Wedding Reception: 9 ways to IMPROVE your wedding reception that you DIDN’T know about
Have you ever wished you could jump in a time capsule and watch your wedding reception video before the big day? With lockdown easing and excitement building, your wedding day is looking more of a reality than ever. Are you at the initial planning stage or do you have your wedding organised and that dress all sewn up? Wait…take a step back a minute please. You do this once. We do this all the time. With wedding entertainment experience coming out of our ears, we’ve seen nearly every scenario play out. Therefore, we want to share with you 9 ways to improve your wedding reception that you didn’t know about.
1. Put Someone In Charge of your Wedding Reception
Firstly, this might seem a daft thing to say, but we’ve seen so many weddings where nobody and I mean nobody is in charge of running the day. Putting someone in charge takes the stress off you completely. Secondly, don’t be a control freak running around trying to direct every aspect of your special day. It’s only going to end in disappointment. Thirdly, leave these responsibilities to the best man, wedding planner or toastmaster. Wedding receptions go off without a hitch when everyone knows their wedding day duties. Why not nominate a key person to show guests in to the wedding reception? Have a toastmaster to call the guests in to dinner or ask your best man to liaise with the band to create a surprise entrance (more on that below).
Our Pro Tip: If it’s not a professional, make sure the person you put in charge understands and can carry out your requests.
2. Make a grand entrance at your Wedding Reception
Your arrival at the wedding reception and transition from the service is, from our experience a part of the day quite often overlooked. In other words, it’s important to make everything feel seamless as you take everyone on your special journey. So, how can you make a grand entrance, especially to a wedding reception?
Consider the distance between the location of your wedding service and wedding reception. If it’s a short drive, have you considered open topped buses for guests? If they are close by and within walking distance, have an acoustic band parade you and your guests out of the service and into the reception.
Alternatively, if your guests are heading straight to the reception, get them settled in with a glass of champagne and canapé in hand. Then get your ‘person in charge’ above to announce the arrival of the happy couple to rasping hand claps and celebratory cheers. You could even enhance your arrival with a musical performance, creating the perfect walk in to soundtrack that any celebrity chat show host would be proud of. We performed for Michael Parkinson once did you know?
Our Pro Tip: Create a grand entrance one way or another. It really adds another dimension to your special day.
3. Be Flexible
Many of the schedules that are sent over to us in advance never ever run to time on the day. “15:03 the arrival of the bridal cars”. Seriously? When have we ever seen that happen. The answer is NEVER. Brides are notoriously late. I mean it’s part of the the deal right? Making your partner nervously wait, and making that grand entrance we just talked about. A late running wedding service means a late running wedding reception. Therefore this consequently means a shorter wedding reception. Why? Because most venues will want to call everyone in to dinner at the time scheduled as food is involved (getting hungry? Your guests will be. More on that below). If you are having a wedding receiving line then this needs to be set up early – they take longer than you think you know.
Our Pro Tip: Avoid disappointment and factor in extra time. Book entertainers for longer than you expect. Work with a flexible professional band that can adapt to time changes on the spot.
4. Have a Back Up Plan for your Wedding Reception
So what happens when it rains? Do you really trust the good old British weather? Don’t soak through your guests. We’ve talked about being flexible. So be prepared for your wedding reception to take place indoors and you won’t be disappointed. Unfortunately you can’t pay for the weather. Nicola from Heaton House Events explains how they do things below:-
“When considering venues and suppliers for your special day we also advise our couples to check that there is a plan B option should the unpredictable Great British weather prevail! At Heaton House Farm, we always plan for the ‘best case’ scenario which often includes taking full advantage of our stunning grounds by having an outdoor ceremony or drinks reception with live music and garden games. We also ensure that we have a plan B area ready to go, should you need to move everything indoors at the last moment, allowing you to still have all those special elements that you have planned!”
– Nicola Absolom (Specialist Events Manager at Heaton House Farm)
What happens if some of your wedding guests get stuck in traffic? Something to consider if there’s some travelling to do between venues. It will delay your reception, so have some entertainment ready to help fill the time and emptier space.
Our Pro Tip: Have a contingency for every situation. Make sure suppliers can adapt. For example, the band can down-tool and up sticks quickly. Be flexible.
5. Beware of The Photographer
Those family and group photographs shouldn’t take that long. We’ve seen it so many times, guests looking fed up, the photographer taking too much time. The band not performing because the photographer’s told them to keep quiet whilst he gives out his never ending instructions. A great photographer doesn’t put heavy demands on your day. In fact you don’t even notice their attendance. They don’t get in the way. They don’t upset the flow of the event and they look smart. The swankiest wedding venue, with guests dressed to the nines…and a photographer in jeans and a t-shirt. Seriously? Do double check what they will be wearing on the day. I know they are behind the camera, but it’s probably not the look you want on your big day.
We’ve worked alongside many superb photographers. But with Helen Abraham Photography, you’re really in safe hands. Helen has this bit of superb advice for couples when choosing their photographer:
Your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions of the day. Beyond the marriage itself the images will last a lifetime and leave a family legacy for your children and grandchildren. It’s an opportunity to capture beautiful images of your loved ones together. A wedding day passes so quickly and your photographer is there to capture those moments you will inevitably miss. Choose a photographer that you connect with – they will be spending all day with you. You need to love their imagery and for it to provoke a heart reaction. You need to care about the people in their images in their portfolio even though you don’t know them – because your photographer will have shown a part of their soul that will make you smile! You need to trust your photographer enough to give them creative space to work in a free way – not directed by a list.
– Helen Abraham
Our Pro Tip: Be clear with the photographer when you want any group shots to take place. Ask the band at this point to take a natural break.
6. Food Glorious Food. Or Not.
So you’re feeding your guests right? They’ll get hungry and the food you provide at the wedding reception will be the first thing they’ve probably eaten since breakfast. Make sure you provide nibbles! They’ll thank you later.
Another thing that often gets overlooked is providing refreshments for your team. Make sure you have notified your caterers in advance that your wedding suppliers should be fed and watered. This means the photographer, the band, the magician and any crew that’s working on site. They are more than likely travelling a long way to be there. We’ve seen arguments between suppliers and caterers mid-reception which quite frankly doesn’t leave a nice taste in anyone’s mouth.
Did you know we performed for Robert Smith from the Cure a few years back. He had a 3-course meal ready for us on arrival plus the rest. No further comment.
Our Pro Tip: Feed your suppliers. Treat them like your guests as they’ll be doing their best to make your day the best it can be. Manage expectations in advance.
7. Spatial Awareness
I remember one particular wedding we performed at. A grand old venue. Who made the decision to hold the reception in a room which contained several side rooms I ask? Result = total disaster. What happened? You guessed it, all the guests split off in to different rooms and the band was told after the event they couldn’t be seen or heard. Maybe they’d thought half the wedding guests had left too!
When you plan your reception. Think about the space. Is it big enough? Is there space for the band to perform? Will guests feel jammed in? Will there be seats to sit down? Can drinks be carried around safely? – we see many knocks and spillages, and hundreds of pounds of ruined wedding attire. I haven’t even mentioned the dry cleaning bills.
For instance, ask your venue to nominate a room put aside for your suppliers, so they can get changed, eat away from guests and have somewhere to leave equipment. They’ll thank you for it.
Our Pro Tip: Consider the space and what’s taking place in it. Is it suitable and a good fit for your requirements?
8. Use Professional Suppliers (Especially entertainers)
After all is said and done. There’s no way to turn back the clock. The decisions you make before your wedding can have an impact on the day and beyond that’s non-changeable. How did those photographs turn out in the end? What was the biggest talking point of the day? So you might save yourself a few quid but in the long run professional services cost what they do because they deliver. One could argue it’s easier to judge a photographers work than a performance from a band. With a band comes much more uncertainty. Will they turn up? Will they perform at the appropriate volume?
Our Pro Tip: Use professional suppliers with accreditation and a proven track record. Anything else and you might end up with egg on your face.
9. Enjoy It
Whilst this point seems obvious and will probably be said to you hundreds of times before the big day, it’s actually quite hard to do if you don’t have everything in order. With a lack of organisation comes stress. With stress comes unhappiness and this will show on your big day. We’ve performed at a few weddings where we’ve been totally ignored by the happy couple. Can you believe it! Performing music is an interactive activity and by showing us you are enjoying things, it makes us want to strive even further to make your day super special.
See how we can do this for you by watching our video below.
Our Pro Tip: Speak and thank your suppliers on the day or afterwards. It makes them feel an extra bit special.
In conclusion, as professional performers we see many styles and types of wedding. The thing that seems to differentiate one from another tends to be the level of care that is shown to everyone attending on the day. The wedding industry has been hit really hard due to COVID-19 and for it to bounce back every consideration needs to be made to help not only Bride and Grooms to be but wedding venues, caterers and suppliers including entertainers.
We haven’t performed as many weddings as we would have liked in 2020 and 2021 (so far), yet we hope our 9 ways to IMPROVE your wedding reception that you DIDN’T know post has been really helpful. Whether your big day is round the corner in 2021 or on the horizon sometime in 2022.
Remember, delegating duties takes the stress off and working with professional suppliers (and treating them nicely!) allows you both to relax not only in the run up to the event, but on the day itself. Ultimately if everyone else is enjoying it, so will you.
Whatever stage your wedding plans, we’d always welcome a chat and coffee over zoom to help you brainstorm ways to further improve your wedding reception.
For Your FREE Entertainment Guide, Book an Event Discovery Call NOW or call us today on the number above to discuss your wedding plans.