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Perfect Day Wedding

10 Great Wedding Planning Tips

10 Great Wedding Planning Tips

Congrats, you’re engaged! That’s the fun part, now, the not so fun part: planning your wedding! Relax, we’re here to help. As the long – time owner of a DJ service, and a long time DJ for all types of public and private events, I’ve provided music/entertainment for thousands of events. Over the years, I’ve learned what works best for a successful, memorable, and fun wedding! Here are my tips:

1. Be mindful of time – It’s your big day and there’s so much to do, but you only have the venue for a limited number of hours. We’ve found that the average wedding should be ideally, 5 – 6 hours. Anything longer or shorter, and there’s either not enough time, or too much time and your guests leave. Remember, your guests come from different places and some have traveled great distances. By the middle of the wedding, many, especially older guests, are tired. Your guests have to drive to the location, get there early, and then celebrate with you. Weddings should be fun, and not draining.

2. Plan the ceremony time efficiently – As stated above, remember, plan everything on a timeline and write out the timeline for your DJ/band, caterer, etc. If you have a coordinator, they should do this. Ideally, your ceremony should start in the late afternoon, about 5 – 6pm, or in the summer, (at least in Austin, TX) 6 – 7pm, if it’s outdoors. Why? 3 – 5pm is the hottest part of the day, don’t torture your guests who are dressed up, in the heat. Also, pictures! After your ceremony, comes cocktail hour. This is for your guests to mingle and picture time for you. There will still be enough daylight for you to have great pictures!

3. Plan efficiently for dinner – Dinner is the time that rarely goes according to plan. After cocktail hour (which can be an hour or more) dinner is served. Plan according to the number of guests and style of dinner. Whether buffet or plated, it takes time for your guests to get their food and eat. For small weddings, (less than 60 people) allow 1 hour or so, larger, add more time. Most larger wedding dinners take about 1.5 hours.

4. Toasts – The best time to do the toast is during the latter part of dinner, or immediately after. Why? All your guests are still there. I’ve seen numerous weddings where people begin to leave immediately after the first few dances. You want everyone to see this great moment, so during dinner or after is ideal.

5. Cake cutting – Cake cutting time varies, but many couples choose to do it about halfway through the night, after the dance begins. So if your wedding is from 5 – 10pm, most people do it around 8pm. This can work, but the best time is actually right after dinner and toasts. Again, all your guests are present and can enjoy the expensive cake! Also, once the couple cuts the cake, someone from the staff should be available to cut the entire cake and put slices on plates or serve to guests. You don’t want to tell guests, the cake is ready, and then they form a line. If there are a lot of guests that want cake, that can easily take 30 minutes or more. After the cake is cut, move on.

6. First Dance – Shortly after the cake is cut or after the toasts, someone needs to let the DJ/band know you’re ready for the first dance. This can be done, while the cake is being cut and served. The first dance is your spotlight time, you want everyone to witness it!

7. Father/Daughter, Mother/Son Dances – These are also spotlight moments and every parent waits a lifetime for these moments, so don’t skip out on them, if you can help it. These dances always follow the first dance and the bride should always dance first, since it’s her “big day,” though sometimes one song is chose and the bride and groom dance with their parents at the same time.

8. Bouquet/Garter Tosses – This is a fun time of the night and many people wait til the end of the night or the middle of the night. The best time is the middle of the night. I’ve seen couples who wait til the end and many of their guests have left, leaving very few participants for this event. Ideally, it should be done after cake cutting (if it is cut halfway through the night), so you don’t have to stop the reception, turn on the lights, and take 10 – 15 minutes to do this, and then start again. Again, if you do this after the cake cutting, following dinner, all your guests are present and can participate and have fun. You want everyone there to enjoy every part of your wedding!

9. Dollar Dance/Honeymoon Dance – Some couples choose to do this, but others do not; it’s totally up to you. Either way, you want to limit it to 10 – 15 minutes, depending on the size of your wedding. I’ve seen some take 30 minutes or more, which leaves guests lingering and some may get bored and begin to leave.

10. Last Song – The last song should be a song that the bride and groom choose, that is “their song.” If you want it to be about only the bride and groom, a slow/ballad song works best. If you want it to be the last song for everyone to dance to, then any fun song works.

Overall, wedding planning is based on the couple’s desires, but these are some great tips that help ensure your wedding will go smoothly! Congrats and may your wedding be memorable and fun!