11 Wedding Reception Tips

October 7, 2012

1.  Be specific with your vendors.

It’s your dream wedding, so the better you articulate details of your dream to those you’ve hired, the easier it is for them to deliver on their promises for a memorable event.  Tell your hall, pastor, baker, florist, photographer, DJ, etc., EXACTLY what your expectations are and how you want things done.  If you are unsure how something might be done, ask them EXACTLY how they would suggest doing it. You make the final decision, however.

2.  Be accessible on your wedding day.

Your photographer, videographer, DJ, etc. should be able to reach you on your wedding day.  Make sure they have your cell phone number and that you have theirs.  You never know when (or why) you may need to get in touch with one another.

3.  Seat older guests further from the music.

A basic rule of sound is…the closer you are to a speaker, the louder it is.  Younger generations are used to music being a bit louder; older guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness for seating them at a distance.

Contact us to start planning your reception activities.

4.  Make your bridal party aware of “the program.”

A considerable amount of time can be spent getting your bridal party together for important reception events, such as 1) the introductions into the room, 2) toasts & grace and 3) the bridal dances. If even one member of your bridal party is missing for any of these events, your celebration is delayed.  Be sure to share with them in advance how important it is to be present and on time for these events. Let them know that once they are asked to be at a specific place, they need to hold off on going to the bathroom, smoking, making a phone call, etc., until afterward.

5.  Give speeches and toasts before dinner.

You want your guests’ total attention during these special moments. The best way to ensure this is by giving all speeches and toasts back-to-back, and immediately before dinner.  Traditionally, if the father of the bride is going to speak, he goes first, followed by other parents.  Next, the Best Man gives his toast, followed by the Maid/Matron of Honor.  If you, as bride and groom, plan on speaking, you’re next.Grace is said last.  There is no “rule” as to how many people (or who) should speak. However, if you have more than three speeches or toasts, ask each “presenter” to keep it under two minutes.

6.  Speed up your food service.

Your guests will be hungry.  If you’re offering food stations, ask the hall or caterer to set food on both sides of the table for faster service.   Savor the dinner’s memorable moments, but remember that the sooner the meal is over, the sooner the party can begin!

7.  Beware of the “quick snapshot.”

You can eat up as much as a half hour of dance time when you pull your friends and family out of the party for a group photo.  Sure, it only takes a moment to shoot the picture, but it takes 10 or 15 minutes to get everyone together. Then, it will take you another 10 minutes to get back to the party, because you will keep getting stopped by guests who want to chat.   So, if you need a family photo or a group picture of your college friends, try to pre-plan the photos and take them before dessert is served.Your photographer may be inspired to try some impromptu or creative composition.  Remember:  your photographer works for you; you are allowed to say “no” to anything that you feel infringes on your fun time.

8.  Greet as many guests as possible before and during dinner.

While it’s only polite to make an effort to individually thank everyone for coming to your wedding, plan to do it earlier in the reception.  If you try to greet everyone after the meal, there’s a good chance that your guests will be impatiently waiting 30–45 minutes for the party to begin.

9.  Don’t be afraid to call it a night.

Metro Detroit is one of the few places in the country where wedding receptions have been known to last an average of six hours.  That being said, sometimes asking your friends and family to party for six hours can be a lot. In New York City and Tampa, Florida, for example, wedding receptions last an average of three hours.  A five-hour wedding reception is considered LONG in those areas.  If you feel as if the majority of your guests have simply had enough fun, consider ending the party. The old show business adage, “leave them wanting more,” applies.  Your wedding reception will be remembered much more fondly if it “ends with a bang” rather than “fizzling out.”  Choose a song in advance that fits your idea of an appropriate finale to signal the end of the party.

10. Assign end-of-the-night tasks ahead of time.

You will be exhausted by the end of your party, and the last thing you’ll want to do is “think” about anything.  Ask responsible friends and family members to each take responsibility for cleaning up the hall, carrying and transporting gifts and other items home, etc.  This will take the burden off you and give you the chance to properly say good-byes to your guests.

11. Don’t micro-manage your reception.

Allow the party to blossom and develop.  Be in the moment.  Don’t rush things. Trust the people you’ve hired.  You’ve spent hundred of hours planning….now let the party happen and enjoy yourselves.

Contact us to start planning your reception activities.

Mike is the Owner of Mike Staff Productions. He started his DJ career in 1986 as a small market radio DJ. A few moves around the Midwest and most notably, a 14-year stint at 101 WRIF— Detroit ’s premier rock station, Mike decided to launch Mike Staff Productions in 1996 to save weddings from cheesy, over-the-top, embarrass your guests type of DJs.

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