Look At The Typical Wedding Reception
Since 1990, I have planned literally hundreds of
wedding receptions with our clients. One thing that
I have learned is that there are numerous ways in which
to organize a wedding reception. The old days of managing
a wedding based on the book of etiquette have faded
away. In the last ten years, brides and grooms have
decided that the suggestions in the book of etiquette
were too rigid and that they didn't take into account
the specific circumstances of each wedding or the bride's
and the groom's personalities and personal preferences.
Fortunately, brides and grooms today tend to organize
and manage their wedding to suit their needs.
Let's take a look at the "typical" reception. Keep in
mind that the suggestions I offer here are only guidelines.
The sequence of events at a wedding varies from one
client to the next, and also varies from one part of
the country to another. As an entertainer, it is our
job to plan with each client exactly what reception
formalities will take place, and what sequence they
will follow, regardless of what part of the country
you are from. This provides our clients with the personalized
service they deserve.
Once the bride and groom have exchanged vows and rings,
and the ceremony is complete, the guests who attended
the wedding ceremony usually drive to the reception.
Normally, the bride, groom, and wedding party will stay
behind for photographs. The DJ will start background
music as the guests arrive, help themselves to hors
d'oeuvres, and begin to socialize.
Most of the receptions that I perform include the Bridal
Party Introduction. When this happens, the entire wedding
party and any parents are usually announced, although
occasionally this is scaled back to introducing just
the bride and groom. I take my duties as an Emcee seriously,
We take charge of lining up the wedding party for the
introductions. This is a perfect opportunity for me
to break the ice with the wedding party, and let them
know that we there to provide fun for everyone. It is
also a good opportunity to double-check the pronunciation
of the names of the wedding party as I line them up.
It's a good idea to keep anyone that is to be introduced
from going into the reception area. Otherwise, it will
take longer to get the introductions underway, if you
have to go back into the reception area and round up
the wedding party and parents.
After the bridal party has been introduced, the bride
and groom may opt to have a receiving line. In recent
years, receiving lines have become less popular than
they used to be in the 70/80's. One popular option to
a formal receiving line is to allow 20 to 30 minutes
after the Wedding Party Introduction for the bride and
groom to mingle with their guests, and use this opportunity
to thank them for coming. This option is attractive
because it doesn't force their guests to stand in a
Prior to the buffet/sit down dinner, it is customary
for a blessing to be performed. If there is a blessing
on the agenda, you will need to identify the person
to perform this in advance, so they are not taken by
surprised when they are called upon to perform this
The toast may be done just after the blessing, prior
to the meal being served. Equally as often, the toast
is done with the cake cutting after the meal. The decision
on this depends greatly on personal preferences. The
more formal the wedding, the more often the toast is
done prior to the meal, especially when a sit down dinner
Whenever you decide to include the toast, the Best Man
is usually the first person to offer the toast to the
bride and groom. The Best Man's toast is sometimes followed
by the father of the bride, who can propose a toast
for the bride's family. Then, the groom's father might
follow. This depends greatly on the personal preferences
of the bride's and/or groom's father.
The music during dinner is normally light background
music. However, it is not uncommon for a bride to request
that you play up-tempo oldies that will get people beginning
to tap their toes!
We will be paying close attention to the flow of dinner,
and make suggestions on when to move on to the next
formal event of the reception. As an experienced Emcee/DJ's
we will know when the time is right to move on to the
next event (usually the cake cutting).
This brings up a good question. Should I set a time
schedule for all of the reception formalities? I am
not particularly fond of setting a time schedule. Why?
First of all, time schedules almost never work. While
they can be used as a guideline, one little glitch throws
the entire schedule off track. As an experienced Emcee/DJ's,
We will be able to assist in making sure the flow of
your reception runs smoothly - making sure that the
reception doesn't become boring, as well as ensuring
that it isn't rushed.
The cutting of the wedding cake is one of the big highlights
of any wedding reception. We recommend that the bride
and groom cut the cake after dinner, just prior to starting
the dancing. In the event that you have older people
attending the reception, cutting the cake right after
dinner allows them to take part in this important tradition
prior to them leaving. Some people also like the idea
of serving the wedding cake as desert.
It is traditional for the bride and groom to cut the
first piece of cake together. The feeding of a piece
of cake to each other is usually customary. Often times,
the bride and/or groom smash the wedding cake in the
other's face. We have personally witnessed more than
one reception where the bride or groom became extremely
upset or angry after having the wedding cake smashed
in his or her face. This usually occurs after being
coaxed by some of the well-intended onlookers. This
obviously puts a damper on the rest of the reception.
For this reason, WE WILL NOT encourage the bride and
groom to smash the wedding cake, or make references
over the microphone such as "ok, is this going to be
a clean one, or a messy one"? Should the bride or groom
smash the wedding cake in the other's face, We could
be held responsible for this if we encouraged it.
Ok, the dinner has been served, the cake has been cut,
now its time for the fun to begin! Traditionally, the
bride and groom share their first dance as husband and
wife to lead off the dancing portion of the reception.
Occasionally, a bride and groom share their first dance
after the introductions, but that doesn't happen often
in my part of the country. We try to steer my clients
away from doing their first dance right after introductions.
As an entertainer, We want that "big moment" in the
first dance to start building momentum on the dance
floor. It doesn't make much sense to me to have the
first dance right after introductions, only to mix into
background music during dinner. Occasionally, a client
will want the dancing to start immediately, because
they plan to only have a light buffet that stays open
for the duration of the reception. In this event, having
the first dance right away isn't a problem.
Once the bride and groom complete their first dance,
a variety of parents and bridal party dances may take
place. The bride and her father, the groom and his mother,
the wedding party dance, etc, are all options that the
client can choose. The dance floor is usually opened
up to all of the bride and grooms guests after the parents
and bridal party dances have been completed, and this
is where things start to liven up!
The amount of interactivity and personality we deliver
is customized with each client prior to the wedding.
Do they want me to be fun and interactive, or do they
prefer that I use a more "low key" approach? Every bride
has her preference, and we will always customize your
performances to suit the bride & groom's tastes. Some
brides tell me that they saw a DJ (from another company)
at a recent wedding that just sat behind the equipment
table and played music. They go on to say that there
was little or no interaction to motivate the guests
- indicating further that the reception was boring because
the DJ didn't have the ability or initiative to motivate
On the other side of the spectrum, a few brides express
concern about the DJ going overboard with the interactive
approach. So how will we be that fun and interactive
Emcee/DJ, without getting carried away? When requested
to be fun and interactive, my goal is to strike a compromise
between the two extremes we have identified. we will
never be the "show-off" type of DJ who stands on chairs,
screaming at your guests. Instead, we like to do interactive
things that facilitate fun for the guests, and are careful
not to take the spotlight away from the most important
people that day: the bride and groom. Often times a
little interactivity and personality by the Emcee/DJ
is all that is necessary to give the guests a little
"nudge" to get out of their chairs, and on the dance
floor having fun!
The dollar dance is a tradition that is very common
in the northern parts of the country. This tradition
involves having the ladies line up to dance with the
groom, and the gentlemen lining up to dance with the
bride. Each person can make a donation of a dollar,
five dollars, ten dollars, or whatever they choose to
donate. We also offer this done as a "Dance With The
Bride & Groom" not for money. There are several variations
of the dollar dance, depending on which part of the
country you are from. In one variation, it is only the
bride who dances with the guests. One word of caution
- dollar dances take time away from open dancing for
everyone. During the dollar dance only four people,
at most, are dancing at any given time. Often times,
when open dancing is stopped to do the dollar dance,
it is difficult to get people back on the dance floor
at the conclusion of the dollar dance. While this is
not always the case, it is a consideration for any bride
and groom considering this formality for their reception.
Tradition holds that the person who catches the bouquet
may be the next bride. It used to be a foregone conclusion
that the bride would toss the bouquet, then the groom
would remove the garter from the bride's leg and toss
it to the single gentlemen in the crowd. After that,
the guy that caught the garter would place it on the
lady that caught the bouquet.
In recent years, brides who prefer to do things that
suit their needs and tastes are abandoning a lot of
wedding traditions. Often times, the bride will toss
the bouquet, but eliminate the garter removal. This
is all a matter of personal preferences.
When the bride chooses to toss the bouquet, she usually
has a "throw-away" bouquet specifically for this purpose.
One word of advice to give any bride tossing a bouquet
is to check for low ceilings or overhead obstructions
prior to making the toss. Often, a "line drive" toss
is necessary when a low ceiling or chandelier is encountered.
A "farewell" dance by the bride and groom is a great
way to end the reception on a positive and sentimental
note. During the farewell dance, invite the guests to
form a circle around the bride and groom to give them
a great send-off.
As you can see, there are a lot of details that need
to be planned, if you want the reception to run smoothly.
Planning the reception details of every wedding we perform
at is part of the service we offer. We are also then
your on-site coordinators for your reception because
it is up to us to make sure all of your services are
on the same page. This will make a STRESS FREE Reception
for you, and A GREAT PARTY for your Family & Guests