After months of investing much time and money into your wedding day & reception, you want to be sure you will enjoy it and take it all in! If you have your ceremony on premises and a possible viennese hour, the 4 to 7 hours can really fly by. Even though the average reception is 4 to 5 hours, dancing time may be limited to only about 2 to 2 1/2 hours because of formalities & dinner courses. Here are some helpful tips on how to enjoy, mingle, and dance the night away at your wedding reception with your family and friends.
Helpful Time Management Tips for your Wedding Day
⁃ If you’re having an on-site ceremony, be sure to have a “first look” before the ceremony. Taking most of your formal pictures with your spouse-to-be, family, & bridal party before so you will not have to take them during cocktail hour and then be rushed to your introductions into your ballroom.
⁃ If you are not having an on-site ceremony, give yourself 2-3 hours between the end of the church ceremony and arrival to your reception venue so you are not rushed. By doing that you can enjoy the day with your family & bridal party. Some couples want to make a stop to at a picturesque-location which takes time as well. Try to get to your reception hall at least one hour before cocktail hour so you can take the majority of formal pictures with family and bridal party at the venue. This will allow for a little time to kick back, relax, and have a bite to eat before mingling in cocktail hour.
Your Cocktail Hour
⁃ Most couples are now electing to mingle during their cocktail hour. This gives you the chance to say hello and have brief conversations with the majority of your guests in an informal atmosphere. Doing this will not make you feel obligated to visit each and every table during your reception. If you’re possibly having 150 to 200 guests for example, that’s 15 to 20 tables you may have to visit and say hello to which will cut into your dancing and partying time.
Time to Toast!
⁃ Recently, couples are having multiple maid of honor‘s and multiple best men which are doing toasts as well as parent’s possibly doing a welcoming. It would bode well to give a gentle respectful restriction on the time allotted (such as 2-3 minutes for each) before the reception, such as at the rehearsal dinner. If there are many toast/speeches(ie, more than 4) it would be well advised to split them up and possibly have some after the first dance and others during the first course when you have a captive audience. This is a great way to make everyone happy and will not cut into dancing time.
Special performance or presentation
⁃ If you’re going to have any family or friends sing/perform, it would be prudent to have them do so during downtime such as during salad, appetizer, or main course, etc. so as not to cut into dancing time. This would bode well if you have any type of couple photo montage presentation as well.
Dessert time isn’t always sweet
⁃ After your cake cutting (and possible Viennese tables) we advise for couples to stay away from their sweetheart/main table. That is usually the time that some guests may be looking to leave early. This is the first place they will look for you and if a line forms by your sweetheart table you will be stuck there. You don’t want to miss your last dance set. This is the time you want to party it up with your immediate family and friends especially now that all the formalities are over. You should be mingling and dancing around the dance floor area. Guests leaving can give you a quick hug and goodbye and you can continue partying to the end of the reception.
Time to say Good-Bye
⁃ If you are providing transportation for your guests to and from hotels or a particular central meeting place, think about the time you should have your first shuttle/bus come. Keep in mind after the reception ends there is a time of mingling, socializing, & saying goodbyes. Too many times couples have the shuttle/buses come too early before the reception ends. The entertainment is making announcements regarding the shuttle/buses being outside your venue essentially chasing your guests off the dance floor and out of your ballroom. This is the last thing you would want to do after all the time and money invested into your reception.