Wedding receptions are a whole lot of fun, not just for the guests but for the bride and groom. It’s the perfect opportunity for everyone to let their hair down and just have a good time. Sadly, not everyone is an event planning pro which means there may be a few mistakes along the way. While I iron out all the finer details with my clients, here’s a quick overview for those who aren’t sure where to begin.
1. Too much entertainment
Couples often worry about not having enough entertainment at their wedding reception when in reality they should be worrying about having too much! A few speeches and one family dance is okay, but if your guests feel forced to sit at their tables in silence for more than 30 consecutive minutes then you need to re work your schedule.
2. Bad music
One serious mistake to avoid is to impose your own music taste on your guests. You may love garage, hip-hop or Bollywood but don’t let this be the only thing you listen to all night. The evening should usually kick-start with some Bollywood, then lead into Bhangra, followed with some English chart hits and then moving on to anything more specific of your choice. Start off with the crowd pleasers so everyone gets a chance to have a boogie and as the evening starts to wind down focus on the tracks you love.
3. Late food service
This is one of the biggest faux pas of the night. People can forgive pretty much anything aside from late or bad food service. If the bride and groom are running super late (although there’s no reason why they should be) or for some reason the speeches start to feel too long, make sure you start to get the food out. The later you leave the food, the less time your guests have to party the night away and the more agitated they will start to become.
4. Long speeches
Following on from the above point, long speeches can really delay the evening. Try and limit the evening to three speeches. One representative from the bride’s side, one from the groom’s side and then one from the groom himself. Also make it clear to friends and family that speeches shouldn’t really be more than five minutes long. If they are going to be longer make sure you give your wedding planner a heads up.
5. Confusing table plans
If you’re going to have a seating plan, which let’s be honest most people should, then make sure the names on the list are legible. If they can’t be read it means people are going to be blocking the seating plan for a very long time trying to find their names. Also, make sure that you number your tables in a logical manner so your guests can find where they’re sitting easily. It may sound obvious, but don’t have table one at one end of the room and table two at the other.
6. Lack of welcome
This is something that is very easily overlooked by some couples and family members but is so easy to avoid. Your guests have made a special effort to travel from afar to be a part of your special day, so show them that you’re grateful. Perhaps ask your parents to form a receiving line at the entrance and make some time to specifically go to each table during the evening to say a personal thank you. It may not seem like a big deal, but trust me when I say your guests will appreciate it.
7. Cash bar
Now don’t be misled by this point. There’s nothing wrong with having a cash bar but ensure you have some supply of alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages that don’t need to be paid for. Perhaps start off with jugs of water and juice on the tables and if budget permits, a bottle or two of wine. Beers and signature cocktails can be served on a complimentary basis with other spirits and mixers available for purchase.