WEDDING BASICS: GRAND ENTRANCE IDEAS
WEDDING BASICS: GRAND ENTRANCE IDEAS
This time we’ll take it from the top:
GRAND ENTRANCE IDEAS
Lots and lot s of Do’s (only one Don’t)
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is a good concept to keep in mind here. However, don’t read any implied pressure to “get it right” in that statement. There is literally only one thing you can do that is “wrong” and I promise to get to that at the end of this newsletter. But other than that one thing we’ll talk about later, anything you want to do is OK. You could literally fall down in front of everybody, then get up and laugh about it and have a great time the rest of the night.
Just relax, and give a little thought on how YOU want the Reception to begin.
photo provided by Jon Dunn
This was actually a difficult newsletter for me to write, because there are so many different directions the Grand Entrance can take. When I started to think of examples, I just got bogged down with so many good ideas I’ve heard over the years. I ended up just deleting the first two drafts and came up with this one, which will focus on the concept of the Grand Entrance more than specific examples.
You can do anything you want, the key is to remember that it is the first activity that “starts” the Reception. Sure, the guests will be arriving ahead of time, possibly enjoying some appetizers / cocktails but the party starts when the Bride and Groom arrive. Everything else literally follows that first Entrance. So spend a little time thinking about what kind of vibe and attitude you want at the Reception overall, and work up a Grand Entrance that matches and leads into that.
For most people have a pretty traditional Grand Entrance, because they have a pretty traditional Wedding Reception. There are endless ways to make your reception unique, but let’s be honest- most people daydream about the kind of Weddings they have in the movies, and that’s the direction they take with their Receptions. AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT AT ALL. In my previous newsletter, I went over that exact concept with the Crowd Participation Songs – things get to become known as crowd pleasers specifically because they tend to make most people happy.
So, we’ll start with a couple of different versions of what I call the “traditional” Grand Entrance. Then, I’ll talk about a couple of different styles that are a little more advanced (in terms of DJ skill) and lastly, we’ll talk about the one and only thing a Grand Entrance should NOT be (and why).
The formal, traditional Grand Entrance is pretty simple. It symbolically picks up exactly where the Ceremony left off. The bridal party walks out of the ceremony, and then walks into the Reception in the same order. The announcing of their names is pretty straightforward. It’s short and sweet with usually just first names over some instrumental music (although I have done this with no announcing at all to a song with lyrics). The instrumental music is usually romantic in nature, although it can be anything you like.
here is one example from a previous Wedding of mine, for Holly & Nelson
Traditional Grand Entrance - for Holly & Nelson
This is our traditional grand entrance for Holly & Nelson's wedding reception. This works well with their large bridal party, plus they have lots of high energy activities later in the evening. Video Provided by The Real DJ Steve.
A common variation on the formal, traditional Grand Entrance would be the “high energy” Grand Entrance. Which is basically the exact same thing, except with a loud, high energy song, that the DJ / MC gets the crowd to clap along with. Think of using the Chicago Bulls Theme song or AC/DC Thunderstruck for example.
Here’s Thunderstruck used by Robert & Rachel
Robert & Rachel: Grand Entrance
Here's the entrance of the Wedding Family Carter Ian Nab Grace Elizabeth Nab Zachary Robert Nab * Xander Gage Schmidt and of course" Dr Robert & Rachel Nab * My apologies to Zach for getting the order mixed up. He didn't seem to notice, but It was completely my mistake on the announcement.
These couple of examples both follow the same structure, and can be implemented in any number of ways by changing the song. I’m considering them both traditional Grand Entrances because they use mainly one song and simple announcing. For most of the Wedding couples I have worked with, this is what they have in mind, and it can be an easy way to begin the evening.
Advanced Music Mix and choreography
Sometimes, however, the Bride & Groom and their friends are a little more extroverted and want to WOW the crowd. This is something else that can be done in any number of ways. I have done baseball style introductions – where each person has their own song (which has to mixed live). I’ve had Chinese Dragons come through first, video screen montages right before, people running in from different doors / directions. I would even consider Marine traditional entrances where the Bride goes under the swords something extra.
Not everyone (and their bridal party) is going to feel comfortable with this approach. However, if you can create one of these WOW moments, either as part of the grand entrance or some other time – first dance, toasts, father daughter/dance, etc. ( Here’s a great example with a first dance) it almost guarantees that the rest of the night will be a success.
Advanced Introductions and bio’s
A completely different direction is to slow things down and go more personal. If you’re not the type that wants to dance around and put on a show (most of us aren’t) we can still add something extra by being more personal. It’s a simple concept that I call who & why. And by that I mean, who is that person and why are they in the Wedding Party. They are not just random good lucking people picked off the street – these are usually the most important people in the Bride and Groom’s lives.
It really is an honor to be a part of a Bridal Party, and simply explaining the who and why is interesting to the other guests. I always do this when I’m introducing the Best Man / Maid of Honor for the toasts, but the Grand Entrance is a great place for this as well. And it doesn’t have to be funny – in fact the goal is NOT to make fun of the Bridal Party, but to release some emotion and get everyone to relax.
Here is the best example of this technique I have ever seen:
Matt & Erin's Personalized Grand Entrance with 19 Wedding Party Members!
Watch as Matt & Erin's 19 Wedding Party members are introduced into their Wedding Reception on May 25th, 2012 in Santa Ana, California by their Wedding Entertainment Director®, Peter Merry of Merry Weddings. http://MerryWeddings.com http://TheBestWeddingReceptionEver.com
TWO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BLOG FOOTNOTES:
1: I want to thank Peter Merry, Bill Hermann, and Jason A. Jones for teaching me these concepts as a professional DJ. My who & why approach is a paraphrasing and combination of things they have directly shared with me. Peter Merry wrote this book: The Best Wedding Reception Ever which should be mandatory reading for everyone in the Wedding profession. Bill and Jason put on professional seminars for learning these exact advanced techniques and more. Through personal connections I have heard Peter speak a number of times and I am starting to budget and time for the Fall of 2013 to see Bill and Jason in person.
2. This Grand Entrance takes 12 minutes. If your first instinct is that “that’s too long” step back and think about it. This also comes up with the way I extend my Anniversary Dance activity. There is no such thing as “too long” when it comes to TIME. Things only take “too long” when they are BORING. When you are truly entertain g people and keeping them interested, you can take all the time you need. I see it in person every time I do an anniversary dance, and you can see it in this video. The people that are there, and know the participants are genuinely having fun, paying attention, laughing and clapping all the way through. I’ll repeat myself in big bold letters to drive home my point:
YOU HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD AS LONG AS IT’S FUN
(that’s what this whole night is about, remember)
I’ve never seen this done, but my theoretical max for “best Grand Entrance Ever” would be just like the video example from Peter, but replace his talking with recorded self-introductions (short – 20 sec each max) from each of the Bridal Party in their own voice. It would take some time, effort, and logistics to pull it off, but I would love to give it a try sometime.
So here’s the “don’t”
DON’T KEEP YOUR GUESTS WAITING
Do not keep your guests in the cocktail hour mode without you for an hour. Based on my 21+ years and counting of experience, 30 minutes is the magic number. If the doors open at 5:00, the Grand Entrance should be at 5:30. Every minute after that starts losing momentum. Don’t make the first half of your Reception boring and expect people to have a good time. Even with good intentions (letting the guests start to eat without you) it does not work.
Karma is a real living thing when it comes to Wedding Receptions. If you and the Bridal Party decide to ride around in the limo getting drunk and keep your guests waiting for an hour, it subconsciously lets everyone know that getting drunk was more important than being on time, and that the guests aren’t that important to the Bride and Groom. Karma will kick in and those same guests that aren’t important will then not pay attention during the grand entrance, toasts, first dance, etc. (and they may or may not stick around for dancing)
You have to be inclusive with your actions if you want people to feel like they are a part of the Event.
Here’s the thing: if riding around in a limo is so important to you that you’re willing to disrupt your entire Wedding Reception, then just admit it and do it properly. Start the reception early, end it at 10:00 and ride around in the limo after. That way you can spend time with “the guests” at the right time, and have the “crazy” time with your Bridal Party afterwards. There’s no point in keeping a bunch of people waiting around for you if you don’t want to be there.
If the guests first impression of the Reception is that the Bride and Groom are late, and we have to wait around being bored before we can start, can you really blame them for thinking your Reception is boring? Do anything you want to start your Reception, just make sure you start it on time – Make a good first impression and get the Reception started right.
And always remember: this is your big day – it’s supposed to be fun.
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The Real DJ Steve is both a Las Vegas Wedding DJ and the owner of United DJs Las Vegas.
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