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  • Writer's pictureAndy Przybyla

Some really useful advice about your Wedding Reception

I'm hoping to share my experience with you here on how to get the best out of your Wedding Reception evening party. From the start to finish looking at timings, what it should include, what trends are dying off and two ways to end the night.

I've performed at hundreds of weddings now, from small intimate affairs with under 20 people, to huge weddings in grand halls with close to 200 guests. I've provided music for couples of many different backgrounds and nationalities, I love to do LGBT+ weddings and what I have learned is no two are ever the same.

This means you might have been to an awesome wedding, and thought 'that is what I want my wedding night to be like', but this is not always going to be the case.

Onto the tips:


Get the guest list right

This is actually huge. The right balance of people will make or break the night. First off you want party people, if you can't have them all day, make sure they get a night time invite. People you know will dance, entertain and go wild but not aggravate people (be wary of people who are overbearing).

Its a huge trend for older guests to leave early so having too many can leave a hole in the room at the end of the night. Post Covid this seems to have got worse and we're now seeing a 10 or 11pm exodus. Of course its nice to get the family around but get that balance right.

Don't ask for song requests

Many blogs written by people who have no idea how to DJ a wedding reception will tell you the best way to get your guests to dance is to get requests from them before hand or as part of your rsvp. Noooooooo.

The only person who should send some request before the event is yourself and even then it should be a guide to the music style you (and your guests) prefer. You've gone to the expense of hiring an expert, let them fly, if people want requests let them ask on the night. Two reasons for this. It helps the DJ build a rapport with the guests, and it means the song they ask for hasn't dropped out of fashion (chart songs have a huge tendency to do this).

Start the night right

If things are moving well your photographer will steal you away before the room is turned around for the evening reception, your guests will be moved out to allow your vendors to set up and get ready.

Make an entrance but don't leave it too long. A great way to enter the reception is with an introduction by the MC or DJ, maybe to a backing song. Then try to get to the cake cutting and first dance within the first 30 mins, or better still get straight into it. Some people are quite traditional and won't get up to dance till the couple have had their first dance. Better still for me it starts the party off with a bang right from the start and fills the floor starting as we mean to go on.

Bringing the bang

Have a part of the night about high energy dance music or something you like for a good 30 mins to an hour. Add to it with glow sticks, uv bubble guns or light up foam batons. Make sure people know its time to dance by putting it on your schedule board - call it the rave.

Take it to the next level and get in something to compliment the DJ. It can be a big increase to the cost but check out my blog post on DJ and sax, but it could be a PA vocalist or percussionist too.

Consider something unique as an activity

This wont be for every couple but I've been part of some really fun activities and sketches as part of the evening reception. You may have decided to get some singing waiters in during the day, this is just something similar on the night.

Some ideas, salsa/latin dancers, bhangra dance troops, drag acts, ceilidh band etc.

Skip the traditions that don't fit

Things like the bouquet toss, showing the garter are things that are happening less and less in contemporary weddings. Its your wedding make it about you.

Things I see less and less in the evening reception are most certainly father-daughter dances and similar. People seem to just want to get the party started after the first dance. Couples love the guests to join in half way through rather than have the whole dance to themselves. I think it makes for better photos while you have the photographer around - give them some party shots.

How to end the night

I actually hate the typical ending to the night. Lights go off, music fades out and boom the room lights are back on and that's all folks. I've recently had two wedding that had different endings. Quiet hour: the music still ends but people have time to chat and drink before they are moved out - so it doesn't feel rushed.

Or, a grand exit, perhaps keep the sparklers till the end (ok the photographer might be gone but cameras haven't), or have bubble guns instead. Either way leave the room as your entered - this could even be a fake exit earlier in the evening to get changed. Knowing an activity is still forthcoming might encourage some to hang around.

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