Eight Magic Keys to a Wedding That Doesn’t Suck

Whether your wedding budget is $1,000,000 or $10,000, you can throw a celebration that’ll leave your guests with great memories. All you need to do is follow these simple rules: 

Dress up your venue. If you can’t afford a grand ballroom with crystal chandeliers and historic tapestries, work with what you have. Creative centerpieces, beautiful florals and elegant uplighting can make any room come alive. 

Connect people with similar interests. Start with your seating chart, by pairing singles with singles, couples with couples, work friends with work friends, school friends with school friends, etc. Create a one-page quiz about the bride and groom and put it on each dinner table as a conversation starter. Look for opportunities to introduce guests to one another.

Keep the food and drink coming. Hungry guests can quickly become cranky guests. Pass-around appetizers, or even a table of vegetables and dip, and cheese and crackers, will keep your guests happy until dinner is served. And a nice dessert table or late-night hot dogs, cheeseburgers or pizza will be much appreciated.

Stay on time. The best weddings don’t have a long gap between the ceremony and reception. Don’t leave your guests searching for something to fill the time. You might just lose a few of them. Don’t let your photographer tie you up for an hour after your ceremony, while a bunch of hungry people wait for dinner. Your guests should have a place where they can relax and schmooze when you’re not with them.

Speak up, then shut up. Don’t let your Best Man, Maid of Honor or anyone else drone on with a 20-minute stream-of-consciousness speech while everyone is sitting there starving. Give your speakers and toasters a 3-minute time limit, and suggest that they write their speeches in advance. If someone rambles, have your DJ play them off with music, like they do on those TV award shows.

Hire great vendors  When you have professionals you can trust, your party will take care of itself, and you won’t be stressed. So you’ll be relaxed and a lot more fun around your guests. They’ll take their cue from your mood.

Entertain your guests. Your DJ doesn’t need to be your only entertainment. Couples have brought in everything from Irish dancers to Those Funny Little People, or asked talented relatives to perform a song or two. Some couples have brought in Casino Night games or photo booths. Couples with outdoor weddings have set up lawn games like Jenga and Cornhole. The more entertainment options your guests have, the more fun they’ll have. 

Get them home safely. Your guests who like to drink – a lot – will need safe transportation home. Having a hotel shuttle bus or an arrangement with Uber will ensure that everyone will live another day, to remember what a great time your reception was.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2017 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company. 

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