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Making Your Reception Flow

Alyssa McClure - May 16,2015

What do you think is the most common complaint from wedding guests? Would you guess it's the music, or maybe the food? The answer may surprise you. The biggest complaint we hear from wedding guests is that the wedding and reception didn't flow or function well. What does that mean? It means that, for whatever reason, the wedding didn't transition seamlessly from one event to the next. There may have been long pauses with no activity, or maybe they faced a seemingly endless line at the buffet. Often, guests tell me they didn't even know the first dance or cutting of the cake was happening. I was especially disappointed in one wedding where the cake was cut, and slices were placed in a corner without an announcement. Because we didn't even realize the cake was available, many guests never even tasted the almost thousand dollar cake. There are plenty of ways to ensure your wedding has seamless flow and effective function, and we're going to talk about a few.

Move Up Your First Dance

When you enter your reception and are introduced for the first time as a married couple, this is a great opportunity to transition immediately into your first dance. Tradition states that guests are not allowed to dance until the newlyweds have danced, and this will allow guests to use the dance floor as soon as dinner is over. Often, there is a lull between dinner and dancing because the couple hasn't finished eating and visiting yet. If you allow people to dance when they're ready, it will get the party started quicker and keep your guests are entertained for the entire evening.

Take Some Pictures Before the Ceremony

I've written about this before, and I stand by its merits. Taking pictures before the ceremony will leave less downtime before the reception, and even if you don't want to be seen until you walk down the aisle, you can still get a lot of the photos out of the way before the wedding. Go ahead and take your individual pictures, your bridal party pictures, and photos with your family all before the ceremony begins.

Set up Your Buffet Efficiently

Buffet dinners are a great option for weddings; they are easier and significantly less expensive than a plated dinner. However, buffets can also be frustrating and time consuming for guests. I have spent well over half an hour waiting to get food, but there are a few ways to make this easier. If you set your buffet tables out from the wall, it will allow guests get food on both sides of the table. This doubles the amount of people who can get through the line at a time. It's also preferable to have more than one table set up, which will again double the amount of people who can get through the line. Remember, the faster your guests are eating dinner, the happier they will be!

Have an MC

This one is the most crucial - a good MC can make or break your reception. MC's help your guests know what's coming next by announcing the dances, food, cake, and everything else imaginable. You need an experienced MC who understands how to keep the guests informed without interrupting every other minute. It is very important to note that an MC is NOT the same as a DJ. If you're worried about your guests getting restless, a good MC can more than make up for any oversights in planning.

Don't let guests spend your big day standing around and waiting for what's next. Use these tips and tricks to keep the wedding flowing, and everyone will leave your reception with love in their hearts and smiles on their faces! If you still need some help, subscribe to our newsletter for weekly tips and check this out to find the answers to some of the toughest wedding planning questions and learn which traditions are really required! If you're still feeling overwhelmed, find us on Facebook, comment below, or send us a Tweet at @bridalbprint Tag your questions #AskAlyssa, and we will get back to you ASAP. We hope to hear from you soon, and until we do, we'll be here at finding even more ways to ease all your wedding planning worries!

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