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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.

Honoring A Loved One At Your Wedding

If a parent, grandparent, sibling, or close relative has passed away, there are a lot of wonderful ways to honor their memory at your wedding or reception. Here are some suggestions of ways to pay tribute to someone you have loved and lost:

1. Photo Table: Set up a special table at the wedding ceremony and/or reception filled with framed photos of your late loved one. Cover it with flowers or candles for an elegant, respectful display.

2. Candle Lighting: Make your late loved one a part of the wedding ceremony by lighting a candle in their honor. This can be done by another family member at the beginning of the ceremony or by you and your fiancé during the nuptials.

3. Mention: Ask your officiant to make mention of your remembered loved one during the wedding ceremony.

4. Program Insert: If you’re passing out printed programs for your wedding ceremony, include a special mention, letter, photo, anecdote, or poem dedicated to your deceased loved one.

5. Moment of Silence: Observe a moment of silence during the wedding ceremony or reception to honor the memory of the one you’ve lost.

6. Scripture/Letter/Poem Reading: During the ceremony or reception, have someone read the loved one’s favorite scripture or poem or a personal letter written by them during their life.

7. Toast: During your reception, honor the memory of your late loved one with a special toast given by you, your new spouse, or one of your family members.

8. Song: Honor the memory of your loved one by having their favorite song (or a song significant to you) performed or played at the ceremony or reception.

9. Personal Memento: Wear or carry something of significance to your lost loved one on your wedding day, whether it be a piece of jewelry, hair barrette, or a handkerchief.

Wedding Speech Guidelines

What makes for a quality wedding speech?

Below are a few guidelines to follow when preparing a wedding reception speech as a maid of honor or best man.  Obviously, every event is different and what works for one crowd may not work for another, but the following is a series of elements that seem to make for a good speech time and time again.

Have a plan
It is best to plan what you are going to say, but do not read directly from a card.  A lot of the sincerity in your speech is lost if it sounds like you are reading the evening news.  Jot down general notes so you do not get off track, but make sure you are speaking from the heart.  Speak loudly and clearly and don’t drink too much before you deliver your speech.  One or two cocktails to loosen up is fine, but no one wants to listen to a drunk person on the microphone.  Remember, it is the bride and groom’s day, let’s not bring it down.

Thank the hosts
Because most parents help with the wedding costs, it is nice to thank the parents/hosts. “Before we go any further, I think we should all thank the Smith’s for this beautiful evening.  I would also like to thank the Jones’ for the rehearsal dinner.”

Introduce yourself
Begin by introducing yourself. Be sure to mention how you know the bride and groom and how long you’ve known them.  During your entire speech, practice eye contact with the audience as well as with the bride and groom.  Try not to pace back and forth while speaking. TIP: For photo’s sake, it is really nice if you are standing behind and between the bride and groom while speaking.

Keep it short
As you begin the actual speech, remember this: a good speech should be short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the essentials.  You may want to begin with a joke about the bride or groom or marriage in general, but keep it tasteful.  You should keep all content rated PG for kids and grandmothers in the room.

Content
Telling an interesting anecdote about the bride or groom is a great way to captivate the audience, but know what details are appropriate and necessary for the story.  Also, try to stick to one really good story as opposed to recounting a series of average stories. You are talking to an audience of people that all know the bride and groom for different reasons and not everyone is going to understand the inside jokes and vague references. Tip: There is a difference between funny and humiliating.  A sore subject can ruin the night for the bride and groom.  It is an honor to be selected to give a speech at a wedding, never abuse your position.

Add balance
Be sure to have balance in your speech.  If you are the best man, talk about the bride as much as you talk about the groom.  Same is true if you are the maid of honor.  Also try to balance humor with sentiment.  Remember, speak from the heart and let the couple know how happy you are for them and how honored you are to be speaking on their behalf.

Closing
In closing, ask everyone to raise their glasses and deliver a concise, but heartfelt toast: “To Jack and Jill, we wish them a lifetime love, laughter and happiness.”  The choices are limitless for a toast:  create a custom toast, research your options online or consult with a family member for a traditional toast that may reflect the couple’s ethnicity.  “I’d like to finish with a traditional Irish toast:  “May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. And may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.”

Always remember, when giving a speech at a wedding reception, you reflect on the bride and groom. Utilize a few of the tips above and the bride and groom will really appreciate it.

If you have questions or need expert planning advice, contact Music By Design.

Calling All Grooms

The following list was created by The Man Registry and is a must read for every groom-to-be.

10. Marriage license: Don’t wait until the last minute

It seems so simple. All you have to do is go to the courthouse, answer some questions, and be presented with your marriage license. Not so fast. You need to be familiar with your state’s requirements and waiting periods.  Most importantly, don’t wait until the last minute! This may seem like a minor last-minute item on the to-do list, but without it you can’t legally be married. Click here for marriage license requirements in your state.

9. Writing vows: Leave a personal mark on the ceremony

Many of today’s grooms are leaving the stock vows behind and penning their own unique commitment words for the bride. If you’ve decided to go this route, remember to include your intentions for marriage, what marriage and commitment means to you, and state the promises  you intend to keep. More about writing vows.

8. Wedding bands: When and what to look for

Just what a guy wants. He’s already shelled out for an engagement ring and now he has to make another trip back to the jeweler to select weddings bands.  Do some research beforehand and decide if you’ll be looking for matching bands or something unique. It’s recommended to have the bands picked out a minimum of three months in advance of the wedding. This leaves time for them to be ordered, shipped, and re-sized, if needed. You can buy a great wedding band in our wedding store.

7. The wedding party: Whom to select

Most grooms have a solid gut feeling on whom they’ll select as their Best Man. This is usually a brother or other life-long friend. It’s considered courtesy to include your soon-to-be brother in laws in the wedding party as well. Depending on how many groomsmen/bridesmaids there will be, there’s always room for more friends to serve as ushers. A common rule of thumb to remember is one usher per 50 guests.

6. Bachelor Party: It’s not just about beer anymore

When you heard the words bachelor party, common thoughts have always been bars, beer, and more beer. This isn’t necessarily the case today. Adventure and destination bachelor parties are all the rage for today’s weddings. Many grooms are trading in visits to the night clubs for golf outings, camping trips, and even sky-diving.  Some couples are even having joint bachelor/bachelorette weekends that involve a weekend trip to wine country or a beach house.

5. Wedding day attire: Stay on top of things

What the groom and groomsmen wear on the wedding day is usually coordinated with the wedding colors and bridesmaids’ dresses. Men who are taking an active role in the selection of attire should think about whether they want a tux or suit, the style and color, and whether they’re renting or buying. Arranging tuxedo rental can be tricky, especially if you have a large wedding party. You need to make sure everyone is measured and picks up their tuxes on time. The last thing you want is one of your groomsmen showing up in a tux that doesn’t fit (or not showing up in a tux at all). It’s also a courtesy for the groom to pick up the cost of the tux rental for the fathers.

4. Groomsmen gifts: Flask, cuff links, or money clip?

If you’ve ever been a member of a wedding party, then you know it’s standard for the groom to present his attendants with a gift to thank them for being a part of the big day. Many grooms opt for a practical, engraved gift that can be put to use (think business card holder, cuff links, or watch). However, just as the groom’s roles in wedding planning have evolved, so have groomsmen gifts. Creativity is key for men today as popular gifts have become tickets to sporting events, bottles of aged wine, and even weekend excursions (with the groom footing the bill). Great gifts for the groomsmen are in our wedding store.

3. Wedding speeches: Toasting with class

One of the scariest things for the groom is to stand up in front of friends and family and toast his new wife.  Statistics say that public speaking is the No. 1 fear of Americans (even beating out death)! One of the best ways to quash the nerves is to apply the age-old adage of practice, practice, practice. Here’s a quick guide for preparing for a successful toast:

Thank everyone for attending.

Keep humor to a minimum (we all know the gut-busting toasts are reserved for the best man).

Thank your wedding party and both sets of parents for their support on the special day.

Close with words directed at your new wife. We can’t tell you what to say, but say it from the heart (obviously).

2. The groom’s cake: A cake that’s all about the groom

Yes, you read that correctly. The groom’s cake is a themed wedding dessert that’s selected and paid for by the groom and his family. The theme is generally styled after a major interest or hobby in the groom’s life.  Some examples include a favorite sports team logo or a past-time such as fishing, fixing up cars, or traveling. The groom’s cake is often served at the reception along with the main wedding cake (just make sure it’s smaller in stature than the main cake), but can also be served for dessert at the rehearsal dinner. You can purchase a wonderful cake at Cocoa Bean.

1. Groom showers: In the name of equality

It’s definitely not your parents wedding shower. Instead of place settings, bath towels, and platters, the gifts given at a groom-friendly shower are power tools, speakers, and BBQ equipment. It’s become common for a couple to have at least one couples or “man” shower during their engagement. Popular shower themes include backyard and garden, home improvement, and bar and grill. The best part: These are gifts that both the groom and bride will enjoy.

source: elegance & simplicity.com



Wedding Reception Timelines

When it comes to planning the timeline of your reception, you may not be sure how to organize your timeline.  “This is my first wedding and I have no idea what to do.” We hear this time and time again. Please remember, hiring “high-end” wedding vendors will make your planning so much easier.  Music By Design is a wedding expert and is will help your event flow smoothly – your wedding reception should be a stress free time of enjoyment.

You will meet with the banquet captain and discuss your timeline with your DJ prior to your reception. Below is an example of a standard timeline. Please keep in mind, it is your event.  The following is merely a suggestion based on experience, and is in no way set in stone.  Your vendors are there to accommodate you provide the best experience possible.

Traditional Timeline

6:00 pm – Cocktail Hour Begins

6:50 pm – Guest seating

7:00 pm – Bridal party introductions

7:05 pm – Bride and groom cut cake

7:10 pm – Speeches & Toasts

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

11:55 pm – Last dance

12:00 pm – Reception ends

FAQ’s

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. 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.

How many speeches should we have?

It is traditional to have two speakers, your maid/matron of honor and best man. 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 vendors 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 by the bride and groom, your DJ will not give the microphone to guests that are not on the schedule. This ensures that your reception flows nicely and allows plenty of time for dinner service and all your other formalities.

What if the bride and groom wants to give a welcome speech?

Oftentimes, the bride and groom are compelled to thank everyone for coming. 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 and 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.”

We want a video montage.  How long should it be and when should we play it?

It has become very popular to include a slideshow during wedding receptions. 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 6-7 minutes long using roughly 100 photos. A good rule of thumb is 33 pictures of the bride, 33 pictures of the groom, and 15 to 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.

We hope this information was helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult Music By Design at 630.262.0432.