We are often asked what structure the evening reception at a Wedding should take. Of course, there are no rules as such but for those who want some guidance, this is what we suggest.
If you have your Wedding Breakfast in a separate room to your Evening Reception then the band would usually set up whilst you are eating. If your Wedding Breakfast and Evening Reception are in the same room you will need to organise either the band getting there early and setting up, or a turn around period after the meal. If you don’t have the option to have the separate rooms, the turn around period can work really nicely after the meal. If you can move into another area (or outside if sunny) then this gives a good opportunity for people to chat, let their food go down and also welcome the evening guests whilst the room is being changed around.
We always advise to start the Evening Reception as late as possible so that everyone is ready for dancing and your live music isn’t wasted. People often under estimate how important this gap is in-between the meal and the dancing and often weddings run late because the Bride & Groom are still trying to say hello to so many people. If the evening guests arrive at 7pm, we would usually say to aim for 8pm at the earliest to start, however if you can push it back to 8.30pm then that would work really well. It does depend however on what else you have going on that evening.
The band would usually start after the first dance (unless they are playing it). Some people like the idea of the band playing mellow numbers/jazz beforehand which is lovely however if you want to keep the tradition of the first dance being by the Bride & Groom then you may want to keep it to chilled background music/DJ until you are ready.
The cutting of the cake can happen at many different occasions. The post popular is right before the first dance. This works really well because all your guests will gather round to see you cut the cake, and then be there ready to see the first dance. It is such a shame when guests miss the first dance as they don’t know it is happening.
If you are worried about your first dance, and not comfortable with just 2 of you on the dance floor for a whole song, why not invite in the key members of the Wedding party? It always works really well when a Bride & Groom welcomes everyone onto the dance floor either during their first dance or for a 2nd dance. This kicks off the evening entertainment with a bang.
It is really important to bear in mind any other factors you have going on that evening and arranging the band around them. So for example, if you have an evening buffet or Fireworks, make sure this is happening when the band takes their break.
Have a think about how you want to end the Wedding. Tradition is that the Bride & Groom leave before the guests however this doesn’t often happen nowadays. If you do a big exit, it is a really nice way to end the evening and say goodbye to all your guests however some Bride & Grooms prefer to stay right until the end. If you do decide on an exit song, think about whether you want the band to play it or the original. If the band are playing it, it is easier as they can watch you leaving and time the song appropriately. Walking through the Wedding Arch does take a lot of time so bear this in mind. We would advise leaving at least 5 minutes for this.
You will need to bear in mind any curfews at the venue and make sure the band are aware of this as they will need to time it so they finish on time even if they have an encore.
People are often worried about the finish time of a wedding. A lot of people like to go on until 1am, however don’t feel this is a necessity. A Wedding is a very long day and it is better to finish wanting more then exhausted! Most bands quotes take you up until 1am however a 12 midnight finish is the most common.
For more info on our acts and advice on your event, please contact us on 01483 511 500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org