Avoid common reception downfalls.
We all know the saying “You can’t please everyone”! While that may be true, these types of guest criticisms are easily avoided by careful planning — and addressing them now will make everyone’s memories of your wedding day so much nicer.
1. The DJ was obnoxious or played lousy music. Find the best wedding DJ available using recommendations from other brides and the advice of wedding industry professionals.
2. The music was TOO LOUD. Again, hire a great wedding DJ who is experienced and focused on creating a fantastic overall experience for you and your guests. Other suggestions to avoid this common complaint: Move tables and chairs away from speakers and seat older guests further from the sound equipment.
3. Speeches were TOO LONG and we couldn’t decipher the words. Keep speeches under five minutes. Ideally, they should last between two and five minutes. A good DJ will spend a few moments with each person making a toast or speech, teaching him or her how to correctly operate and speak into the microphone. He will also use a quality microphone!
4. We didn’t know anyone at our table. Take the time to carefully plan your seating arrangement, placing guests at tables with others they know. They don’t have to be fast friends, just acquaintances or people with some kind of connection. Try to seat out-of-town guests, who aren’t likely to know anyone, with others having similar interests.
5. I resented paying a dollar to dance with the bride. Unless it’s a long-standing family tradition, and you will offend someone if you break the ritual, the dollar dance is best forgotten.
6. We stood forever in the receiving line. The bride & groom, and their parents are the only required greeters. Better yet, couples should instead consider visiting individual tables during or immediately following dinner. (See #10 below)
7. We had too much time to ‘kill’ between the ceremony and reception. Out-of-town guests are often at a loss for ways to fill the time between a two o’clock wedding and a six o’clock reception. Try to keep the down time to a minimum. When it isn’t possible to hold the events within an hour or so of each other, ask the hall if it will open its doors early for your visiting guests (and ask them if there’s a charge). Other options include asking relatives or close friends to invite them to their home for a light snack, or arranging a hospitality suite for them at their hotel.
8. The centerpiece was too large. Your guests couldn’t see or talk to others seated across the table. Smaller, shorter arrangements are best. Your centerpiece shouldn’t be the center of attention (or main topic of conversation) at the table.
9. I was offended that I had to pay for drinks. Open bars are the accepted norm. If your budget is tight, offer wine and beer only — or limit drink choices to ‘call’ brands. You can also close the bar during the dinner hour to save on costs. An emerging trend is to create a ‘signature’ drink and offer it along with beer & wine only.
10. The bride and groom didn’t stop by to say hello. Make the rounds of guest tables at your reception, but don’t spend too much time at each. A quick greeting, thank you or compliment will suffice.
11. I was never thanked for my gift! Share this task with your husband. Divide your list, write your notes at the same time, and make a pact to finish a certain number every night until they are finished. Dangle a carrot in front of your noses. When the last note is FINALLY written, reward yourselves with a special bottle of wine or dinner out. It is customary to mail thank-you notes within three months. You don’t want to wait that long for your carrot anyway, do you?