17 Mar

Wedding Guests: Keeping Their Attention

We often tell our couples that their wedding day is the one day in their lives they will never forget and the one day that all eyes are entirely on them – they are the stars of the show after all. Yet, have you ever sat at a wedding reception as a guest, listing to toasts and wondered when they would be finished so you can start dancing? It’s a thought that has crossed a few minds over the years.  Even with all the attention that comes from getting married there are times during the reception when it might be a bit of a challenge to keep your guests’ focused on all the important moments you have planned. With the hundreds of weddings that we have had the pleasure of witnessing, we have pinpointed the few portions of the evening when guests tend to get stir crazy and have recommended a few ways for couples to help their guests have an enjoyable evening.

Photo provided by Nathaniel Edmunds Photography.

Dinner & Toasts
During dinner guests will happily enjoy their meals and socialize with those at their table, but once they are finished they may feel the urge to socialize with others at the tables around them or take a visit to the bar (if it is open). Since the dinner service takes about an hour, and with pre-dinner activities taking place like the grand introductions and welcome, once they are finished eating some stir craziness can kick in. This is most noticeable when there is a long lull between dinner and the toasts or if the bar is left open throughout both. While this might not seem like a bad thing, it can be a challenge to have guests return to their seats to listen to the kind words of your family and friends saluting you. We often recommend closing the bar for dinner and toasts because it encourages guests to stay at their table or within the immediate area of it. This makes it easier for guests to return to their seats fairly quickly and divert their attention back to this special moment during your evening. We also recommend telling those offering you a toast to keep their message short, sweet and meaningful. Ideally this would be about 2-3 minutes per person.

Photo provided by Sarah and Rachel Photography

Special Dances
With the average song length running around four and a half minutes, it can feel like an eternity for a guest to sit through song after song after song when they have already sat through an hour’s long dinner service. We recommend working with your DJ or band to shorten or create a custom cut of the songs you are using for this special moment. Usually songs around two and a half minutes are best. Not only does this make it more comfortable for your guests who are viewing such a beautiful moment, it also makes it more comfortable for those dancing.

Photo provided by Bailey Roberts Photography.

Cake Cut
Depending on when a couple cuts their cake, either guests can be extremely attentive or quite possibly not realize it is happening at all. We recommend cutting the cake earlier in the evening, after the grand introductions of the couple and their wedding attendants. Guests are eager to begin the celebration and their eyes will follow the couple around the room, so if they enter and go directly to their cake cutting their guests will remain completely focused on them. If a couple chooses to cut their cake after dinner, and the time between dinner being served and the cake cut comes with a big lull in the timeline, guests may miss the cake cutting entirely as they tend to begin moving around the room, visiting the bar, and socializing with friends and family without realizing the DJ or band has made an announcement for this picture perfect moment.  

Let your wedding day be your time to shine!  A well thought-out timeline, bar hours and a friendly reminder to those giving toasts can do wonders for a guest’s ability to enjoy themselves. With just a little forethought,

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