Generally Speaking...

Hi Folks!

I recently attended a wedding that had an interesting flow. It’s not that it was bad, but either there was too much thought or not enough thought put on the planning process for the course of the event.  It’s your day. How you decide to plan, prepare and celebrate is completely up to you, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your wedding day doesn’t bump into awkward moments for you and your guests.  Here's what happened...

The ceremony started right on time which was great.  Guests stood for the entrance of the bride... and then we stayed that way.  Awkward stares and heads turned because the officiate forgot to tell everyone to sit back down.  How long would we be standing? Should we go ahead and place our rears back down to a comfortable position?  Well luckily within 2 minutes of the ceremony starting, the “I Do’s” were spoken, the vows came shortly thereafter, and in total we only stood for about 7 minutes. My friend said it best.  Short and sweet is great, but it "left a little to be desired". Onto to round 2...

Cocktail hour was good with pulled pork canapés and fried macaroni and cheese balls.  The open bar was a big hit and right at 6:30 PM we made our way into the dining room to find our seats. Luckily we were situated right on the dance floor, so we thought. Onto round 3, and round 3, and round 3...

2 hours passed and no dancing occurred. 2!  The bride and groom made their entrance along with the bridal party- standard.  The bride and groom had their first dance, and typically this is where the band leader or DJ would announce “the couple would like to invite everyone up to the dance floor…” etc. My friend and I waited for it, but nothing.  We decided that after eating a full dinner, after a champagne toast from the best man and maid of honor, and after 2 hours of sitting that it was time to dance. We were nearing 9:00 PM and I had yet to be twirled. 

I agree with this point whole-heartily... YOU SHOULD ALWAYS WAIT until you are invited on to the dance floor. But 2 hours of solitary sitting when Van Morrison, Michael Buble, and Otis Redding were playing and not being taken advantage of, my friend and I decided to be bold and go for it. We stepped on the dance floor and we got some claps and cheers from the crowd. Then all of a sudden my friend jerked his eyebrows and we saw the Bride and her dad walking up to the dance floor. We felt a little sheepish and our 30 seconds of fame fell short, but finally some movement. 

After the bride and her dad finished, the DJ finally announced everyone back to the floor.  Then it happened.  The theme song from the Twilight Saga played. My friend and I decided to sit that one out and we’d wait for the next song. So we did… It was Nelly’s “It’s Getting Hot in Here”. Then it was Ludacris. Then it was 50 Cent… what was happening?  Where were Van and Otis and Chuck Berry, and all of the greats that lead to an amazing dance party? The sentiments my friend and I shared regarding the music was also shared by the rest of the guests as only the bridal party and the bride herself were on the dance floor "cutting a rug".  Hey awkward moment! Over here, over here!  Because of a lack of participation on the dance floor the bridal party  went around to each of the tables and asked guests to get up and dance. Good grief.  

When the alcohol settled in and grandma made her way on to the dance floor (PS Shout out to grandma for being completely awesome) the awkward knee bouncing, hands in the air swaying, "what the hell is this music?" faces came out and the night played on.  Hi awkward moment's brother!  About every 3-4 songs people cleared the dance floor again and again because the music was just bad. Finally some Michael Jackson and other classic goodness made its way out there. But it was a little too late...the bride had her mind on in da’ club music and there was no way around it. As hard as I tried, and believe me I tried, my friend said it best "there was just no way to dance to this music".  He was great and drank the pain of horrid base lines, booty bouncing, drop it low notes away and did his thing.  Major kudos to him. 

SO what’s my point? Take the time to plan your reception make sure there is a flow to the night.  Not only so you have a great time, but your guests do as well and aren’t stuck in their chairs wondering when they can physically move.  Please consider your music choices as well. Leave the rap and urban club hits for later in the evening.  People get awkward when they know music is inappropriate for the occasion.

The Knot has a great flow for a wedding reception I stuck my own descriptions in there, but couldn’t agree more with the “itinerary”:

1. The Cocktail Hour
Take your pictures, rest up, eat some snacks privately with your new spouse. Your guests are using this time to munch of goodies, socialize and take advantage of your bar situation.

2. Newlyweds' Arrival/First Dance
Your band leader or announcer is going to announce the bridal party and then you! You’ll go right into your first dance.  At some point this is a great time for your band leader or DJ to invite everyone up to the dance floor to get everyone moving.  Make sure you have an announcer who knows your program and what you want for your wedding- they’re going to be giving your guests direction. 

3. Cheers & Toasts
After 1 or 2 introductory dances everyone should take their seats.  The parents of the bride will likely give a speech welcoming guests.  At which point the bride and father of the bride will have their dance.  The groom and mother of the bride will join them on the floor shortly after, and then the announcer can also invite guests back to the dance floor.

4. Mangia, Mangia
Time for food!  Your guests are working up an awesome appetite so it’s time for them to be seated and served or help themselves to food. Generally within 15 minutes of settled into food time, the best man and maid of honor are invited to make their speeches.  Once the entrée or main course is served, get those people back onto the dance floor!

5. Party Time
Let loose and be the coolest kid in the cafeteria. 

6. Cake Cutting
Again your band leader/DJ will announce your cake cutting (if you choose to do this).  These is also an opportunity for the bride and groom to say “thank you” to their guests and make a shared small speech of their own.  LET THEM EAT CAKE!

7. Shake a Leg
Continue the dancing!  The removal of the garter belt and throwing of the bouquet will typically take place at some point during the last round of yahooing.

8. Last Dance
Nooooooo!  You’ve been having such a wonderful time!  The DJ or band leader will announce the last dance and you’d better make it a good one!

9. Final Farewell
The last dance has ended.  You’re tired, happy, and just had an amazing party.  Hug and kiss your guests and head out to the after party.

PhotoSources: Danielle & Phil