Having met with hundreds of couples planning their wedding, many have asked, how long should our wedding last? Given that getting married is the first go round for most, couples have a myriad of questions on how to plan for their big day. As a Columbus, Ohio Wedding DJ, I have advised hundreds of couples concerning the timeline for their wedding.
Some believe the celebration of a marriage should go all night with no end to the music and although the unification of two families is a huge celebration indeed, there are many elements to a wedding that require both planning and timing.
A wedding is typically a late afternoon to evening affair that allows for beautiful photographs of the wedding party and sunset shots prior to the reception. Majestic photos may be captured for outdoor weddings in the Spring when the foliage is in full bloom and during the Fall when the colors are changing. Some couples opt for a winter white wedding which make for great pictures as well. Regardless of the season, if the weather cooperates for an outdoor wedding, it’s a bonus to listen to the exchange of vows in a picturesque outdoor setting. During the early evening hours, It is very comforting to observe the sun basking low in the sky while mixing with your guests and enjoying delicious food. If there is a burst of color in the sky, compliments of a beautiful sunset, this is an opportune time for the bride and groom to sneak away with the photographer and enjoy a kiss. An idea to bank: In mid summer, the sun sets later so sunset photos may not take place until after dinner.
Typically, following the ceremony, guests enjoy casual conversation and cocktails while the wedding party is taking pictures. When the pictures conclude, the reception gets underway with the grand introduction of the bridal party, bride and groom first dance, dinner, followed by all remaining important formalities that have been planned.
Like any DJ, I love a packed dance floor and it has been my experience that guests are more at ease to dance on a darker dance floor. On the flip side, guests are not as comfortable dancing during an early afternoon wedding reception, especially when there is ample natural lighting flooding the room. I make it a priority to accommodate the music requests of my clients and in the same vein, attempt to make the celebration all inclusive so all can participate in the dancing and fun. At most weddings, there is typically a wide range of ages in attendance and a very successful formula for many is to begin the dancing with more dated songs and graduate to more modern/contemporary as the celebration progresses. This is what I call an “All Encompassing Event”. For those with the conviction their guests can party until the sun rises, remember, many of your guests have been with you all day and night, it may be very hot, some have consumed a great deal of food and in some cases, one too many cocktails. Some of your older guests and those with children will likely cut out earlier while the younger set will keep the party going until they hit a wall. The very best of DJ’s can maintain a packed dance floor, but can’t prevent guests from becoming tired and in need of a break.
As your event draws to a close, there will most likely be a last dance and when this time arrives, I like to invite the bride and groom to the center of the dance floor and ask all guests to join them for a proper and usually, high energy send-off. Many couples want their reception to end on a strong note with the majority of their guests still in attendance to send them off in style as they venture into married life. A typical wedding and reception run for 6 hours and with all that takes place prior to the ceremony and all the activities that follow, most are exhausted. This said, I recommend 6 hours that leave your guests wanting more, while ensuring they got the most from the night. As a hypothetical, assuming the prelude music for your wedding begins at 4:00pm with a 4:30 start for your ceremony, you will spend some time with your photographer while your guests are enjoying cocktails. The reception will begin at 6:00 pm with a grand introduction of the bridal party and bride and groom first dance occurring at approximately 6:15. Dinner will commence shortly thereafter with toasts given at around 7:15. Following this will be the father/daughter, Mother/son dances, an open dance floor for your guests, cutting the cake, bouquet and garter tosses, more open dancing and any other formalities you may have planned. The last dance will get underway at around 9:50 followed by a great send-off which will signify an end to a fantastic day. Clearly, this scenario is just an example as every wedding is and should be different and unique. I plan very closely with each and every one of my wedding clients in an effort to capture their vision for a perfect day. Happy planning from Millennium Mobile DJ.