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"IT'S A NICE DAY FOR A WHITE WEDDING"
Unlike myself, most people only get married once… over the years; performing at, and attending numerous wedding celebrations (including my own) has given me a few pointers for when I get married next. Noting that everyone and every event is different, you may find the below useful when planning your big day:
CHOOSE YOUR SUPPLIERS CAREFULLY:
Your event suppliers will have a massive impact on the success of your wedding reception; choose them carefully. Do your research, attend the wedding fairs where you can meet suppliers face to face - make sure the key suppliers you book suit your style and understand what you want for your day. Your venue, photographer and DJ are great sources to recommend suppliers.
VENUE HINT: Be aware that your venue events manager (the main person you're dealing with), may not actually be present on the night of your reception. Know who will be the manager on duty for your event and ensure your requests have been communicated.
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but consider having your location shots taken a few weeks before the wedding. With your friends and family coming from all over the place to see you get married (some whom may not have seen for ages), why limit your time with them by going off to have your location shots taken for a few hours; adding to an already hectic day.
Still allow time for staged and family photos after the ceremony, just with some pressure off to enjoy more time with your loved ones on your special day. Yeah it’s not so traditional (and may require an additional dress purchase - sorry lads) however this option is gaining popularity and many photographers are including this option in their packages.
WALKING DOWN THE AISLE:
Brides, I know you’re keen to get down there – your average song is about 3.5 minutes and depending on the amount of bridesmaids, this is MORE than enough time to walk down the aisle; don’t rush! After months of planning, so many brides are nervous, eager to get down there. Take your time, have a few deep breaths, enjoy the moment and build the anticipation.
I cannot recommend enough going straight into your speeches immediately following your formal arrival; you have your guest’s full attention and it’s an ideal time from the point of meal service. As much as wedding couples plan for, and intend their speeches to run on time; they rarely do. Having them concluded before the drinkies start to kick-in really helps keep the night running to schedule.
You will also be surprised how quickly the night goes, try not to have too many formalities planned throughout the evening, the more formalities, the more interruptions to the flow of your night. However with the essentials, really try to get them concluded as soon as possible to allow the informalities to roll on.
MASTERING THE MASTER OF CEREMONIES:
It's always fun to have an MC who knows you personally, having that rapport and connection is special. However the MC role is by far the most underrated role at the reception. The MC essentially runs the reception, manages your event run sheet; and is the buffer between the wedding couple and the venue/contractors.
Uncle Frank might be hilarious on the mic, but are his organisational skills up to scratch? ...you don’t want to be continually interrupted throughout the night – pick wisely!
As the event DJ, I liaise directly with your MC prior to; and throughout your reception to ensure everything runs seamless. After the formalities, I am able to take over the informal announcements; to give Uncle Frank a well-earned rest.
OLDIES & YOUNG’INS:
Consider your older guests (or for anyone who just needs a space away from the main party) when creating your seating plan – generally the opposite side to the DJ is best. If your reception centre has an annex room, this could be an ideal space to provide some games and activities to keep the attending children entertained.
The party goes wherever the bride and groom go. If your bar or photo booth are located outside the main room or away from the dance floor; your guests will end up divided between the separated areas. I recommend placing your photo booth close to the dance floor where it is seen and gets used - you paid for it after all!
MEET & GREET:
If you’re hosting around 100 guests, a traditional meet-and-greet of all your guests could take a massive chunk out of your night. For groups of this size (or more), consider allocating time for a short visit to every table as a newlywed couple to thank your guests.
LEAVE ON A HIGH:
Don’t let your night just fizzle out, end your party with a bang! A special final dance, a sparkler send-off or placing a gift bag or sweets for guests to take as they leave so that everyone leaves with a smile on their face.
It’s going to be a HUGE day for you both, running on a fair amount of adrenaline and emotion - you’re very likely to be waking up the next day with a few blank memories of the past 24 hours. I highly recommend you both STOP - take some “together” moments throughout the day (and night), pinch yourselves so you both have a few ‘trigger memories’ to reflect on the next day.