- Rick Ryan
4 Secrets to the Perfect Wedding Reception
I meet regularly with brides (and grooms) to be and the most common comment I hear is “This is the first time we’ve done this.” This is usually followed up by an hour of machine-gun-style tips and suggestions (from me) but I realize that sometimes it’s a lot to take in and digest. I’d like to use this blog to share those ideas and concepts and hopefully help you to make the right decisions on how to structure YOUR special day.
There simply is no substitute for proper planning. The diligence you do here will pay off in a smoothly-run event but even more importantly, it will pay off in putting your mind at ease and to understand better what to expect. It’s always best to write out a Timeline of Events for your wedding and it’s almost always a good idea to employ someone you can trust to help you in this process, ideally someone who has experience with this.
Now keep in mind, a Timeline of Events is a game plan. It’s quite likely that your event will not follow the script exactly but that written timeline will give your vendors a clearer picture of how you want things to go and it will also give you peace of mind that all the details are taken care of, letting you actually enjoy the evening instead of worrying about it.
#2 Start Strong, Finish Strong
The moment your guests walk into your Wedding Reception is perhaps the most crucial of the entire evening. They should be greeted by soft (dimmed) lighting and quiet, beautiful music. This is also where uplighting comes into play. The goal is that you want them to pause in the doorway and tilt their heads back in order to take it all in. We call it the “tilt back effect”. Anytime we see this, I know we’re off to a good start.
The second strong start you want is the Grand Entrance, or the introduction of the Bridal Party. This is THE moment of your arrival. Even if you’re the shy type who doesn’t want to be the center of attention, understand that this evening is also about your guests. A great Grand Entrance is another great way to set the tone and raise the expectations of your guests. When you raise the energy level here, it pays off throughout the evening. Finally, make sure you have a strong, and definite exit. Without a definite exit, guests end up “sneaking out” and that dampens their perception of your event and how great it was.
#3 Room Focus Events
Most wedding receptions follow the same general format but I see a wide variety in how the special events are handled. One of the biggest mistakes I see made is when things like First Dance, Parent Dances and Cake are stacked up, back-to-back. The comment usually is “We’re going to get those out of the way.” BIG mistake. These special events are traditional elements of any good wedding celebration and we term those “Room Focus Events”.
We recommend that you spread RFEs throughout the evening. It’s always best to spread these events at 20-30 minute intervals, throughout the evening. First, it keeps your guests entertained but it also works to re-center the group’s attention and holding their attention will pay off in holding them longer at the event itself.
#4 Let it Unfold Naturally
Your Wedding Reception is a huge event in the life of a young lady. You plan and plan and plan and every detail must be perfect and especially so if you’re a micro-manager type. No matter how detailed your plans may be, you must keep in mind that your event involves people and the one constant about dealing with people is that there are no constants. Each Wedding Reception is different and has its own ebb and flow of energy and this just isn’t something you control. You have to let it unfold, naturally. Do your diligence and planning up-front but when it comes to the day-of, sit back and take it all in. Don’t let some small, un-planned event take away your joy and ruin your memories.
I trust that you find something in this blog that will be helpful in planning for your own special day.
Ryan Acres Wedding & Event Venue