Kurt Titchenell is President and owner of Brandywine Valley talent, as well as band leader and trombone player for the renowned Philadelphia area dance band Jellyroll. Kurt has performed and organized the entertainment for more than 1500 weddings over the years. He has developed a unique perspective on current wedding trends as well as do’s and don’ts. We hope this insight valuable and interesting as you plan your wedding. Recently named a wedding expert by Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, Kurt offers advice here on Brandywine Valley Talent’s new “View from the Stage”:
When you perform at, and plan as many weddings as Jellyroll, you develop an understanding of the wedding process. From the planning stage to the last dance of the night, the band leader sees almost everything. Not only do we have the unique pleasure of working with our brides and grooms throughout this process, but we’re usually a foot or two off the ground at the reception. We have a different perspective literally and figuratively than most others. It was with this in mind that we decided to start View from the Stage.
To give a few different views from the stage, I have invited Karen Pecora of Karen Pecora Events to chime in and give us her “take “ on our ideas.
Karen Pecora Events has been working with BVT for as long as we all can remember…15-17 years at least. Jellyroll even played at her wedding 10 years ago.
Karen Pecora Events is a vibrant, fresh thinking event design company which specializes in creating, producing and managing exceptional weddings, events and private parties. Karen Pecora Events mission is to make your wedding or party experience the least stressful and most exciting time of your life! They are known for stylish yet elegant events!
So let’s get started. For the first every entry of View from the Stage, I want to talk about a most important element in making your wedding reception a success. It’s not as beautiful as your dress, and it’s not as delicious as what to serve for your main course, but the pacing of your reception is probably the most integral part of creating a great party
Make sure you discuss the pacing of your event with all relevant parties, including your caterer, your bandleader, and your wedding planner. You won’t believe how much smoother your wedding will run if everyone is on the same page.
Here are some considerations:
Bridal Party Introductions: Lately, the trend has been moving away from introduction of the entire bridal party. These announcements, and corresponding preparation can often take much longer than you anticipate, causing your guests to get antsy, while eating into time you could be dancing. If you have your heart set on introducing the bridal party, make sure you plan ahead. Nothing stops a reception in its tracks like having to wait for the bridal party to assemble before kicking the night off. In my experience, it’s a good practice to make the Best Man and the Maid or Matron of Honor the unofficial team captains of the bridal party. Come up with a game plan beforehand, and let them know that it’s their job to make sure everyone is ready to be lined up on time and in the correct order. If the band is going to announce the bridal party, you should review the line up this as part of your pre wedding planning meeting.
Karen’s Take: Of course as a planner I am going to say hire a planner to round up everyone and keep everything moving and organized. A wedding day coordinator can keep you stress free and allow you, your family and friends to be guests and enjoy the day! If in the event that you do not hire a planner it is a GREAT idea to assign this to someone. Another great idea is to ask if your banquet manager at the venue can help with this. Most venues have extra staff on hand that can help out during this time. We find that one missing person could potentially hold up the night and conflict with dinner service or worse yet, cut into your time on the dance floor!
Meal: Make sure your bandleader knows exactly how the meal is going to be served. An experienced bandleader should be able to react on the fly, but for your peace of mind, it is always better to plan ahead. The itinerary that a band leader develops should be consistent with the catering director’s timeline and you should see this in writing. Knowing when the courses of a meal are expected will help determine the best plan to maximize open dancing time.
Karen’s Take: I cannot agree enough!!!!
Toasts: If you are going to have several toasts during the reception, make sure to plan them around the night instead of planning the night around the toasts. Planning is the key to a great party, but when it comes to toasts, flexibility is paramount. You never want to stop the party for a planned toast. At any reception, there will be an ebb and flow on the dance floor. Have your toasts at natural lulls in the party. This way you will inject the party with some life when it starts to die down, and you won’t derail it when it’s really starting to roll. Again, plan this as part of the itinerary, but give the band leader flexibility if your goal is to maximize dance time.
Karen’s Take: LISTEN to this advice! They are GREAT words! Your evening should flow flawlessly! Once your catering staff has served a course and when guests are eating it is a nice element of entertainment to have toasts taking place. This keeps the evening enjoyable but does not conflict with dance time! Encourage “Group” toasts as well. It is proper that if parents want to speak they give a “welcome” not an actual toast. If you have two best men, suggest they give a joint toast.
These are just a few simple tips to help you pace your event. If you follow these, you’ll be well on your way to having an exciting night that flows from start to finish.
Check back soon for more tips on ways to make your wedding the best it can be!