So you want an amazing wedding reception? We are privileged to have personally been a part of thousands of weddings. From this we have seen almost anything you can imagine. From the traditional to the completely bizarre! Regardless of the type of wedding you want to have, there are some basic fundamentals which will be the same. These 7 fundamentals are the keys to making your reception an experience your guests will be talking about for years to come … for all the right reasons!
Wedding Reception Tips
1. Choose your venue carefully – Be very careful ensuring your venue is consistent with your vision. First, make sure you actually have a clear vision of what you want from your special day. Is there a specific theme you are going for? For example, if you are going for a rustic, old fashioned theme make sure your venue matches that theme. It would be a strange theme to bring into a modern impressive tower of metal and glass! Instead, you would choose a “barn” style venue for your wedding reception.
Also, check your venue’s noise restrictions. Do they have any? If so, what is their dB limit. Then educate yourself what that means. Check this noise level comparison chart. On paper a 70dB limit doesn’t mean much and you might think it would be loud enough. 100dB is about the sound in most nightclubs, therefore you might think 70dB isn’t too much less … but it is a LOT less! Why? Because dBs (decibels) are not measured on a linear scale but based on a logarithmic scale. (Don’t worry, we won’t get too scientific) but, a good rule of thumb is that each 10dB halves the volume. So (roughly) 90dB is half the volume of 100dB. 80dB is half that again etc.
The single best thing you can do is to download on your smart phone an SPL meter and measure some sounds yourself. Remember, a typical room of about 100 people chattering measures about 80dB. If the music is at the same level as people chattering, this would mean it would largely go unheard.
2. Choose your DJ carefully – We might be biased of course, but … we believe a DJ is the one element that can either keep everyone happy and having a great time, or completely ruin the night and have everyone leaving at their first chance. Investing your time and effort into finding a good DJ that has a good reputation, uses good quality equipment, has a great personality and attitude, has great music knowledge and has worked at many weddings is invaluable. Remember, a good DJ is not cheap and a cheap DJ is not good. Like anything in life, you pay for what you get.
3. Pick an unforgettable entry song – This is the first moment you are introduced (by your MC) into the room as Mr & Mrs! A good MC will have warmed the room up and have them all on the edges of their seats just ready to really fill the room with electricity when you enter. The song you choose here should reflect that mood. Don’t pick a slow love song. This is very old fashioned and boring. Choose something that says “Here we are! Let’s party!”. This is your grand entrance to your wedding reception.
4. Choose a great cake cutting song – Couples will often forget to choose a song for cake cutting. We suggest choosing something that is “middle of the road”. Not too soft and lovey, but not upbeat either. Think middle ground. Mostly, by the time the cake cutting comes around, people have already heard a lot of slower songs, so picking up the mood a little for this is nice.
5. Choose a memorable first dance song – This is the song that you will hear on the radio in years to come and say “They are playing our song”. This is a very special song. Don’t necessarily pick something that is popular or because everyone else is choosing it. Pick something that says something about you as a couple and lyrically expresses your love. Carefully check the lyrics, because a lot of break up songs sound nice musically, but lyrically are giving a completely different message.
6. Get your order of events right – We have seen so many wedding receptions that go against our recommended order of events. This generally makes the night very difficult to control musically and to ensure your guests are having a great time. One big tip is DO NOT have any speeches, dessert or anything else to interrupt after the first dance. Once the first dance is played, this is the indication to all your guests that it is time to dance and have a great time. If this first dance is followed by dessert, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to get everyone back up and ready to dance again. Remember, get all the speeches and eating out of the way BEFORE your first dance.
7. Use a professional Master of Ceremonies (MC) – This is a big one. Many couples fail to understand the crucial role a Master of Ceremonies plays in the success of a wedding. Often couples will choose a family member that they believe is a good speaker. Being a professional Master of Ceremonies means MUCH more than just being able to speak well. There isn’t room in this article to go into the responsibilities of an MC, but the person you choose as MC will be very busy as they are YOUR personal representation to the venue and other suppliers. They are responsible for working closely with the venue and your suppliers and relay messages and happenings back to you to keep you informed what is happening. They are also responsible for ensuring the time schedule is followed as closely as possible and keeping things on track. Of all jobs at a wedding, the MC probably has the most stressful and difficult job. Oddly enough, people seem to think it is just someone to make announcements. This is only a very small part of the massive weight the MC must carry on their shoulders. We suggest hiring a professional MC and not choosing a family member or friend, because whilst you might love them and thing they are a great person, they are very likely unskilled and unaware of the true responsibilities of a wedding Master of Ceremonies.
We hope this has been of help to you in planning the wedding reception for your special day.