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Helpful Time-Saving Tips for Your Wedding Reception

haas-spivey2Most wedding venues have a rental time of six hours or less for your reception. Think about all of the moving elements that take place at a wedding reception: photos, dances, toasts, dinner, cake cutting. What is the best way to perform all of these wedding formalities and still have time to dance the night away with your family and friends? Take it from someone that has over four years experience, is recently married, and has witnessed over 300 weddings from start to finish. Get it all out of the way as quick as you can!! Even though all of your guests are there to celebrate your marriage, it can be hard to keep their attention as the night goes on.

After your finished taking photos with your bridal party and the cocktail hour is wrapping up, the next transition would be for your band or DJ to announce the bridal party, the parents, and the new Mr. and Mrs. This is where your options begin! Some couples go straight into the FOB and MOG dances directly after their first dance, and some wait until after dinner has been served. Go ahead and knock it out! You already have everyone’s attention, you’re already center stage on the dance floor, so you might as well check that box. Taking this route is truly going to save you time! I’ve seen it a dozen times – after your guests have eaten dinner they are ready to get the party started. Some people may be using the restroom, socializing, or going back to the buffet line for seconds once you decide to start those dances. This is more than likely going to cost you some of your precious time trying to gather everyone back together in the same spot.haas-spivey8

An additional time saving tip regarding the FOB and MOG dances is don’t feel like it’s necessary to dance to the entire song. This can save you some time and maybe even some awkwardness. My dad was extremely happy to get all eyes off of him as soon as possible! Most bands and DJs can play the majority of the song and then fade it out with no problem.

As far as dinner is concerned, buffet dinners are truly the best way to go! Don’t get me wrong – plated meals are great…for 30 people. It will take double the time for the wait staff to go to each table and serve a plated meal to 100+ guests compared to a buffet dinner. A great way for your guests to get their food more quickly is to have either a double-sided buffet or two-mirrored buffets. This will help with the flow of traffic, and having the majority of everyone eating at the same time. No one likes to be sitting at the last table to be tapped, 45 minutes after the first table has finished.

Once you have finished your meal, go ahead and cut your cake! It doesn’t matter if some of your guests are still eating! That just means more people will still be sitting in the dining area and able to watch you! If you try and wait until everyone is finished, you once again may find it hard to gather everyone back. After you cut your cake and the servers are passing out slices to your guests, this is also a perfect opportunity for speeches.

0447-betsyjeremywed_0907Staying on the topic of time-saving tips, limit the speeches to only the maid of honor and best man, if at all possible. If your parents would like to give a toast, or possibly show an embarrassing slide show, do that the night before at the rehearsal dinner. Most of your guests probably have a great memory of you, funny story to tell, or just want to tell you how happy they are for you. If you let everyone give a speech that wanted to you would have hardly any time to interact and mingle with your guests. Also don’t be afraid to give your maid of honor and best man a friendly suggestion to limit their speech to five minutes. That may seem short but sit back and think for a second how long five minutes is. You can say a lot about your dear friends in that time. When speeches last too long, your others guests can get restless and distracted.

The only activity I would save until the later in the evening is the bouquet and garter toss. Give everyone and yourself a chance to unwind and let loose! Believe me, if you overthink the timing of all of these wedding festivities, you will find yourself spending the majority of your night doing “things”. When all you really want to do is spend time with the people you love most, enjoy some cocktails, and bust a move on the dance floor. So again, knock it all out at the beginning of the reception while you can. Your wedding day is going to go by faster than you would ever think and the last thing you want is to realize is that its midnight and you didn’t get a chance to speak to Aunt Linda, that drove all the way from Kentucky for your BIG day. Keep in mind what is truly important – don’t let traditions, checklists, or tasks hijack your evening.

My last tip is that it is a very rare occurrence if your wedding day goes exactly according to plan, and that’s OK! Trust me, no one will ever notice that the candles on the mantel didn’t get lit or that your hair doesn’t look exactly like the Pinterest photo. Just remember to enjoy the moment because it goes by way too fast! Don’t sweat the small stuff!!


Candace Tait
Event Director at The Crossing


883 Highland Avenue SE
Hickory, North Carolina 28602
Open Mon - Sat at 5pm

Carolina Moon Hospitality