In addition to all the decisions you’re making on your decor, we want to help you think through the flow of the night. Once you have your plan in place, your vendors should take care of making sure everything stays on schedule so that you can relax and enjoy your night. Your reception should be a BLAST and taking a few minutes to give these topics some thought will make it a smooth experience for your guests.
Keep things moving
A good rule of thumb is to plan 15 minutes for your grand entrance and blessing of the meal, then 45 minutes for dinner service before toasts and speeches begin.
Your venue coordinator and DJ can help with this! They’ll help make sure there are not long periods of waiting for the next thing to happen and your DJ in particular will take on the role of emcee for the evening.
Your caterer will also play a big role in the design and set up of your event and will be able to give you the best estimates on how long it will take to move guests through the buffet line or serve them their plated meal.
Before speech begin, clear the head table from any clutter
This includes plates, napkins, butter dishes, salt and pepper shakers, etc. Then be sure to get a drink refill so you’re ready to raise a glass with each toast!
Ps: if you have an opportunity, don’t put your head table right in front of windows which causes harsh, unflattering lighting at sunset and glare from our flash in photos!
Short & sweet speeches
Encourage each person to keep their speech under 5 minutes to help them stay on track (and avoid too many embarrassing stories). Speeches are traditionally given by the maid of honor, best man, father of the bride, and occasionally father of the groom or other parents.
Plan your exit strategy
Whether you’re going to stay all night to shut down the dance floor or leave early, have a plan in advance so you can make it memorable. It could simply be a special song you dance to as your exit song, it could be gathering guests for a sparkler exit… or maybe you’ll be like us and have your closest friends pray over you before making an arm tunnel for you to run through.
Make it your own
Feel free to get creative with your reception and don’t feel tied to formalities. If you want to have a different dessert than cake, donate money from the dollar dance to charity, ask guests to sing a love song instead of clinking their glasses, or incorporate any other culture tradition…this is your permission to do it!
We hope you enjoyed these wedding reception tips! Be sure to share a copy of it with your fiancé so that you’re on the same page with one another in your planning process!