Little Pockets - Wedding Day Timing Tips No 7 - Your Reception
Who ever decided to write a blog through peak wedding season! Lol… sorry for the delay on the final installment….
Ok, first of all, your wedding reception venue will be your guide as to how to create great food service and optimal timing. Listen to them, they generally know what they are doing! And also be a little understanding that they are trying to provide hot delicious meals to all of your guests.
If you choose to surprise people, or to change something, the general rule is bring it forward. Speeches, dances, cutting cake etc, can all be shaken up but bring them forward. The mood of the room can be lifted by following the tradition, or by bringing one or two forward on the timeline… BUT it will all flop and become ‘boring’ if you drag out your reception and put things back to later… I will explain a little further down.
There are millions of tips I could give, but I have tried to narrow down where I thinkg alot of people go wrong…..the speeches and the dance
If you have lots of people to give speeches, space them out. A great idea I did at my own wedding was have the two dad’s and my husband give their speeches right at the beginning. We started our reception at 5.30 with cocktails in a room beside the main reception room, and it was a very relaxed feel. The gentlemen all got their speeches out of the way so to speak, so they could relax and enjoy the rest of the wedding. Many a dad has been nervous and many a groom furiously writing notes through the reception when they should be enjoying themselves. This one is easy for the reception center to time dinner around too.
Try not to put more than one speech between entree and main. This time is crucial to your chefs and wait staff, and their timing needs to be perfect. Please note that you cannot really tell people how long to make their speech with any great accuracy. I have seen ten minute allocations go for over half and hour and although the crowd was thoroughly entertained the whole time, their meal was sitting in the kitchen waiting to come out and was not as fresh as it should have been. That said it is fine to slip two speeches in before desert as long as the reception center knows you are doing it. Desserts are quicker to plate up.
The traditional way is to put all of the speeches at the end after desert service. Most people in the room are ready to fall asleep after three courses. Think also of the elderly guests, and those with kids who have been up since 6am. I think spreading them out a little is a great idea. If you have speeches after 9.30pm should be extremely funny ones, or heartfelt thank yous.
Cutting Cake and Dance
I love it when my bride’s and groom’s change things around. A great fun thing one of my beautiful young couples did once, was walk straight into the room to their favourite song and immediately do their 1st dance. It was awesome! Great party atmosphere continued and they got full benefit of the amazing band they had hired.
If you like to stick with tradition, you will find people will flow along with you because they are comfortable and they know what to expect. If you walk in the room and cut the cake in front of everyone, they will be pleasantly surprised. Same with the dance. Same with a couple of dad speeches as the welcome.
BUT if you have a traditional 3 course meal, then speeches, then cut the cake and just go back and sit down, people will wonder what happened. They go back and sit down too. Sometimes they wonder if you are even having a dance. They might just get up and onto the dance floor themselves. So when your special first dance happens, no one pays attention… They have been somehow interrupted perhaps. It is just awkward. Consider that when you cut the cake, the attention of the whole room is on you, and the atmosphere of the room lifts up and buoys you along… the people are really with you! they love you! and they are back into the celebration with you, so keep them with you!go and get your booty on the dance floor! It really does flow and prevents the boring awkward bit.
A kind of funny thing I see happen at alot of wedding receptions, is after dinner, a few people hit the dancefloor. Older couples who have been having salsa lessons, young kids, and most often, groups blokes who are, lets say, a few sheets to the wind. You guys are supposed to get the first dance! But leave it too late and you will be sharing the floor.
I actually think the best way to avoid alot of these problems is to have the last of the ceremonial parts of your reception, the last speeches, the cake cutting, and the first dance, after your main course has been cleared. The reception staff can lay out dessert while you are dancing, and the guests will inevitably wander back to their tables and eat it… or you can have your cake for desert. If the reception center is serving your cake for desert, after you cut it, go have your dance. And after about three songs you will find it ready on the table. This is still traditional and flows nicely, but happens that hour early enough that you still have people’s full attention.
So remember, traditional is good but don’t drag it all out as people might love you but they do lose interest. And if you want to spice it up, Do! Just work with the idea that you bring things forward to back.