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Reception activities – Success

Speeches

The Wedding speech is usually made after dinner before the cutting of the cake, but it is possible for the speeches to be staggered throughout the evening, or even done at the start of the night. They can be eloquent formal speeches, heartfelt casual wishes or anything in between. Couples often opt to offer a toast to their wedding party together. Also, they will not only have a close friend or relative offer a toast to the bride, but a person from the groom’s side will do the same for him.

Your client should select someone they know to act as a MC (Master of Ceremonies), and offer the toast to the bride (and possibly groom). If the people giving toasts need advice, there are a variety of websites offering wedding speeches and toasts. If they would prefer to purchase a book, here is one, available at www.amazon.com that is filled with great advice:
The Complete Book of Wedding Toasts, by John William McCluskey

If there is no close friend or family member who can act as the MC, you can hire a professional MC for the wedding.

A speech may be supplemented with a video montage or other type of visual or audio presentation and some couples provide a short time during the speeches for their guests to tell little stories, share memories or pass on good wishes during an open microphone opportunity. You should be aware whether your clients wish to do this, so as to be prepared with the appropriate audio/visual equipment and power source. The speeches will take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to complete.

Dance

The majority of weddings like to have a section of the night dedicated for dancing. It is tradition for the Bride and Groom to have a ‘Bridal Waltz’ at the beginning of the dance section of the evening- being their first dance as a married couple.

This usually is followed by dances by father-daughter, mother-son, the wedding party and other relatives then guests. This will vary depending on family dynamics, religion and cultural background.

Your job will be to gather together the couple, their bridal party and any other combinations of people they request to the dance floor for the dance to begin, giving the DJ or band enough notice to be ready to cue the music in time.

Cake cutting ceremony

Usually the cake cutting ceremony begins after dinner or after the speeches, but this can vary. The MC will announce the cake cutting, and give guests the opportunity to take photos. It’s important that a cake-cutting knife is ready on the table for your couple to cut the cake, prior to the announcement. Also make sure that the cake table is prepared and ready, and out of the road of traffic, and in front of a nice backdrop.

Since the cake cutting ceremony is one of the photo opportunities that occur at the reception, the MC should make the announcement prior to the couple making their way to the cake table, to give guests time to grab their cameras and get into position. It’s also a good idea to alert the couple in advance, in case they want to freshen up for the cameras.

Bouquet and garter toss

Another popular tradition is the bouquet and garter toss. Again, advise the DJ or band in advance, so they can cue the correct songs for this event. Also you will need to prepare any back up bouquet in advance if the bride is not throwing her real bouquet. Check with the bride and groom that they are ready for the bouquet and garter toss prior to announcing it, in case they want to freshen up. The formality is that the single wedding guests are called to the dance floor area (Then the bouquet is tossed to the female guests and then the garter, if worn, is tossed to the male guests.) Check with the Bride and Groom if they would like this tradition included at the reception, as not all religions and cultural backgrounds have the same views on this tradition- and in some cultures it may be frowned upon.

Tear down and clean up

While not always the case, you may be asked to supervise teardown or cleanup of the facilities. This is especially the case if you have hired a private venue or hall or function room, and there is no other wedding coordinator or event manager on site.

Items that have been hired need to be packed up and put away in the containers they came in for next day pick up, or put into storage for next day drop-off.

All decoration items need to be returned to the hire company in good condition- and you should check the quantities hired to make sure no items have gone missing.

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