How to hold a wedding that you’ll leave – on a high!
Every wedding venue will give you a cut-off time by which your wedding reception must be over – and all guests must be out – or on their way out.
If you don’t adhere to these, usually, clearly-outlined timings, expect to pay over-time fees.
Not only do you not want to have to worry about a potential fine during your wedding reception, you want to ensure your grand party doesn’t end with a downer because you and your guests have been booted out of the reception venue.
To avoid this, here are eight very practical tips to help you get your guests dancing out the door on time – but without killing the mood.
1. If you and your new spouse plan to head off before the reception officially ends, ensure the members of your bridal party – or a family member (or your MC) knows exactly what time the party must end and that they have a game plan for helping other guests make their exit at least 15 – 20 minutes before they’re supposed to be out the door. That will ensure any stragglers can straggle but still make it out the door before you cop a late fee.
2. Talk to your band or DJ and have them play a rousing final song to finish off the evening on a high note - and make sure they announce that it will be the end of their set. The song should be played at least 15 minutes before you need everyone out of the building.
3. Leaving at the same time as your guests can be the best way to make sure they vacate your venue on time. Make a bit of a fuss about your guests fetching their coats and joining you outside to wave you off - and save your bouquet toss until this moment so they have something to watch. Make it clear that is the end of the party.
4. If you are having low lighting for an evening reception, ask whomever is in charge of the event form the venue to ensure the lights come up gradually during the final 15 minutes of the celebrations. Nothing kills a party like a sudden burst of bright lights but guests will need to be able to see well when they are collecting up their belongings.
5. Make sure your guests have easy access to their coats. The venue’s cloakroom attendant may be able to bring them into the reception room for you to encourage people to start wrapping up or you could get bridesmaids and ushers to collect guests’ coats for them and hand them to them individually while thanking them for coming. They could also hand out any favours/bomboniere at this time, which makes it pretty obvious that it’s time to head home.
6. Arrange for a local taxi company to have cars waiting outside at the time you plan to finish the reception. Alternatively, arranging a shuttle bus to local accommodation or a point close to the area the majority of your guest live as that will set a very firm time that they must be ready to leave – and out the door.
7. Plan an after party somewhere, even if it’s just the bar of the hotel where some of your guests are staying. Having another venue to head off to if they want to carry on the fun will stop overly enthusiastic guests from trying to persuade the DJ to keep going.
8. Designate members of your wedding party to check the venue, including the bathrooms, to make sure there are no stray guests or possessions left behind. You would be amazed how many tipsy wedding guests sneak off into a corner for a quick nap.