any one kind of music will not produce the best party results. Variety is the spice of life and is never more evident than when you see your parents and grandparents happily doing the YMCA or Macarena right along with your friends.
Plan & Book Early
Plan and book early! It is not uncommon for us to book events eighteen months to two years in advance. Most wedding receptions begin taking shape at about the twelve month mark. If you get within three or four months of your date you will find that many vendors in the wedding industry are already booked and you will be lucky to find what you want.
A Quality Experience
What do you remember about the wedding receptions you've been to in the past. Well, that's where you need to put your money. That's what your guests will remember about your reception. There are places to cut if you're on a budget. Chicken instead of shrimp. Leave off the matches. And use the country club's napkins instead of those expensive specialized kind that wind-up in the bottom of someone's purse or pocket anyhow. Use those funds where they count on the entertainment.
Introductions Take Time
Introducing all the members of the wedding party at the beginning of the reception makes great video and photos. After all, in most cases all that was seen of these people during the wedding was the back of their heads. However introducing the wedding party will take an additional fifteen minutes. Someone, preferably not in the wedding party (and with the background as a drill sergeant), must be responsible for the logistics of collecting and lining up the attendants, working with the DJ and photographer, and cueing the attendants where and when to walk. Communication and planning are the key. We suggest you make this part of your dress rehersal from the church. No detours permitted!
Bride & Groom Dance
Your first dance song can be any song you and your groom want. We have provided a list so that you might see which songs have been the most popular over the past few years. Some are old, some are new, some country, some pop. Certainly, your song does not have to come from this list. In fact, many times brides and grooms will choose a less popular song simply because they do not want to be like everyone else.
Dancing With Dad
You don't have to dance a special dance with your father, but most brides do. If you choose to include a father/daughter dance, it follows immediately after the bride and groom's first dance. In most cases the groom dances with his mother at the same time the bride is dancing with her father. Popular selections when the bride and her father are dancing alone are Daddy's Little Girl by the Mills Brothers and Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle. If both the bride and the groom are dancing with their respective parent for a special "Parents Dance," often the choice is Everything I Do, I Do For You (from Robin Hood), Unforgettable by Natalie and Nat King Cole or Bette Midler's Wind Beneath My Wings. Click here for other popular songs.
If the best man is shy and reserved, it is not a requirement that he do the toast to the bride and groom at the reception. While in most cases the best man offers the toast, it can be done by another groomsman, a father or grandfather, or simply someone special to the bride and groom. Should there be more than one toast? It's up to you. The more festive the atmosphere the better and nothing is more festive than toasting the bride and groom.
Sorority & School Songs
If the sorority sisters are going to sing a song to the bride, a good time is just before or after the garter and bouquet are tossed. Appoint a leader (someone other than the bride, of course). That leader needs to tell the other sorority sisters what is happening and when and have them ready to step out onto the dance floor when the time comes. It's just another of those items that with a little coordination and preparation can actually add to the party atmosphere rather than be a break in the momentum.
Know Your DJ
If you are trying to book an Master of Ceremonies/DJ and the company you are talking with will not give you the specific and complete name of the DJ they are booking for you, beware! You may find yourself in a 'bait & switch' situation. Some companies use made-up names and at the last minute assign a DJ to perform using the name for a particular event. It pays to know who you are doing business with.
You can reach James Thonsgaard and Music Machine Mobile Disc Jockey Service at the following numbers:
(979) 637-2180 mobile
If you received the address to this website from an entertainment agency, please call the referring agency for booking information.