1) CANDLE LIGHTING CEREMONY – If you do a candle lighting during the ceremony, you might want to select a short interlude song to be played during it. Dead air for a minute or two will seem awkward but too long a song can drag out the ceremony. A classical song such as Pachabel’s Cannon is a nice choice, but you can also select any appropriate love song and play a snippet of it.
2) 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 pictures before the ceremony can be a very convenient time. We’ve done an entire blog about doing a “First Look” which you can read right here. You can shorten the gap between the ceremony and the reception for your guests, and the photographer will not be rushed to get all his shots. Plus make up, hair and clothing will look fresher in photos.
3) LEAVE ENOUGH TIME FOR PHOTOS – Whenever you take your formal pictures, between the ceremony and reception, or before the ceremony, it is important to allow adequate time. The suggestion is to plan 3-4 minutes for each person in the bridal party, including parents and grandparents. For example, let say that you have a maid-of-honor, a best man, two bridesmaids, two groomsmen, a flower girl, four parents, two grandparents and yourselves, a total of fifteen people. Allow for 45 to 60 minutes for your formal pictures. Of course, you should check with your own photographer before finalizing the times.
4) YOUR FIRST DANCE AS HUSBAND AND WIFE – Try to pick a wedding song that has meaning between you and your fiancé. If you choose something that just happens to be popular today, you may not even remember it when your fifth anniversary comes up. But if you choose a song that is special to you both, maybe something that was “your song” when you first started dating or a ballad that has significance to you as a couple, then you will never forget it.
5) 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. Children 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. Children can bring magic to the wedding or added stress – it depends on your personalities and the atmosphere you would like to create.
6) THE WEDDING RECEPTION – Enjoy yourself at the reception. Don’t let the night go by without dancing and having a good time. Every one of your guests will want to chat with you and tell you how great you look and this is important but if you are not careful, the reception will be over before you know it. If you like to dance and want to be a part of celebration, make a conscious effort to get out there and ENJOY!
7) THOSE “PLAYED OUT” WEDDING SONGS – Many people are sick of songs like “Celebration” and “Mony Mony” and if you definitely can’t stand songs like that, by all means, tell your entertainer and insist that they not be played. There are hundreds of awesome party songs and four hours is a short time; you shouldn’t have to sit through something you hate during your own wedding. If you don’t care either way, give your entertainer some leeway because sometimes songs like that will do wonders to get a party kick started. 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!
8) PROPS AND GIVEAWAYS – Many entertainers (DJs especially) offer giveaways for your party (leis, sunglasses, hats, etc) If you have a very elegant and classy vision for your wedding, consider saying no to this, even if they are included in the price. But if you lean towards a more fun and interactive style for your reception, giveaways are definitely the way to go. Any entertainer worth his salt will know how to incorporate these things without losing the formality of your wedding day.
9) 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. Some couples select a nice slow song and some others ask us to replay their wedding 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. Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” is an obvious choice, but we’ve everything here from Southside Johnny’s “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” to Otis Day’s “Shout.”
10) 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.