Figuring out what to do with your guests after the ceremony depends on a few factors. Based on location of the reception, what guests you want in the post ceremony pictures, and what the food plans are, post ceremony plans can vary greatly. Hopefully after this blog, however, you will have some good ideas as to what to do with your guests after the ceremony ends. While it is the couples big day, caring for your guests is important because they are the people in your lives that you care enough about to want them to be with you on your big day!
First of all, the wedding dj should be playing soft background music during the start of the reception to allow people to mingle and not have to talk over the music. If the ceremony is in the same location as the reception, having some light hor d'oeuvres and drinks available is preferred to give your guests something to do while you are taking your pictures. If the ceremony is in a different location, this is still the case; just make sure you let the family that you want pictures with know to stick around after the ceremony.
Another idea to consider is to allow the guest to help themselves to the buffet as soon as they arrive at the reception. This will give you a little more time to take pictures without your guests getting antsy, and keep the thrifty families from having to have hor d'oeuvres available as well. Another pro to allowing guests to start at the buffet as soon as they arrive at the reception is that it saves time during the reception by keeping the line steady at the buffet table. This is beneficial for brides that have a limited amount of time at the reception location or are just wanting more of a party than a dinner. One drawback, however, is that guests could get bored if the bride and groom wanted to take post ceremony pictures, take 20+ minutes to eat, and talk to all of their guests. Basically the food is a way to keep guests entertained while the bride and groom are doing all of those things, and if you take 30 minutes for pictures some guest might be done eating before you arrive at the reception. If you want a plated dinner, it is best to go with the hor d'oeuvres and start the dinner after the "Grand Introduction" of the bride and groom.
The grand introduction is the announcement that the bride and groom have arrived at the reception location. This is of utmost importance because it sets the tone for the rest of the reception, based on if you want a more elegant reception or more of an energetic party. The MC for the reception can set the tone you want, and also give the guests a preview of what is to come later on in the reception. If you want to include the wedding party in the grand introduction you definitely can, just make sure to keep their announcements somewhat brief because a long introduction of the wedding party tend to drag on too long for the guests.
Finally, keep in mind for your plans the amount of time key vendors will be at the event. This topic will be discussed in a later blog, but realize that if you are wanting a sit down dinner, hor d'oeuvres before the dinner, and have a meet and greet time with the guests, you may have to rush through other events like the cake cutting and the bouquet toss if you only have the photographer available for 2 hours during the reception. In the end, however, as long as you consider what you would want if you were a guest, you can keep your guest entertained so that they stay longer and enjoy the day more. There is nothing better than to make raving fans of your wedding because your guest had such a good time and never felt like they were just hanging around to support you.
DJ Matt "The Wedding Specialist"
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