Photo: Christa Strick Photography
One of the key elements to throwing a kickass wedding is making sure your guests have the time of their lives. So do away with the long, yawn-inducing speeches and never ending wait times, and turn things up a notch or two with a party that keeps everyone dancing, interacting and on their feet.
1. Keep things moving and on schedule
If you've ever watched Say Yes To The Dress then you know how annoyed guests get when they have to wait forever between events or when certain elements of the wedding drag on for what feels like forever to them. For instance, your cocktail hour should be 45 minutes to an hour and no longer than that, notes Annie Lee, principal planner and founder of Daughter of Design. As for dinner, "We never let there be more than 30 minutes without something happening," she says.
2. Layer activities
Attention spans can be pretty short at weddings so layering activities is always a win-win for everyone. Lee suggests breaking up speeches for each course and waiting until the last guest has their plate to begin to talk. "Never require guests to give you more than 20 minutes of pure, unadulterated attention, even at the ceremony if at all feasible."
3. Break up the dancing
To ensure your guests stay entertained and engaged throughout the night, schedule the cake cutting or parent dances about 45 minutes to an hour in. "This way, it doesn't feel like a blob of 1.5 hours of straight dancing and also because the party sometimes really needs a few of what we call 'refresh buttons,'" points out Lee. "Basically, a moment to regroup everyone and pick up the energy again."
If you're having a Jewish wedding, the hora and chair dance are the perfect thing to get everyone going again, adds event planner and designer, Samantha Spector, founder of Milk & Honey Special Events. "Time them so that everyone can continue dancing immediately afterward and you will have a packed dance floor."
4. Go out with a bang
In other words, end your wedding on a high note. Lee recommends cutting it off while the dance floor is still packed and guests are begging for one more song. "That'll leave a lasting memory of an awesome party," she says.
5. Throw an after party
Speaking of an awesome party, Spector suggests wrapping up your reception at a reasonable time (five hours is ideal from ceremony start to the end of the reception, she says) and having an after party at a different location for the guests that want to keep the party going. That way, ending the wedding with a bang is possible!