The Bride Tips Series is brought to you by New England Wedding DJ Chillin McMillin.
After being formally introduced to the reception and then going right into your first dance, you will glance around the room for a moment here and there and make eye contact with many of your friends and family. Some of them you may not have seen for quite some time and instantly become eager to go say hello and catch up.
It almost seems natural to start walking around the room right after any speeches/toasts or blessing, but I am writing here to highly suggest that you should remain at your sweetheart table and enjoy the moment with your new Husband or Wife. Let guests come to you during this time if you choose.
So many people may not realize the impact this short period has on the rest of the evening. Why would they? It’s not like they get married everyday of course. Here’s why this tip is so important to the flow of your reception.
I have been a New England Wedding DJ for just over 20 years as of this writing, and have tinkered and practiced with even the most subtle changes in timelines, all leading to a special formula. It’s actually really simple, and pretty much a golden rule. ~ Bride & Groom is served (and eats) first, then the wedding party and parents, then the rest of the guests.
Here is the magical flow. It looks like a lot, but trust me when I say it goes by in the blink of an eye, and I put how long each typically takes to give you a quick idea.
- Wedding Party Introductions (1 minute 20 seconds – Depending on party size)
- Bride & Groom Introductions (20 seconds)
- First Dance (3 minutes 45 seconds)
- Speeches / Toasts (5 minutes – Depending on how many hold the microphone)
- Blessing (1 minute – optional)
- Buffer time between blessing and when the first plate (salads) drops (about 1 to 2 minutes)
- Bride & Groom served
- Wedding Party, then Parents served
- After Bride & Groom has finished dinner, Mother & Father Dances (6 to 9 minutes)
- Cake Cutting (1 minute 30 seconds)
- Any DJ interaction with the guests – This is important. See this article. (About 10 minutes)
- (– this is the absolute best time to make those rounds – I promise! –)
- Last Dance
This formula works so well because everyone, including yourself is hungry. Especially after all the effort getting ready and looking amazing! Perhaps you have had a few pre-wedding cocktails, and the photographers or videographers had been stealing you away from snacks for those all those very important shots all day. You will only realize how hungry you are after the second person you visit at their table making the rounds.
Let’s back up just a tiny bit and consider a few other things about the kitchen staff. After preparing and timing a meal for a range of 80 to 300 guests, typically they are ready start serving right after your introduction, especially if the meals are hot. Some of the first plates that were prepared will cool fast, so dinner will not wait. This rings especially true for weddings that have 150+ attendees.
Of course, the staff will place your meal on the table whether you are sitting there or not, but I will say that 100% of the time when the Bride & Groom heads out to make rounds at the guest tables before eating, they always come back to a cold dinner.
Now when it comes to the flow, imagine that you are at your sweetheart table and you are eating as planned. There are a few of your family members and guests that come up to both of you to say hello, while in the background, the staff is most likely about half way through serving the guests. Everyone is chatting with each other and catching up while your favorite taste of background music being played by DJ Chillin McMillin ~ Shameless plug LOL. Some are at the bar getting their drinks for dinner at this time.
Fast forward about 20 minutes and you have finished your meals. The DJ should be checking on you to see if you’d like to have your mother and father dances, then cake cutting while making sure your parents and everyone is the room. This is the perfect time to have these dances because all of your guests are still finishing up their meals. Additionally, this is a pivotal moment in the atmosphere of the room. The lights are dimmed slightly, and conversations start to pan out leading up to dancing and socializing.
After the Cake Cutting and Mother / Father Dances is the perfect segway for your DJ to get the final feel about your crowd, and the crowd to get to know your DJ. This should be a time for a few quick, but effective activities, and should take no longer than 10 minutes for this entertainment spot. I explain the importance of this segment in more detail in this article.
Now is the best time to make the rounds!
If you didn’t eat when your food comes out, 90% of the time, it stalls the rest of the timeline by about a half hour to an hour and a half. Yes, that means less dancing, and very antsy guests. They will start milling around and will not want to remain seated for those important and key moments in the timeline.
Even to this day I find it both crazy, yet, simplistic when it comes to the science of the evening flow, and I hope this tip has helped, and I wish you the best wedding celebration possible, and a very happy, healthy, and loving future with your new partner by your side through every moment.
Just remember the golden rule, You eat first, and the rest of the evening falls right into place.