Everyone has a mental image of how they would like their wedding reception to go. Some people want a mingle party with some light dancing and some want a throw down. It’s really all relative. Either way, I believe everyone would agree that all they really want is a memorable celebration with family and friends. My wife and I had roughly 150 guests and we anticipated the “throw down” option, and in hindsight it was. Our reception went by so fast, and we even had a 4 hour event. However the amount of “free” time Michelle and I had was great. We had plenty of time to mingle, dance, etc. That being said, with my experience as a wedding DJ, there is a key decision that plays a vital role in the energy level of a reception; “What time the food is served”. I have added some charts to help you understand what I mean. Lets separate these two extremes with the terms “Intimate” and “Raving”.
In my observations, if the guests are having dinner during the time the couple is off taking pictures immediately following the ceremony, has a definite impact on how the reception flows.
Dinner after Primary Dances "Intimate"
Dinner During Pictures "Raving"
Let’s take the “Intimate” approach. (Dinner served after the Couples Dance) has people eating and conversing for an estimated 30 minutes. By the time dinner is consumed, roughly 1.5 hours of the typical 3.0 reception has already passed. At which time, the dancing typically ensues with the interjections of potential toasts as well as the optional Money Dance, Bouquet and Garter Tosses. While this approach typically lacks in the guests dancing department, it makes up for it with conversational memories that will last a lifetime.
On the other hand, the "Raving" option has drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and dinner while the couple is taking their formal pictures and hopefully getting a quick bite prior to entering the reception. This approach allows for the couples and other primary dances to kick off the party. Danceable music is then triggered. Essentially starting the party with an estimated 2 hours and 20 minutes remaining. With that amount of time remaining, S1M likes to do the optional Money Dance, Bouquet and Garter Tosses at the 1 hour and 20 minutes remaining mark. This allows the dancers a cool down timeframe, as well as allows the DJ a trigger point to up the energy level again.
Obviously, it all comes down to what you as a couple envision what your dream day to be. Albeit "Intimate" or Raving". If you ever need an insight on time lining your event or have questions that you think our experience might have an answer for, contact us. We're always here to help.