Planning your Evening Reception

We often get asked (or told) how the evening reception at a wedding should run and are given a timetable that sometimes breaks the running order down to the minute.  While this is great advanced planning and a worthwhile exercise, it may be worth building in a certain level of flexibility on the night.

The reason being, is that there is always a period upon arrival of the evening guests that needs to be left to social chatting, as guests will want to see the happy couple and have a drink when they arrive.  This is difficult to accurately account for and can depend on how promptly they arrive, how long it takes to get served at the bar etc. Our experience if the band starts too early is it can be wasted on the audience and can also interrupt the arriving guests from speaking to the Bride and Groom comfortably.

It’s a fine balance to strike between the entertainment starting too early, possibly resulting in a lack of interest or too late, so that any all-day guests are starting to think about making a move.  We have found over the years that starting the band after the evening buffet (if there is one) generally works well, as everyone is warmed up with a few drinks, has had some food, caught up with their friends and ready to party.  Midnight/last orders is also a great time to for the band to hit their last few party songs, in the knowledge that guests generally expect to stay until this time.  If there’s a late licence then we can keep the party going with disco music for the die-hard dancers!

It is usually apparent when the time is right to kick off the music – and the band should be flexible to start when that moment arrives, whether it is before or after their initial scheduled time.

Remember to make the most of having a live band experience at your reception – after all that is why you booked one.  The timings of the evening can make a real difference between keeping the dance floor packed all-night making it a night to remember or struggling to attract guests to the dance floor.