We’ve all been there before. You’re at a beautiful wedding reception and you just had a delicious dinner. You’re ready to get moving on the dance floor, but there’s just one thing in the way – the bride and groom, being the gracious hosts that they are, are still stuck visiting each and every loved one at their tables. They’re not ready for their opening dances (the father-daughter dance, the mother-son dance, and of course the ultimate First Dance as a couple) which means you, as a guest, cannot yet dance either. You’re trying to stay excited, but you’ve been wined and dined and you’re getting very sleepy… you’re not sure if you’ll even make it out to the dance floor!
This period of time between dinner and the opening dances, affectionately known as the Icebox, risks boring your guests while you’re still trying to be polite and say hello to each and every one of them. After all, it is very important to thank your guests for supporting your love on your big day and over the years. So how do you, as a bride-to-be, keep the energy up and prevent the Icebox from happening at your wedding? Here are a few suggestions:
Have a receiving line. Many couples decide to greet their guests immediately after their wedding ceremony instead of before the dancing at their ceremony. Guests get the chance to speak with them as they exit the ceremony venue. Especially useful for smaller, more intimate weddings, there are fewer distractions such as dinner and drinks. However, you may want to consider avoiding this if you have a huge guest list – if you have 300 guests attend it could take hours!
Mingle at cocktail hour. If your wedding day itinerary permits, try and speak with some guests while they are enjoying the cocktail hour. That way, you have fewer guests to speak with at the reception itself. (While speaking with every guest is a priority, you want to make sure that you don’t rush it all at once!)
Eat and Greet. As the guests of honor, the bride and groom are often served dinner first. This means that they are usually first to finish. Use this extra time while guests are still eating to start making the rounds at the reception. If you have a buffet, you can even send each table to the line after you’ve spoken with them – a personal way to start their meal.
Be Creative. Know your college friends will surely rock the dance floor all night long? Save a dance or two for them so you have a chance to thank them for their attendance. Have an outdoor garden area? Take a stroll to catch any people you may have missed at dinner. The goal is to make sure your guests are thanked, to matter where you find them.
Have a Plan. It’s very important to thank your guests at the ceremony – make sure there is time in your itinerary devoted to this task. You might even want to assign one of your attendants as “timekeeper”, responsible for gently nudging you along when they see you talking to chatty Aunt Sue for 45 minutes.
So there you have it. While it is important to get the party started at your wedding and get the dancing going, it’s equally important to make each of your guests feel special. You can have it all – with a little bit of planning and effort, you’re well on your way to the dance floor in no time!