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If you are planning a wedding, then you must read this advice post and the one to follow.  Paul from The DJ Connection sent along this two part series that he wrote using a true-life example of a wedding schedule gone all wrong.  This is the kind of advice that all couples need to know.  Paul provides real, practical advice about the importance of time management at your wedding.  Without further delay, take it away, Paul:

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Photo credit:  Andrew Harnik Wedding Photography

It was a perfect day for a wedding.  It was 78 degrees, the skies were blue and the banquet staff at the reception venue had everything set up and ready for guests to arrive.  The bride contracted our entertainment services from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, and indicated that her 6:00 pm ceremony should last approximately 25 minutes (the average time for a ceremony).  Since the church was only a 10 minute drive, the guests started to arrive at 6:40 pm.  I set up my sound system, changed into my tux and started background music as the guests arrived.

As a wedding emcee, it is my job to keep things moving and on schedule at a reception.  The first scheduled event for this particular reception was the bridal party introduction.  This means that I usually wait at the entrance of the reception venue for the wedding party and parents to arrive, so I can line them up for introductions.  If all goes well, the bride, groom, parents and wedding party should arrive 30 to 40 minutes after the first guests arrive at the reception location.  This is due to the necessary group photographs that are taken at the ceremony location.

As I wait for the wedding party to arrive, I notice that it is now 7:15 pm.  The wedding party should be arriving soon, right?  On this particular day, the wedding party would not arrive until 8:15 pm – almost two full hours after the ceremony had concluded.  I got the parents and wedding party lined up as quickly as I could – the banquet manager was anxious for me to get the introductions done because the food was ready to be served 30 minutes ago.

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Photo credit:  Andrew Harnik Wedding Photography

I lined up the wedding party for introductions, only to discover that the best man had not yet arrived.  Someone in the wedding party mentioned that he told them that he was going to make a “quick” stop by his house to pick up some cigars for the groomsman to enjoy during the reception.  After waiting for him another 15 minutes, and seeing the frustration on the bride and groom’s faces, I recommended that we go ahead with the introductions without the best man.  They agreed with my suggestion, so I introduced the wedding party at 8:30 pm.  The best man walked in just in time to propose a toast to the bride and groom, at 8:40 pm.  A series of additional toasts took place, and lasted until 9:00 pm.  Dinner was finally served at 9:00 pm.

Since there were 175 guests at this particular reception, it took them a full hour to go through the buffet line.  As soon as the last person made their way through the buffet, I announced the next scheduled reception formality – the cake cutting.  By the time the bride and groom made their way to the cake table, cut the cake and fed each other, it was 10:15 pm.  Since we were pushed for time, I had the bride and groom go to the dance floor to share their first dance as husband and wife.  That dance was followed by the traditional dance with the bride and her father, as well as a wedding party dance.

It was 10:25 pm when I announced that the dance floor was open to all guests, and did my best using my interactive skills to get everyone on the dance floor having fun.  After a few songs, the dance floor was packed with bridal party members and guests. Actually, I was quite surprised at the success on the dance floor considering the length of time everyone had to wait for the wedding party to arrive.  This was the point where the photographer decided that he needed to take the entire wedding party out to a scenic foyer of the reception venue for a group photo, and took half of the people who were dancing off of the dance floor.

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Photo credit:  Andrew Harnik Wedding Photography

At this particular reception, the bride and groom were scheduled to leave for their honeymoon at 11:00 pm, so we tossed the bouquet and garter at 10:55 pm, and the reception ended precisely at the scheduled time of 11:00 pm with the bride and groom’s farewell dance.  The guests had a total of 30 minutes in which they could dance at this particular wedding.  If you have attended more than one wedding in your life-time, you may have encountered a similar experience to the one I have described above.

The description of the events that you have just read were all true – they happened at a reception that I performed this year.  Do you think this was a fluke, or that delays of this magnitude are rare at weddings?  You might be surprised at just how often this sort of thing occurs.  I can think of no less than a dozen weddings that my company has performed last year, where we witnessed delays similar to the one described above.  The fact is, 20 percent of all wedding receptions encounter significant delays in the start of the dancing portion of the reception.  The question you should be asking yourself, is “How can I prevent something like that from happening at my wedding?”  The answer?  Good planning!

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Thank you, Paul!  Be sure to check back in a bit for more from Paul on how to incorporate good planning into your wedding to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you.  (Jump to part two of this series right here.)   In the meantime, you can find out more from The DJ Connection on their website.

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