As veterans in the wedding business, we've provided DJs and photo booths for hundreds of weddings, quinceaneras, parties, and events, in Austin and Central Texas. Every event we do has a general timeline that we try to follow, but we noticed that most of the time, the timeline gets off track, for various reasons. When you save time, you also save money, since you won't need your vendors as long! Here are 7, great, time-saving tips to help you stay on track and save time, on your big day!
1. Take Pictures Early - Usually, after the ceremony, cocktail hour begins, and couples will take pictures with their bridal party and families. A great way to save time is to have your bridal party and immediate family show up early to the wedding, and take lots of great pictures before the ceremony, early during the day! You won't be rushed and can take as many photos as time allows. You can still take some pictures immediately after the ceremony, but you won't need to take as many pictures, which saves valuable time!
2. Plan a Faster Plated Dinner Set-up - We often see weddings get off track during dinner, since people eat at different paces. If you're having a smaller wedding, with less than 75 people, dinner should take an hour or so. If it's more than 75, plan for longer. For plated dinners, have the staff put out all the salads and drinks, as early as possible. If dinner starts at 6 PM, have the staff put out the salads and drinks at 5:50 PM, so when dinner officially starts, it will start right on time, and there's no waiting for plates to be served.
3. Save Time in the Buffet Line - With any wedding, saving time is always a great thing. Whether you have 50 guests or 250, saving time at dinner is a must! We've seen some wedding dinners take 3 hours, due to poor planning. A great way to save time is to have two buffet lines. Even if there is only one area for food, a line on both sides will help people get their food, faster! Ideally, have your vendors have two different set ups, so your guests can have 2-4 separate lines. This saves a lot of time!
4. Cake Cutting - Many people schedule cake cutting halfway through the night, and though this is fine, you have to stop everything, turn on the lights, and completely change the mood. If everyone is dancing, this means you'll have to stop the party! We recommend doing cake cutting towards the end of dinner. This gives your guests some dessert, and also saves time. Often times, the cake cutting takes 10 minutes, to get all the pictures, etc. Then, many couples will want the cake cut and served to everyone, which is understandable. See the next tip to save time with cake cutting.
5. Designate a Cake Cutter - After the first slice of cake has been cut by the couple, save some time by designated a staff member or family member/friend, to cut the rest of the cake. Often times couples will take the time to cut the entire cake, which wastes a lot of time, since people usually will form a line to get cake. This can take 30 minutes, or more of precious time. Simply have the DJ announce that the cake will be cut and we'll announce when it's ready. Right after the couple cuts the cake, move on to the toast/speeches.
6. Toasts/Speeches - Toasts and speeches are a must, for any wedding! We've found that the best time to do these, is during dinner, right after the cake cutting. Many people wait until later in the night, but it's best to do earlier, since all your guests are there. During dinner, you'll have your audience captive and sitting down, and you won't have to find anyone who may be somewhere else, try to ask people to stop dancing, turn on the lights, etc. Do your toasts and speeches right after the cake cutting. Be sure your vendors or family/friends are serving the champagne or drinks, as cake is being cut. While the cake is being cut, the toasts are happening, and once the speeches are done, the cake is usually ready, which saves a lot of time!
7. Bouquet/Garter Toss - This last tip can save a lot of time, too! Often times, couples will wait until halfway through the night or later, to do the bouquet and garter tosses. We recommend doing these right after dinner, or within the first hour of the dance. This way, everyone is there to witness these and you'll have more people participating! Both of these should take about 5 minutes, each. The DJ will have to call everyone to the dance floor, and ideally, after dinner, everyone is right there, so no time trying to find everyone!
An important thing to keep in mind is that many older family members will leave shortly after the dance begins, depending on where they drove from, what time the ceremony started, and how long they've been there. It happens at every wedding, especially the weddings where there is a large gap in time from the ceremony to the reception. Keep this in mind when planning your wedding. This is also a great reason why we recommend all of the above tips. These key moments are important in every wedding, so getting these done early, will ensure all your guests will be there to share your moments!
As always, please contact us if you have any additional questions, and we'll be happy to help!
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We've taken our decades of experience and compiled it into a few helpful articles, to help you plan your wedding or event!