Happy May!!! As we enter wedding season, I want to talk about the biggest "Time Sucks"that I see happen on wedding days. Ashley from Aced Events, and I did a LIVE chat o this last week and everyone found it super helpful, so I want to recap it for you here.
If you're wondering what exactly a "Time Suck" is- it's exactly what it sounds like. Its something that sucks up time, or wastes time. I'm going to go over the most common ones that we see collectively across the wedding industry, and give you some options to put in their place instead. The reason it's important to try to avoid any major time sucks, is because weddings are expensive. You pay a lot of money to bring in vendors from entertainment, to photo and video and catering and you want to make sure you are utilizing your time with them to your advantage and getting the most out of your money, right?
1) So the biggest most unnecessary (and outdated) Time Suck is a receiving line. I shudder at the thought of it even. A receiving line is when you and your parents line up after the ceremony (it's especially common for Catholic or Greek Orthodox ceremonies) so that the guests can greet you as they leave the ceremony space. This takes up a MINIMUM of thirty minutes if you have a guest list of 100-125 people. It's never "quick", as parents will argue that it will be. The guests want to talk to you, give you well wishes, tell you how beautiful you are, probably want to take a selfie with you. It's a whole production, and it is an extreme waste of your time with your vendors. Your photographer and videographer are basically rendered useless during this time because it doesn't make sense to take photos or video of the back of you or your guest's heads. Instead, you could be using this time to get your portraits done or head over to cocktail hour to eat those delicious hors d'oeuvres that you spent good money on.
People often think that if they forgo a receiving line, that they need to go to each table to greet everyone. NOOOOOOO. That takes even longer- upward to TWO HOURS. I understand that you want to thank your guests for coming and honor their time, but trust me when I say that they would much rather get to the food, drinks and dancing. You are not paying for a wedding to have your guests waiting for you to greet them. You are paying for a celebration!
Instead of these things, after you've made your entrance into the reception, and had your first dance, grab a microphone and thank everyone for coming. Say a few words and tell them you will see them on the dance floor! I'd also recommend seating the elderly or less mobile guests, that might not be into the party or dancing scene, together in the same group of tables close to the dance floor, so that you can quickly pop by those couple of tables to greet them and show your respect to them. But any healthy, mobile guests can catch you on the dance floor!
2) This one is probably the biggest Time Suck and it's one you probably weren't even expecting. Speeches. Make sure you are capping their time. I'd recommend asking them to stay under three minutes each, AND only giving the maid of honor, best man and parents of the couple the option to toast. Most people get up there and talk for ten minutes each, and it adds up if there are multiple speakers. I have had people talk for over thirty minutes EACH. One time speeches were 97 minutes (yes I counted) by the time everyone was done. That's INSANE. The caterers couldn't cook dinner until they were done so that the meals would be fresh, so EVERYTHING ran late and the band that they paid $7,500.00 on just kept looking at me like "what is even happening". Because they couldn't play. There was only so much video footage the videographer could capture, and only so many photos I could take during that time, because it's all so repetitive. So we were literally sitting on the floor waiting for something new to happen. No one needs to know your life history with your friends or siblings who are giving the toasts a quick toast to your futures will suffice. I promise.
3) The next one is a collective Time Suck, and I'll categorize it under "Getting Ready Chaos". It's so easy to let the morning get away from you. Here are some tips to make sure everything is running smoothly and you aren't wasting any time. Make sure that you have a clear timeline for hair and makeup and everyone knows what time they are up so that they are there and ready to go. Have everyone leave their clothes and belongings in a different room from where you are getting ready. Your getting ready space should be clear and clean with NO clutter so that your photographer and videographer's don't have to capture any clutter in your images. Make sure everyone has steamed any of their robes or gowns- and your veil the night before so they are ready to go. And have all of your details (your photographer should be able to tell you what they need from you) set aside so that they can just grab them and go when they arrive.
4) Extended family/friend group photos. This was a traditional thing in the 80's and 90's. Literally everyone got in the photos. But these aren't the photos that your grandchildren want, in fact, I literally just went through my grandmother's photos with her (boxes and BOXES) and I can't tell you how many group photos from weddings I threw away because I didn't know who the people in the photos were, and she couldn't remember either.
If you feel that these shots are important to you, instead of using portrait time for these, it's best to do them at the end of dinner, before the dance floor opes up so that the band or DJ can make an announcement and everyone can come to the dance floor for these photos since everyone is already in one space and it wont waste as much time trying to wrangle people in.
I'm certain that I can think of many more, but these are the most common Wedding Day Time Sucks, so I hope that you found it helpful! As always, make sure to tune into our Instagram LIVES on Thursday Nights at 9:30pm EST for more wedding chats!