Don’t Keep Your Guests Waiting!

October 20, 2008 Weddings Unlimited, Inc.

This past weekend I officiated at a wedding and was invited to also be a guest at the reception. Because I am usually the planner and coordinator, this was an unusual experience for me. I’m the one behind the scenes making sure everything runs smoothly and on time. 

The ceremony  (so nice) and reception were held in the same ballroom and had to go through a major transformation during the cocktail hour. Typically a cocktail hour is forty-five minutes, with an additional fifteen minute buffer to get the guests into the reception area, seated and ready for the formal introduction of the wedding party. Not knowing any of the guests, I spent time observing them. The foyer had ample space for the number of guests, but because the only bar was in one location, most of the guests mingled around that particular area. This made it difficult for the servers to pass through the crowd. Drinks flowed easily and after one hour and twenty minutes, the ballroom doors opened. Many of the guests, especially the older crowd, were never so happy to be seated!

The hosts had such a variety of music requests, they felt a deejay would best meet their needs. Sadly the room’s accustics hampered a clear sound and the guests in sections of the room could not understand announcements and toasts. Eventually, when the party got into full swing, the deejay kicked up the volume and it made for a great evening. I loved the couple’s first dance. They started with a slow number and then it turned into a get down and boogie style. My kind of people!

The food was good and having a duel entree’ was appealing for the guests. Some of the guests at my table had issues with the timing of the service. They would look around the room and see that one table had their entree’, while we were still waiting to have our salad cleared. At one point, one of the guests actually got up and approached a waiter to come clear our table and serve the cake.  

As a consultant, my tips for those taking on the task of planning their special day is to “pay attention to details”. 

When selecting a  venue, choose one that can keep the cocktail hour to no more that an hour. If you are dead set on using a particular venue, offer to pay for additional staff to help with the take down and setup. If your bar bill is based on consumption and you’re trying to keep to a specific budget; the longer it goes, the more the guests will drink. Keep your guests sober..they are your liability! Do you have “wedding insurance”?  

When interviewing your entertainment, ask if they have played an event at your particular venue. If not, request that they visit and check out their sound equipment well before the event.  Also, when using the same ballroom, the deejay has very little time to move in his equipment and do a sound check. Is there a way for his equipment, such as the amps be already set? 

Your guests are so very important and should be kept happy. If at all possible, consider hiring additional wait staff to keep the dinner hour moving smoothly. If it takes over ninety minutes to serve a three course meal, something is wrong. Find out what the venue’s stand is on this.  Also, there should be no wait staff clearing and serving when special activities, such as the toasts and dances are taking place.

If you have any comments or questions on your special day…e-mail me at


Entry Filed under: 1,bridal consultants,wedding and event designer,wedding planning,weddings

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