The moment you announce your engagement, it seems as if everyone — your friends, family and EVEN your hairdresser — become expert wedding planners.
And it might be tempting to take their advice. After all, you’re new to this process and they think they know everything about planning and designing a wedding.
We understand how easy it is to be led astray by your well-meaning relatives and friends who claim their limited experience makes them experts. As design professionals with more than a decade of experience, we know just how much detail and work goes into creating an elegant wedding celebration that appears effortless.
Wedding etiquette and structure may seem obvious, but it’s not. There are some aspects of the reception and ceremony that one might neglect without realizing it. With that in mind, whatever you do, don’t …
1. Skip the Reception Line
Reception lines have gone out of style in recent years, but wedding experts strongly advise against skipping this portion of your ceremony, as many guests want the chance to connect with you after you’ve said your vows. While the reception line does take time and can be a bit tedious, it’s an integral part of making your guests feel appreciated, which should be a priority when planning your wedding.
2. Forego the Schedule
Gauging your wedding timeline can be tricky, but it’s important to stick to the schedule printed on your invitations. You can’t expect guests to wait patiently for you if you’re running behind. If you’re unclear on how much time you need for both the ceremony and reception, The Knot provides a basic wedding timeline of events to get you started.
3. Wait to Cut the Cake
Another timing mistake some couples make is cutting the wedding cake at the end of the night. Cutting the cake during the meal portion of the reception is seen as a courtesy to guests who may need to leave a bit early. This gives them an opportunity to politely bid adieu after dessert is served without feeling rude.
4. Cut Back On Meals and Drinks for Your Guests
Attendees often cite the cuisine as their favorite portion of a wedding reception and look forward to tasting some fabulous food from a top-notch caterer. You may be tempted to substitute dinner for hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, but there are other ways to do away with the traditional sit-down meal and still stick to your budget. Offering multiple food stations — like a pasta bar, a crostini stand, or a build-your-own taco table — gives guests an array of options that won’t leave them feeling hungry.
There’s some debate about whether it’s acceptable to have a cash bar at your wedding, but the majority of experts agree that this is not the way to go. There are plenty of alternatives to offering an open bar. Consider featuring a signature cocktail or getting creative by hosting a craft beer or wine tasting. One thing is certain, it’s in poor taste to have a tip jar present at the bar. Tipping the staff at the end of the night is your job — not your guests.
5. Forget to Feed Your Vendors
Don’t neglect your vendors when it comes to food. Your crew works hard to make your celebration feel and look fantastic, so just remember that they too will need a meal break due to the day’s long hours. This includes your DJ, musicians and photographer.
6. Ask Friends and Relatives for Help in Place of Hiring Professionals
Speaking of your event staff, it may be tempting to put a friend or family member in charge of important pre-wedding or day-of ceremony wedding tasks. However, keep in mind that your loved ones want to enjoy the festivities themselves and may not be the best at organizing or coordinating the crucial aspects of your ceremony.
While a DIY ceremony can be an enjoyable and fabulous affair, it’s impossible for one person to truly do it all and everyone forgets to do at least a few things before their wedding. Let yourself off the hook and hire a professional wedding planner to take care of things like helping you pick the perfect venue; hiring and/or coordinating a photographer, caterer, DJ and florist; and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
7. Skimp on Music and Entertainment
In addition to the food, the second part of your reception people get most pumped for is the party itself. Your attendees will arrive expecting to dance the night away, but a bad DJ or ill-timed entertainment can ruin all the fun quickly. Even if hiring a big band isn’t your thing, there are other inventive ways to delight your guests at the reception, such as music-themed games, a wedding lip sync battle, or even inviting everyone to participate in a flash mob choreographed by your bridal party, which may seem silly but could be the highlight of the evening.
In the age of Spotify and iTunes, we all fancy ourselves amateur DJs, but the truth is using your smartphone or laptop to create a playlist and blasting your tunes through some speakers is often seen as quite tacky and lackluster. But if budget is a big concern and you have to do it on your own, be sure to include a broad spectrum of music.
8. Underestimate the Importance of Decor and Design
It’s often the small, simple details that can make the biggest impact at your wedding. As production and event designers, we here at Pink Monkey are the authority on creating visual elements that stun — like a nearby teepee at your ranch wedding, for instance. Or beautiful lighting that takes your reception from “boring ballroom” to enchanted garden party. We love to add unexpected touches that you might not have thought of, like changing the color of your flowers or serving plates as the evening goes along or adding your custom monogram to the dance floor.
If you take the time to incorporate design details for your ceremony and reception, you’ll create a day that’s unforgettable for both you and your guests. As event designers, it’s our job to make sure that your special day is just that: a celebration that showcases your style and personality in an elegant, exquisite way. Give us a call or email us for more guidance on how to orchestrate an incredible affair that’s both faux pas-less and flawless.