BY DJ Tommy Mac & DJ Dollar Bill
So you've decided to get married! Congratulations!
By now you're starting to realize just how much planning and organization it takes to make a wedding day run smoothly, and are looking for some ideas and tips on the best ways to do things...that's why I'm here, to help you out.
Most wedding receptions today follow a pretty basic format, and while the order of certain events can vary from party to party, the general outline of events for the reception is as follows:
first hour: Cocktails - guests are just arriving, settling in, and helping themselves to some food and drinks. The Bride & Groom (along with the bridal party) may be there at that point, or may be off doing pictures somewhere and arrive later.
Once the bridal party has arrived and cocktails are over, what happens next?
The basic outline is:
Bridal party introductions
Bride & Grooms First Dance
Bridal party dance (optional)
Blessing of the meal (optional)
At most reception halls I work at in this area, the caterers prefer the DJ's NOT to play dance music during the dinner service, as they wish the guests to remain more or less seated for easier service. There have been cases where there are longer gaps in time between courses and I have been asked to dance the guests for short spurts in between but this is usually a rare case. (Me personally I like to play Classics depending on your type of music you like; to keep guests heads bobbing, feet tapping, sing a long & a few may dance) I've noticed every crowd is different, some will dance during dinner & most wait til after cake cutting.
If there are 3 courses, i.e. Soup, Salad & Entree. I will do Parent dances ((Bride with father, Groom with mother) in between Salad & Entree. Approx hour after Bride & Groom receive their entree than:
Bouquet & Garter Toss (optional)
Cutting the Cake
The timing of these events varies from wedding to wedding, depending on both the timeline of the reception hall and the bride & grooms wishes. Your DJ can also help to coordinate all these events to make the day run smoothly, and in future posts I will go into greater detail with suggestions for the best ways to organize these events, as well as several different options and variations.
There will also need to be time set aside for the bride, groom, and family members to have pictures taken together. Make sure your photographer & DJ work together so that things don't get confused. For example, you don't want your DJ starting the cake cutting if the photographer is out in the lobby taking family portraits. A good DJ will always make sure the bride, groom, photographer, videographer and banquet manager are all prepared before starting any major event. Coordinating all these various events is a team effort and all contractors you hire should be willing to work with the others so that YOU don't have to worry about things the day of. If everyone is working together as a team and have coordinated their timelines beforehand, everything should run smoothly. I am not just your DJ....I'm your MC & Time Keeper (so you can let those of you with wedding coordinators, I got this :)
Keep in mind, there are no hard, fast RULES to what you must do at your wedding reception; some people enjoy things like the garter & bouquet toss, others feel that is not important to them and would rather skip it...the choice is up to YOU.
Some couples like to plan other special events for their reception, such as slide shows, or hire another entertainer, such as dancers, to perform at some point in the evening. Others have a family member or friend who they have asked to perform a live song for the bride & groom, either by playing live with an instrument or singing along to a musical track provided to the DJ.
While these things can be fun and add a special touch to your wedding day, keep in mind they need to be planned out accordingly at the proper times to make the day flow easily. Again, talking these things over in ADVANCE with your DJ, along with your banquet manager, will help things run smoothly.
In future posts, I will go into greater details on each of the special events of a wedding reception to give you a clearer understanding of why they are done and the best times to do them... or if you choose to do them at all.