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completing your event timeline

Completing Your Event Timeline

Completing Your Event Timeline

As your wedding day approaches, you are putting the finishing touches on months of planning.  Last month, we gave you some tips on filling out your Music Request List.  This month, we want to provide you some guidance when filling out your Event Timeline.

When it comes to planning the timeline of your reception, most couples get overwhelmed and are not sure what time each event should take place.  “This is my first (and hopefully) only wedding, and I have no idea what to do.” We hear this time and time again from brides.  First of all, breath easy.  Your DJ and your banquet captain are there to help.  We do weddings every weekend and are very familiar with what needs to happen and when so that your event flows smoothly.  Your wedding night should be a time for you to enjoy and not stress about the timing of each item on the list.

You will meet with the banquet captain and discuss your timeline with your DJ prior to your reception, but here is an example of a standard timeline to help point you in the right direction.  Keep in mind, this is your event.  The following is merely a suggestion based on our experience, but in no way is it set in stone.  Your vendors are there to accommodate you and give you and your new spouse the best experience possible. Completing Your Event Timeline.

6:00 pm – Cocktail Hour Begins

6:50 pm – DJ announces that all guests should be seated and all members of the bridal party meet in foyer to lineup for introductions.

7:00 pm – Bridal party introductions

7:05 pm – Bride and groom cut cake

7:10 pm – Best man / maid of honor speeches

7:25 pm – Blessing

7:30 pm – First course served

8:45 pm – Bride and groom’s first dance

8:50 pm – Bride and father dance

8:55 pm – Groom and mother dance

9:00 pm – Dance floor opens to all guests

10:00 pm – Bouquet Toss

10:05 pm – Garter removal

11:15 pm – Last call for alcohol

11:25 pm – Last dance

11:30 pm – Reception ends

Again, the above is an example of a standard timeline, but you may have a few questions as to the timing of each event.

1)      Why cut your cake immediately after being introduced?  Cutting your cake immediately after being introduced is a good idea for several reasons.  First, it allows the banquet hall to remove the cake early and begin slicing it for your guests in time for desert.  Second, you already have the attention of everyone in the room immediately after being introduced.  Therefore, none of your guests will miss that special moment.  Third, the photographer has an opportunity to take your pictures before you begin eating.  The groom may want to remove his jacket and roll up his sleeves for dinner.  Taking the cake cutting pictures early ensures that you still look your best.

2)      How many speeches should we have?  It is traditional to have your maid/matron of honor and best man give a speech.  We suggest that each speech be kept to a maximum of 5 minutes.  By keeping speeches short and sweet, you retain the attention of your guests and assure that dinner is served on time and hot.  It is recommended that all speeches be given before dinner is served.  Having speeches given during food service can be distracting and draws attention away from the individual giving the speech.  Your DJ and banquet hall will be flexible, just make sure you know in advance how many speeches will be given.  Some family members may want to give “surprise” speeches.  Unless previously scheduled or given the green light for surprise speeches from the bride and groom, your DJ will not give the microphone to guests that are not on the speaker schedule.  This ensures that you reception stays on schedule and allows plenty of time for other formalities and dancing.

3)      What if the bride and groom what to give a “welcome speech”?  Oftentimes, the bride and groom are compelled to thank everyone for coming.  Most couples feel that speaking immediately after the other speeches is appropriate, but we recommend waiting until desert to do so.  Why wait?  First of all, it makes for quicker dinner service.  The less speeches given before dinner, the faster the food is served, which makes for happy guests and happy vendors.  Second, and more importantly, it gives you time to soak it all in.  During dinner, you have a chance to look around the room, see all the people that made it out for your special day and think of what you really want to say in your speech.   These speeches are generally brief, but heartfelt.  “We’d like to thank everyone for coming to our reception….thanks to the Smith family for traveling from overseas….thank you to (bride’s family) thank you to (groom’s family)….enjoy the reception….see you on the dance floor.”

4)      We want to have a video montage.  How long should it be and when should we show it?  It has become popular so show a slideshow during the reception.   A slideshow is a nice way to display your love story to your guests and is sure to draw laughter and tears from those who love you the most.  However, a sideshow that is too long can have an adverse affect and cause your guests to lose attention and interest.  We recommend keeping your slideshow between 7-8 minutes long using roughly 100 photos.  A good rule of thumb is 30 pictures of the bride, 30 pictures of the groom and 15-20 pictures of the bride and groom as a couple.  Selecting one song to be played over each segment provides theme music for each sequence and lends itself well to transitions.  Plan on scheduling your slideshow immediately preceding the speeches or during desert.  If you have a lot of speeches, definitely wait until desert.  Spacing events out gives your guests things to look forward to.  Your DJ will make an announcement prior to starting the slideshow that guests that cannot see the screen may want to move to a spot in the room where they can view the show more easily.

As you fill in your Event Timeline, remember to click “Save My List” as you continue to plan your evening and “Submit My List” when you are done. Your online forms should be submitted 14 days prior to your reception. Your Music By Design DJ will personally call you the week of your event to discuss all of the information you have submitted and answer any questions you may have. Our mission is to have a clear understanding of your expectations and work diligently to exceed them. Please visit our Ceremony Music Planning Guide.

A Stress Free Wedding Day

A Stress Free Wedding Day

A Stress Free Wedding Day

One of the most common things we hear from brides following their wedding day is, “Where did the day go?  It feels like a blur, so much happened, yet I can barely remember any of it.”  Unfortunately, much of this “memory loss” is due to stress on the big day.  Though stress and wedding planning often go hand in hand, stress and the wedding day do not.  Even when thorough planning takes place, many brides find themselves stressed and overwhelmed on the big day.  The day is too special and too important to be stressed, so we are offering a few simple tips to help you keep stress free on the big day.

Hire a wedding coordinator. Ok, we know, technically this is something that would have been done way before the wedding day, but we list this to highlight how valuable a coordinator is on the actual day of the wedding.  No matter how thorough and perfect the planning is, there will inevitably be last minute details that need to be taken care of.  The placement of the flower arrangements, the lighting of candles, the setting of tables, the timing of when ceremony seating begins…there is a lot to do, and if you try to take care of it all, you won’t be able to enjoy your day.  So, seriously consider a wedding planner so that when the flowers are late, when there are no matches in sight, and when you’re 25  napkins short, you won’t know a thing about it!

But if you can’t afford a wedding planner, don’t fret.  There is still a stress free way to deal with the details.  Think about a close friend or family member that you really trust.  Someone who is level headed, assertive, and efficient, and ask them if they would consider being the point-person on the wedding day.  The person that others come to with details and crises, the person who carries out your wedding day vision, and the person who solves those little stressors without mentioning them to you.  Perhaps a maid of honor could fill this role.  Regardless of who you chose, spend time with them the week before the wedding talking about your vision (i.e. how things will be set up, the schedule for the day, etc.) so that they can execute your vision while you stay stress free!

A Stress Free Wedding DayCreate a day of timeline. What things do you want or need to get done the day of the wedding?  A bridesmaids brunch, a special time with your family, manicures, makeup, hair…there may be a variety of things you want to do on your big day.  Write these things down, think about how long each thing will take, and then create a schedule.  Plan in thirty minute increments and leave yourself some cushion time with each activity.  Consider emailing this schedule to your wedding party a week before the wedding so they know what to expect and how they can help you stay on schedule. Be sure to check out the Music By Design event timeline for all your important details.

Have people come to you. Are you getting your hair done?  How about your makeup?  If so, consider having these vendors come to where you and your wedding party are getting ready.  This will cut down on travel time, traffic, unknown delays, and of course, stress!

Get ready at the wedding site. This stress free tip isn’t always possible, but when it is, consider primping at the ceremony site.  Lots of venues have bride and groom suites for each respective wedding parties to get ready in.  This cuts down on last minute rushing, people getting lost, and of course, your stress level!  It can also help set the wedding day tone earlier in the day.

Put your phone away. Though many of us are attached to our cell phones, consider detaching, at least for your wedding day.  Guests will get lost, friends will be late, and kids will get sick.  These things happen.  These things also prompt a lot of people to call you to tell you about them.  Though it might be nice to have a heads up, it will also likely lead to unnecessary stress.  You won’t be able to change whatever is going on, and there is likely another guest they can call for directions.  So for your big day, we encourage you to tuck your phone away and enjoy a stress free wedding day!