From experience, I discourage these. Not the ceremony….Just the reception. By all means, have a beautiful outdoor ceremony. But don’t make your guests suffer outside in the heat for more than 20-30 minutes. If your guests are uncomfortable because they are hot and sweaty, then they will certainly go home early. Also, if they are already hot, dancing would only make them hotter, therefore, the chances of them dancing is going to be a lot less than if they were in an air conditioned environment.
Another reason – bugs. No one likes bugs crawling on them, flying near them, or especially on their food. Another reason people will go home early.
Ultimately, outdoor weddings are truly not as festive as indoor weddings. Firstly, the aforementioned reason of heat. Secondly, being outside where the daylight lights up everything around them, and no way to dance under low lighting, makes most guests feel uncomfortable and insecure. Many won’t dance because of this, no matter how great the music is. Atmosphere and mood has a lot to do with the success of your reception.
2) BRIDE AND GROOM DANCING
By all means, DANCE at your wedding! Your guests will dance more if the guests of honor are dancing too. If they see you having fun, then they will be more comfortable to get out there and dance. This doesn’t mean you have to be out there ALL NIGHT (unless you want to) but talk to guests earlier in the night, immediately following dinner, by going around and speaking with those guests you don’t get to see too often. The ones you see on a regular basis will not be offended if you don’t spend time talking with them. They all know it’s your wedding day and you want to have fun, and dancing is a big part of it.
3) BEST TIME TO TAKE PICTURES
Tradition says the Bride and Groom should not see each other until the ceremony. If you don’t mind disregarding this, taking all pictures before the ceremony can be a very convenient time. Or at the very least, taking the pictures that don’t involve seeing each other (which is a good bulk of them) will really save time after the ceremony. When you shorten the gap between the ceremony and the reception for your guests, everyone is much happier, and the photographer will not be rushed to get all his shots. Plus make up, hair and clothing will look fresher in photos.
4) CHILDREN AT THE WEDDING?
When deciding to include children at the ceremony and reception, the bride and groom should examine the atmosphere they envision. Children can provide a great deal of charm and levity and they often look precious in formal wear.
Since a wedding is a family event it may seem appropriate to have the entire family in attendance, but the bride and groom need to feel comfortable with the “spontaneity” of children. They can have a very short attention span and may lose patience in the middle of the ceremony. If you plan to have children attend the reception, their parents might want to bring toys and books to keep them busy.
Also, if you plan on having a sit-down dinner, a separate location for pizza or some other type of food for children is always a good idea, because most children either wouldn’t eat the expensive meal you are providing or are too distracted to finish most of it. So “kid food” is a cheaper alternative, especially if you expect many children!
Children can bring magic to the wedding or added stress – it depends on your personalities and the atmosphere you would like to create. Children are definitely great “ice breakers” for the dance floor, as they have no inhibitions about getting out there and dancing!
5) CAKE CUTTING – TO SMASH OR NOT TO SMASH?
No matter how much your guests push you to smash it in each others face, simply don’t do it. After spending all that time and money on getting your hair and make-up done, why would you want to possibly ruin it with cake? This would really make an elegant wedding go bad in the long run, especially if one of you, by human nature, takes it too far and someone gets hurt. Who cares what they think. If you don’t want to smash cake, then don’t let your guests influence you. Feed each other nicely, and then go dance your 1st dance together. Looking back, you’ll be so glad you didn’t do it. Otherwise you’ll be spending time in the bathroom cleaning up and your wedding timeline will be abruptly on hold.
An alternative to fully smashing it in each others face is a nice little dab of icing on each others cheek or nose, and then kissing it off. It’s a good way to satisfy those cheering you on, but keeps it clean, and sweet.
Better yet, if you don’t want to take the chance of either of you smashing it in each others face, then feed each other with forks. I would hope that you wouldn’t chance stabbing each other with forks just to smear cake on the other’s face.
6) THOSE “PLAYED OUT” WEDDING SONGS
Many people are sick of songs like “Celebration” and “Mony Mony” or “YMCA” and “The Chicken Dance” and if you definitely can’t stand songs like that, by all means, tell your DJ and insist that they not be played. There are hundreds of great party songs and five, six or seven hours is still a short time; you shouldn’t have to sit through something you hate during your own wedding. But if you don’t mind those songs, give your DJ some leeway because sometimes songs like that will do wonders to get a party kick started. What you might find as “cheesy”, twenty others might find as a fun party song. You must also think of your guests and what they like, not just yourself, when picking and choosing songs, and saying “no” to certain songs. There is only 2 of you, but 100-300 of them! And finally, if you love these songs, play ’em all! We always say, “Celebration” got played out for one reason and one reason only, it’s a fun party song!
7) THE LAST DANCE
Ending a party is sometimes just as important as how you begin. And many couples like to select and personalize this moment to leave the right “last impression.” If you select a slow song, the party will wind down with a romantic tone and many brides and grooms want it that way. One choice would also be the “other 1st dance” song that you might have been torn between when you decided on your first dance song. Either way is appropriate and will leave an impression that your party was all about the love between the newlyweds. Going out the door with an upbeat song is the other option and if you want to leave your guests with the impression that the “Celebration” went on all night, that’s the way to do it. Plus people seem to leave with their spirits still lifted after an upbeat song. Neither way is wrong, slow or fast. It’s all a personal preference to you.
8) THE HONEYMOON
Try to avoid leaving for your honeymoon immediately after the reception. This can invite disappointment and ill feelings since both of you will be extremely exhausted right after the wedding. Give yourselves a day or two to open gifts, sleep late and slow down from the stress and pressure of your wedding day. Plus, you don’t need the added burden of packing for your honeymoon before your wedding. That can be done after the big day. You will enjoy that first night of honeymoon romance much more with a day of rest beforehand!
About the Author: Brian Harris is a single operating mobile disc jockey from Dayton OH that specializes in Weddings. A professional musician in the music field for over 17 years has given him the head-start and ease for performing in front of large audiences, and knowing how to conduct himself as a consummate “professional”. In 1997, Brian started All Music By Design, and nearly ten years later, has become one of Dayton’s most requested and referred entertainment companies. More than 80% of Brian’s new customers have been referred by previous clients. Brian’s style is elegant and classy, yet fun and entertaining!