Joe’s Handy Tips For Your Reception
One of the most important tips I can offer potential newlyweds is to have “fun” above everything else. Don’t waste your energy on expecting everything to be “perfect!”
Something unexpected can certainly happen! These are usually unfortunate occurrences, but not real tragedies that you want affecting your perception of your Wedding Day! Newlyweds who simply focus on enjoying their Wedding Day and having fun instead of insisting that everything be perfect will be more flexible when something unfortunate or unexpected happens.
Get It In Writing!
Be certain to have all agreements with wedding vendors in a written form!
These written agreements should contain the complete agreement to prevent misunderstandings in the future. According to statistics, the Clients who didn’t fully understand their contracts cause 40% of all wedding-related problems!
Don’t Over-Plan. Be Flexible.
Listen to the suggestions from your wedding professionals. These experts can offer solid advice based on many years of experience at wedding ceremonies and receptions. They have first hand knowledge! I’ve included links and contact information of many of the area vendors that I frequently associate with.
Have A Good Time!
On your Special Day, plan to relax, smile, laugh, visit, eat, drink, dance, celebrate, and have fun! Your Wedding Day is a special time that you will want to savor every minute of, make sure your number one goal is to have a good time!
Nervous? Try These Suggestions . . .
Many newlyweds share that they are nervous. I offer you the following suggestions to help this your day be effortless:
* Simplify. Remember, the more things you plan for your special day, the more things can go wrong.
* Do not worry about the little things. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
* Leave the important details to the Professionals. If you’ve hired wisely, they know what you want and how you want it.
* Arrange for a calm individual outside of your immediate wedding party to handle last minute details. Do you have a favorite Uncle or special friend who can handle details such as distributing checks to your wedding specialists, run to the store for nylons, etc.
* Enjoy a quiet the day before your Wedding such as a massage, yoga session, or spa visit.
* Take as many photos as possible before to the Wedding Ceremony to allow more time for fun afterwards
Your Wedding Ceremony and/or Reception Site
Once you have selected your wedding date, immediately make reservations for the location of your wedding ceremony and reception. Some locations are reserved more than two years in advance.
Many newlyweds are having both their wedding ceremony and reception at the same location. This is a win-win situation for newlyweds because it usually results in fewer expenses. It is also a plus for their guests who welcome the convenience.
Music For Your Wedding Ceremony
The Music you choose for your Wedding and/or Reception will set the pace for your entire event. Your music selections are usually determined by personal preferences. Religious attitudes of clergymen can also play a role in your selection.
There are five categories of music at wedding ceremonies:
The pre-wedding music sets the theme for the actual ceremony. This usually begins approximately thirty minutes before the ceremony and is scheduled to begin while guests are being seated. The music selections are often light and lively, and played in a low volume allowing guests to speak with each other.
Music for the entrance of the Bridesmaids is usually more formal, and presented at a higher volume than the pre-ceremony music. Although marches are popular, other beautiful classical selections such as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Pachabel’s “Canon In D” are often selected.
The first notes of the processional music announce the arrival of the Bride and inform the guests to stand! Because of this, processional music should be joyful and triumphant. Wagner’s “Here Comes The Bride” is the overwhelming choice of Brides to enter their wedding ceremony area. Brides who are marrying for the second time often select a less formal musical selection.
During the ceremony, a soloist may sing or play a musical instrument just before the actual wedding vows begin. Sometimes a reading by a guest may substitute for music. This activity allows the Bride and Groom time to pause and catch their breath!
The recessional music usually begins immediately after the official introduces the new couple to the guests as husband and wife. Like the processional, this music is generally joyful and triumphant. It is often accompanied with the ringing of church bells or chimes. Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” is the music selection chosen by most newlyweds at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony.
1.Receiving Line vs. Bridal Party Introductions
Traditionally, newlyweds have followed their wedding ceremony with a time consuming “receiving line.” Today, many newlyweds choose to have the Digital DJ introduce the entire Bridal Party (including parents of the newlyweds) as they first enter the banquet room. This practice often frees up more time for fun later during dancing, which is what your entire day has been leading up to!
2. To Assign Seats or Not?
Why do newlyweds agree to assigned seating for guests at their wedding reception? Although this idea may sound good in theory and provides some control over their guests, it’s not always popular with the guests! Some newlyweds and party planners sometimes spend hours and hours trying to figure out the perfect seating arrangement only to face the disappointed attendees who were hoping to sit next to friends or relatives. Head tables are a great idea for the bride and groom and possibly the wedding party, but you may find it easier to allow general seating for the rest of your guests. It will also create a more relaxed environment.
3. Toast The Happy Couple!
What would a wedding reception be without your toasts? At many receptions, additional toasts follow these remarks from the Maid/Matron of Honor, Parents of the Newlyweds, or the Bride and Groom. After the meal, additional speeches and/or live entertainment by special guests (singers, dancers, etc.) may also follow. This should all be prior to your dance.
4. After Meal/Before First Dance
After the newlyweds finish their meal, they usually visit their guests while passing out optional favors. Brides may want to ask one of their Bridesmaids to carry the actual basket of favors to allow Brides to more easily converse with guests. This post-meal time is also sometimes used by professional photographers to capture a few additional photos before the start of the dance.
5. Your Special Dance
The Happy Couple should always select a slow song for their first dance. It may sound more romantic to dance the entire song alone on the dance floor, but many newlyweds like to have the Digital DJ invite the rest of the Bridal Party to join them on the dance floor halfway through this First Dance. This takes some of the pressure off the Bride and Groom, and allows their Bridal Party to share some of the spotlight. This is also an awesome photo opportunity for the photographer.
6. The Last Dance
After the Last Dance is finished, the reception is assumed to be over except for last minute congratulations. Make your Last Dance a special song selection for all to enjoy.
Catering Can Make Or Break Your Event
You have three common choices for most receptions.
The buffet meal allows guests to line up and select their own food. Try to have both sides of the banquet tables available for guests to line up to minimize time standing in line. If a large number of guests are expected, consider more than one series of banquet tables, or even “food stations” placed in various areas of the reception area. This prevents your attendees from clustering and creates a mood of chaos while the food is being served.
A formal meal usually consists of three or more courses. Waiters or waitresses then serve guests.
A family style meal is a combination of the previous two. Guests are seated at their tables, and plates of food are passed around among the guests.
Capture This Moment On Film
A growing trend is for newlyweds to take pictures prior to their ceremony. This allows more time after the ceremony for visiting with friends and relatives. It can also be a huge relief that will ensure that you get to actually enjoy the event you’ve worked so very hard to plan.
When choosing a photographer, check samples of their previous work. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the price and payment schedules. Also remember that a professional wedding photographer should be an active participant in the wedding day activities, yet not intrude or dominate the Bride and Groom’s available time. If you’ve selected wisely, you’ll have a participant who blends in well with the other personalities of your wedding.
Wedding cakes are available in a variety of flavors and should have the personalities of the newlyweds represented as not only on top of the cake, but within the theme as well.
The Bridal Party’s Flowers
Flowers are used to add beauty and fragrance to a wedding day. Flowers at the ceremony should establish a theme and direct the attention of the guests to the Bride and Groom.
Flowers carried by the Bride and her Bridesmaids should continue the floral theme at the wedding ceremony. Good taste and the particular season will play an important role in the actual floral selections.
You should consider the architecture of the room when selecting your flowers as well. If you have a small room, don’t over power it with outrageous, large floral arrangements
Bridal Party Hair and Makeup
For continuity, I suggest the same makeup professional for the Bride and all of her Bridesmaids. Photographs will look better if everyone is similar in appearance. There are a lot of affordable alternatives as well as professionals who can bring a “cutting edge” look for a little more money.
The honeymoon is simply vacation time allowing newlyweds an opportunity to relax and allow for quality time between the bride and groom. There are a lot of fun and affordable options for Honeymoons.
On a Final Note . . . The Emergency Kit
I like to recommend an Emergency Kit containing some of the following items be readily available “just in case.” It’s better to be prepared so you can enjoy your day. This is a great job for the Maid of Honor or a trusted friend.
Camera/camcorder/new rolls of film/fresh batteries
Cellular phone/phone cards/pager
Directions to wedding ceremony/reception
Disposable Razor (not just for shaving, removes lint balls as well)
Extra Earring Backs
Feminine Hygiene Products (Pads, Tampons)
Gum, mints or portable toothbrush
Hair Spray/Brush/Hair Items Such as Bobby Pins
Handi Wipes or Baby Wipes
Makeup Bag With Commonly Used Items
Masking Tape (Great for Emergency Hems)
Nail Polish & Remover
Nylons (one size fits all)
Pen & Notepad
Phone numbers of all bridal party members (Cell #’s Included)
Phone numbers of all wedding vendors (ceremony/reception locations, wedding officiator, caterer, photographer, DJ/band, florist, bakery, etc.) Give this list to your emergency back up person as well.
Sitting Stool For Bride (In case her train is too long for a chair)
Underwear (you never know)
Visine, not just for your eyes, but good to put on those surprise zits that pop up.
Hire and entrust competent wedding professionals to handle your wedding details, and leave the details to them. That’s their job. You need only to enjoy your perfect day.