In the reception design center we have presented you with ideas on the types of events you may wish to have at your reception, along with suggestions on how to order the events. Now we’d like to show you how to pull it all together by giving you examples of several different orders of events. We are going to use 14 standard reception events in every example:
Wedding Party Introduction
Wedding Party Dance
Special Dances (i.e. Dance with a Sibling, Bride’s Dance with Mother)
Recognize Birthdays &/or Anniversaries
Bouquet & Garter Event
Open Dance Floor (dance floor is open to general guest dancing)
Some events are what we call “Ice Breakers.” Ice Breakers are used to open or reopen the dance floor. The Anniversary Dance is the classic Ice Breaker here. A Snowball Dance (not shown above) is another example of a good one.
Some events are what we call “Closed.” A Closed event is one that ends without opening the dance floor. Often, the Cake Cutting and the Bouquet & Garter Event are closed events.
Some events can be made into Ice Breakers. The First Dance, Parent Dances, Wedding Party Dance, Special Dances, and even the Last Dance can be made into Ice Breakers by allowing the guests to join you half way through the dance, thus reopening the dance floor. The Centerpiece Giveaway can also be easily made into an Ice Breaker.
Keep in mind that you can have no events at your reception, or you can have 20 events at your reception.
You may want to pattern your reception after one of these example orders, or create a whole new order. If there are additional events that you want to add, these can be discussed in the pre-wedding consultation with your DJ/MC. Some things to keep in mind:
1. When is the meal being served?
If it an early meal (i.e. noon or before for a lunch, or 6:00pm or before for a dinner), then you’ll have plenty of time to do some events before the meal. If it is a later meal (i.e. 1:00pm or later for lunch and 8:00pm or later for dinner) or if your guests have waited a while to eat, you may want to go straight into the meal after the Wedding Party Introduction.
2. Is the Cake being served for dessert immediately after the meal?
If it is, then you want to cut it early so the wait staff has a chance cut and serve it. If it is not, then you can cut it whenever you want.
3. Does the function hall have a particular order of events that they want you to follow?
All your planning may be for naught if the function hall has a set way of doing things, so check with them first. A few function halls have their schedules set in stone. Most are more flexible. Often, with the more flexible halls, their two biggest concerns are getting the meal out on time, and getting the cake served for dessert. Find out when the meal is, and by what time they want you to have the cake cut. If you can work with them on these two issues, they’ll usually give you free reign to plan everything else the way you want. Even with the stricter function halls, they’ll usually direct things up until the end of the meal, and then let you do what you want.
4. Does the function hall allow dancing during the meal?
Always make sure you ask. This often depends on the position of the dance floor. If dancing guests will be in the way of the servers, then the function hall won’t allow it. If they won’t be in the way, the hall will often “ok” it.
5. Which event(s) do you want to be prominent in your reception?
Usually, if you want to make an event more prominent, you can either 1) schedule it early, 2) schedule it first in a series of other events, or 3) you can schedule it as a stand alone event (e.g. a couple that wants to highlight the cake cutting will schedule that event as the only one before the meal, saving their first dance, parent dances, etc., for after the meal). If you want to make an event less prominent, 1) schedule it later in the reception, or 2) sandwich it in between two other events.
6. Do your guests like to dance?
Be honest with yourselves here. Most couples like to think that their guests are going to dance the night away at their reception. Sometimes this happens, and sometimes it doesn’t, and if you’ve got good a good DJ or band, it usually is a function of the disposition of the crowd, and not the music. A bit of information about crowd demographics and psychology are in order here. There are three types of people in every crowd: 1) those that will dance, 2) those that won’t dance, and 3) those that may or may not dance. Just about every crowd has some of each. If 80% of your crowd is made up of those that will dance, you’re going to have a slamming event. If 80% of your crowd is made up of those that won’t dance, then you’re going to have a quiet event. If 80% of your crowd is made up of those who may or may not dance, then how you organize your event will make all the difference. Think about your guests and ask yourself what percentage falls into each category. If your crowd is made up mainly of people who will dance, then they will probably be able to tolerate an occasional closing of the dance floor for a special event. In several of our upcoming examples, the dance floor is closed for a Parent’s Dance, Cake Cutting, or another special event. It is then reopened. Experience has shown us that a crowd that will dance will not be effected by this. In fact, they are often anxious to get back out on the dance floor after a lull. But a crowd that is mainly made up of people who may or may not dance may not get up again after a special event has temporarily closed the dance floor. If this is the make up of your crowd, then it is best not to use too many Closed events after you’ve opened the dance floor, or use Ice Breaker events after you close it. If you have a crowd that is mainly made up of people who won’t dance, it may not matter one way or the other. In fact, you may want to schedule some events throughout the reception to keep them interested.
Check out some of our examples...