After you have been officially declared husband and wife, it’s time to let loose and have some fun with your family and friends at the wedding reception. This is YOUR time to unwind and let loose; all of the planning and worry has paid off and now you can (hopefully!) enjoy yourself with some delicious food and a few cocktails.
But before you put on your dancing shoes, be sure you end the night without any regrets by doing these 12 things at your party:
1. Eat Something
"Couples are paying a pretty penny for these meals, but they are so caught up in the whirlwind of the day that they don’t take time to sit and eat," says Sammi Shea of Chalet View Lodge.
2. Take It All In
One big regret is not seeing the reception space to take in how it looked before guests took it over, says Tracy French of The French Connection Events and Travel. "Months go into planning the design and décor of the reception and often is where the bulk of the budget is spent."
3. Spend Some Alone Time With Your New Groom
"Unless the couple works with their photographer for a first look pre-ceremony, the pair will not have any time alone the entire day," says wedding planner Emore Campbell. "Couples should be sure to talk to each other during the reception--not just to guests."
4. Choreograph The First Dance
"You might not think it, but a bunch of my couples have wished they would have added a little flair to their first dance instead of just swaying back and forth," says Lizzie Lumley of Hakuna Matata Weddings & Events.
5. Hire A Photographer For The Whole Reception
"I find that couples regret not hiring the photographer for a longer period of time," says Amy Abbott of Amy Abbott Events. "Don’t skimp--after all, when will you two ever look this happy, perfect and in love!"
6. Pay Beforehand
No one wants to spend the end of their wedding party signing checks for catering, says Karen Bussen of Palladium Hotels and Resorts. "Tie up all loose ends the day before so you won’t waste a minute of your party."
7. Hire A Videographer
"You can’t be everywhere at your reception and you will miss many fun moments (and a great highlights reel) if they are never captured," says Bussen.
8. Mingle With All Guests
Be sure to stop to speak to all of your guests at the reception--even those you don't know very well including your new in-laws' friends or even your dad's boss. Everyone should know how much you appreciate their presence on your special day.
10. Plan Transportation for Guests
A big regret is not hiring transportation for their guests at destination weddings, says Adams. "When you arrange transportation for your attendees, you eliminate the margin for people to get lost, arrive late, or in some cases, miss the whole ceremony. Letting transportation pick them up at the at the hotel at a designated time is not only a great gesture, but also ensures that everyone gets to the 'church on time.'"
10. Honor Your Parents
"Parents are instrumental parts of weddings, and one of the biggest gripes I hear is couples forgetting to honor and thank their parents," says Campbell. "The perfect way to do this is to work with your planner and DJ to do a couples dance for the parents of the couple or give a special toast to the parents and god parents in the room."
11. Hit The Dance Floor
Brides and grooms love sweeping around the room, saying hi and taking pictures, which sometimes causes them to miss their favorite songs on the dance floor, says Campbell. "Brides should work with their DJ to have him/her call her to the dance floor for 5-8 different songs throughout the night, so the couple doesn't miss out on the chance to two-step."
12. Plan A Special Exit
"Brides hate to see their wedding day end because the day goes so fast, but the perfect punctuation to ending the day is by planning a special exit," says Campbell. "Whether its sparklers, a luxury car pulling off, a human tunnel works too, brides should definitely have their planners curate something special to end the evening."
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