Save the Date: The Party
There really is nothing like a wedding party. I know, that’s not a cool thing to admit and yes, I agree, it can be hard to get your party on with your mother and a whole coven of aunts watching you, but answer me this: where else is it acceptable to sit down on a dance-floor and do Rock the Boat with abandon? Or start a conga line with the father of the groom and the bride’s granny? And if you can show me a club anywhere in Ireland that allows, nay, actively encourages, mass waltzing to Brendan Shine’s ‘Do you want yer oul lobby washed down’ well, then I’ll eat my hat.
Joking aside, the party at your wedding is your chance as the happy couple to finally let your hair down and relax after all the stress and worry and hassle of organising the big day. And that’s my biggest and probably most important piece of advice – relax, dance and enjoy yourselves.
There are all sorts of things you can do at a wedding reception to make it go off with a bang and you can hire all sorts of musicians and entertainers but the number one thing that will make your wedding party a great night is if YOU go out there and enjoy yourself with your guests.
Forget all the frills and extras for a minute. I guarantee you what the guests want most is to party with YOU. If you hot foot it off the dancefloor after the first dance and skulk in a corner with a few select mates, your dancefloor will be empty. If you spend the night propping up the bar ignoring your guests, the atmosphere will be flat. If you spend the night going from table to table making small talk with random aunts you don’t see from one year to the next instead of actually enjoying yourself, your guests will get bored.
You’ve paid for this party, you enjoy it. You’ll have done all the greeting and shaking hands and kissing cheeks earlier in the day, if guests want to talk to you, let them come to you. I am possibly the worst dancer in the history of the world but on my wedding day I was top of the world and threw myself around the dance-floor like Beyoncé. I didn’t stop all night, neither did my husband and people still comment on it.
Our dancefloor was full from the first dance at 9.15pm to the last dance at 2.15am and the atmosphere was electric. I am biased, yes – I’m hardly going to come on here and tell you my wedding was a load of old shite – but I really feel so strongly about this. Join in with your own wedding reception, take part, be the centre of attention, it’s the one night you’re allowed to!
Back to the practicalities – there are a hundred and one things you can do to entertain your guests on the night of your wedding.
How about a Photobooth with silly props and accessories for the guests to take photos of themselves with? Or perhaps you’d prefer a salsa performance to get guests in the dancing mood? Maybe some Irish dancers at the interval of the band to give a bit of a Riverdance feel to the night? Or maybe you’d prefer a ceili band?
You might want to keep things more simple and go for a band or a DJ - a good band or DJ will get bums up off seats and create a great atmosphere.
- Book your band or DJ well in advance, they tend to book up really fast
- Haggle on the price, particularly if you’re having an off season or mid-week wedding. Be realistic of course, but never accept the first price.
- Research, research, research. Don’t just go by the band’s testimonials on their website; they’re understandably biased. Post on wedding forums such as Weddings Online or Mrs2be.ie asking for feedback on bands.
- Talk to both the band and the DJ about the sort of music you want played. Most will have a list of the typical songs they play, will take requests from you if there are particular pieces you want or will even ask you to email them in a set list. It varies from band to band and DJ to DJ but have a chat with them to make sure you’re on the same page.
- If you decide to go with a particular band or DJ, pay a deposit to secure your date. I cannot stress this enough. If you decide on a band and they’re free on your date you need to lock that down with cold, hard cash straight away. If you don’t pay a deposit then the band can give away your date to another paying customer.
- Where possible, go to see your band playing somewhere before you book them. Some bands hold showcases several times a year for prospective clients or play regularly in local pubs and clubs. Others you may have to crash a wedding to see. All bands will clear this with the other bride and groom first so don’t worry too much about it. Dress respectably, buy a drink at the bar, if possible sit at a vacant table to listen for a few songs and then leave. Our wedding band, Goodfellas has a great article on their site about this and how to go about it properly.
This is the end of the line for our Save the Date wedding series. We’ve advised and preached all we can, and it’s been a blast. Whatever you decide to do and however you decide to celebrate your wedding day, have a ball. Y’all come back and tell us about it, y’hear?