If you are not eloping, chances are your wedding will require so much planning – perhaps, more planning than your brain has ever been asked to do. Of course, there are the staples that all couples automatically set their sights on right away: the best venue, dress, cake, wedding parties, photographers, flowers, invites and oh yes, the almighty budget.
Sometimes, wedding planning becomes all about zoning in on the ceremony itself and just hoping that the reception goes off without a hitch. But, here’s the thing. If you don’t plot out a wedding reception with sniper-like precision, the bumps on the road can feel 10-feet-tall.
With that in mind, here are five crucial wedding reception essentials worth paying extra-close attention to while organizing the biggest day of your life.
The Seating Plan Puzzle
Regardless of the size of your guest list, you will have to do some fancy manoeuvring when deciding which guests sit where and with whom. If you know every single person walking in the door, this should be easy. Don’t sit your divorced Uncle and Aunt at the same table with complementary alcohol available; don’t subject a table of polite friends to an un-censorable loudmouth; and don’t seat co-workers or bosses alongside people who have dirt on you. For the random guests who don’t fit a certain clique or family tree, try to seat them with people who they could potentially become besties with.
Figuring Out the Food
Some wedding venues will allow you to bring guests along to your pre-ceremony food tastings, with the logic being that second opinions can’t hurt. The truth is, these second opinions can cause more discourse and indecision than required. If your partner and you have managed to get to this stage of wedding planning (or have ordered takeout together before), there is no doubt that this decision can be made in a one-on-one setting. That said, whatever you do decide, always make sure to have incredible substitute meals for those with dietary restrictions.
Setting Up Speeches
Keep. Them. Short. Of course, unless you possess a giant hook like you’ve seen in the movies, chances are the only wedding speech lengths you’ll be able to control are your own. That said, it doesn’t hurt to give those speaking some guidelines. Providing five-minute limits is smart, as is ensuring that the people speaking will not tremble in fear and end up beneath a table before taking the podium. Most of all, be sure to stagger the speeches – no one really wants to sit through all the speeches at once. Also, search people’s pockets ahead of time for embarrassing photos. You’ll thank us later!
The DJ Dance
As fun as a wedding band can be, your safest bet for appeasing the musical tastes of a large crowd is a great DJ. It’s important to make sure that your DJ is personable, flexible and interested in keeping a well-balanced playlist rolling throughout the night. While it is your reception and the music should mostly be skewed toward what you and your friends would like to hear, keep in mind that your more senior guests would like to boogie too. Thus, don’t condemn the oldies too much. Sometimes, it’s okay to go from Rihanna to The Righteous Brothers, or from Bruno Mars to the BeeGees.
Mingle with Guests
If you’ve invested a lot in the DJ, you certainly want to get your money’s worth on the dance floor. But, it’s equally critical to make time for those who have travelled and spent their hard-earned cash to help celebrate your wedding and future together. Yes, it’s near impossible to allocate enough time for everyone, but do your best to give out hugs, handshakes and words of thanks whenever possible. At the very least, join everyone on said dance floor. Sometimes, all people want from a wedding is a brief, but memorable moment with the newlyweds.