Confession time, we have worked at events that have had no reception flow and it is easy to remedy.
Think of your wedding day as a string of events and then look at the way you connect these events together. I will skip your preparation early in the day as we are focused on the music and how that can help your ceremony and reception flow perfectly.
Pre-ceremony – let us or your live musicians play for 30 minutes as guests arrive so there is a sense of being in the right place and knowing they are welcome and wanted there.
Ceremony – when it is time to start, have the music fade down to silence for 10 to 20 seconds. Suspense is an amazing way to put an exclamation point on your processional into the ceremony. Make it intentional and not just a continuation of the pre-ceremony music and we will play it a bit louder than the earlier music and we will fade down to silent when you get to the front and your officiant is ready to start.
I feel the topic of a microphone has to be addressed. When possible I discourage having a microphone at your ceremony as it is putting technology between you and your vows. I have been known to cringe when the officiant is using a mic poorly and it is not even close enough to pick up the words but will still be immortalized forever in your wedding photos. If you are 200 guests in the flight path of Pearson Airport then yes, I will concede that a mic is helpful. Maybe set on a stand to the side for readings but I just had to include this paragraph so you think about technology and your ceremony. This helps the reception flow more than you would think!
Once the ceremony is finished you have a burst of energy with a fun recessional song and then upbeat cocktail reception. If live music is in your plan keep them for cocktails as the cost for an extra hour or so is negligible once you have them there for the ceremony. Reach out to our friends to evaluate if live music is right for you and your ceremony and cocktails. Brent Miller Live, Wellington Music, GuitarGuys, Liz Craig are just a few of our favourites in the GTA.
OK, you’re married and now it is time to segue into the reception. This is a great opportunity for music to connect the cocktails to dinner.
Here are the most common sequences:
– Intro and dance / dinner / speeches / bride and groom thank you to cake cutting and parent dance then party.
– Intro and welcome / dinner with speeches between courses / bride and groom thanks you to first dance parent dance and party with cake cutting later.
– Intro / sit for dinner / speeches and parent dances between courses / bride and groom thank you, cut cake and first dance then party.
What I am looking for is to have our couples bundle events together so that the photographer and your guests can capture what is happening and to avoid you having to stand up and sit down all the time.
Put events at the start and at the end of dinner and depending on your toast and speech requirements you can sprinkle them in as needed. It is a lot like a recipe and doing things in a logical order will create a great result.
The kissing game, centrepiece giveaway, shoe game, slide shows and all that wedding stuff… Maybe it is the clients that are attracted to us or maybe it is a wedding trend but I am seeing a lot less stuff happening during the dinner in recent years and personally, I like it better this way! There is a solid move to “less is more” and it helps keep the reception on schedule and you can get into the dancing sooner. There are still lots of weddings with these games but please don’t feel like it is mandatory. Chart your own path!
Flow in the dancing. I always refer to the dancing as where we earn our pay but the reality is that so much of being a wedding DJ is the behind the scenes work with your vendor team.
Early evening is often not as loud and we play a bit more to the older guests so they have the fun wedding reception experience and then work towards your personal music taste as the night progresses and the volume can increase. An early night is when you will see a set of those Greek dances or polkas if that is your families thing.
We will play the music in sets of 2 or 3 songs so that the party does not feel disjointed. Sets allow people who like a type of music to hit the dance floor and get 10 to 15 minutes of dancing before we segue to something different. We will work on the requests you provided us and weave the music into something awesome.
We are cool with requests on the fly but also this is the time to have fun and trust that we will make the right choices for music based on what is happening in real time. We are not there to break new music or be artistic. We are there to build a soundtrack that is unique to you and your guests.
If you want to do the bouquet and/or garter toss and a late night food service I say bundle them together just before the photographer leaves around 10:30 or 11:00 pm. We will follow the lead of your catering team but typically this is a simple announcement and not a full stop to the party.
1:00 am finish. At our staff meetings, it is rare that our DJs say anything good happens after 1:00 am. End on a high note and finish off big rather than trying to keep high energy until 2:00 am. There are exceptions but for most couples, it has been a long day and they are happy to tidy things up at 1:00 am and get back to the hotel room.