Planning a Wedding in Northern Ireland (NI)




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Tips on Timings:

As there are so many elements to a wedding day, getting the timing right is not an exact science and it has to be expected that some things may run ahead of schedule and others behind. Allowing ample time for each element may be less stressful on the day than feeling that you are chasing your tail.

First dance The length of your wedding ceremony can vary greatly depending on its location, whether it's religious or civil and what special features you are including (such as songs, live performers and readings). If your wedding ceremony is being held in a church or chapel, you would expect it to take more than an hour. A civil ceremony will invariably be a lot shorter.

After your ceremony, you may want photographs taken. Take into consideration that, if the weather is inclement, this could alter your timings greatly. During the winter when daylight fades fast in the afternoon, your photograph session could be a lot shorter than on a sunny summers day.

If your ceremony is in a different location to your wedding reception, consider the journey time carefully. The choice of vehicle or carriage is endless. If a slower form of transport is chosen, such as a vintage car which has a top speed of 30mph, it can double or treble the journey time to your wedding reception.

Wedding reception disco For your wedding breakfast, if you have chosen a serviced three course meal for your guests, allow approximately an hour and a half. Speeches can be scheduled for before or after the meal, but a general guide to duration is half an hour. You know your family best and will know if they are comfortable with public speaking and whether you need to allow more or less time for this.

If your wedding breakfast is utilising the same room as your evening wedding entertainment, venue staff will need to turn the room around. This is common practice in many venues in Northern Ireland. During this period, guests will be invited to go and relax in a lobby area or separate bar. This normally takes anything from half an hour to an hour. This is an ideal time for your evening guests to be invited to attend as they will turn up while you are relaxing and it also means that they will be present when the evening reception entertainment starts and you have your first dance.

The turn around period is an ideal opportunity for your evening entertainment to set up, whether its a band or Disco. Their set up time varies greatly from one to another. Be sure to ask them how long they normally need as times could vary between 20 minutes and 2 hours (especially for bands).

Tips on choosing your entertainment

Your entertainment will play a major role in ensuring your guests enjoy your wedding day. The duration for most evening receptions is 5 hours, which is a significant part of the day.

Reception with wedding disco Many couples are attracted to live entertainment. When booking a band bear in mind that they will play in sets of approximately 45 minutes or an hour. Consider what happens while they take a break. Many bands play a particular genre or style of music. Always be aware of their repertoire and ask yourself whether this style would entertain all of your guests or just a proportion. Also consider the size of the band and the space available in your function room. A larger band will often take longer to set up, thus time taken out of your celebrations.

Some bands offer to supply music during their breaks. This may just be a random selection of music played from an i-pod or CD and can result in the energy level dropping in the room.

The ideal scenario if you are very keen on live entertainment is to book both a band and professional DJ separately. This way you are ensuring that your guests have the best of both worlds. It is recommended that you plan for both the band and DJ to set up at the same time. If not, you could have long periods of silence while the band packs away after their set and a DJ replaces them. Also, if a DJ is already set up, you have the option of asking them to play your first dance before passing over to the band. This way you are not limited in choice.

The advantages to booking a DJ as opposed to live entertainment is that a DJ can cater for all ages and tastes in the room. They have access to a variety of musical genres and can make your evening wedding entertainment very unique as many offer additional services such as games, children's hour and quizzes.

Tips on choosing a date

With 365 days to choose from and four seasons, its not an easy choice. The wedding season has traditionally been a Saturday between May and September. In recent years, especially now the churches and registrars have made other days possible, any day of the week is popular. Winter weddings are also on the increase and give rise to some imaginative theming and colour schemes which would look out of place during summer months. For budgeting, off peak times can save a substantial amount of money. Holiday times can initially seem a good idea such as new years day, but bear in mind you might be limited with your service suppliers such as hair and make up and some of your guests may have a vacation already planned.

Tips for ceremonies

Music is an essential part of your wedding ceremony whether you choose a string quartet, organist, solo instrumentalist or other music provider such as a DJ.

Many of your guests will arrive up to half an hour before the ceremony is due to start. Having music playing quietly in the background can create the right atmosphere and make an otherwise quiet room more inviting.

wedding disco entertainment You will need special pieces of music for walking down the aisle (processional), signing of the register, and walking back down the aisle (recessional). For your processional music, it may be better to choose something serious and sedate as this is the start of the formal part of your wedding. The recessional music signifies the start of the celebrations so a more up-beat tune can be chosen.

It is often advisable to have three tracks prepared for the signing of the register. Although the actual signing can be completed in seconds, if your photographer is allowed to take shots, including different groupings, this can easily take more than a standard 3 minute song.

Your choice of music can reflect your personalities and the atmosphere you want to create. There is a wide choice, but bear in mind that music has to be approved by the registrar or church and there are strict guidelines on using anything sacred during a civil ceremony. Musical styles can range from classical to more up-to-date suitable tunes. With modern technology and the wonderful internet, it is possible to source a variety of musical versions of the same song.

Tips for the quiet times

With so many elements to the wedding day, there can be times when you may worry what your guests could do. Surprisingly, these times aren't as big a problem as they first seem when written on paper. In reality, the day goes very quickly, and breaks between the proceedings are an ideal time to freshen up, relax and chat with friends and family.

1st dance Saying that, there are a lot of activities that you can arrange and make available. An increasingly popular option are the large lawn games that can be hired such as giant connect 4, chess, etc. These are only suitable if you can accommodate them indoors, or are blessed with good weather to have them in the grounds of your venue.

Hiring a casino for after the wedding breakfast can add an unusual aspect to your celebrations. This can be a real talking point and a source of fun.

Table top activities are ideal for the time before the breakfast, or after it. There is the traditional guest book which can be passed round and other written activities such as wedding anagrams, wedding crossword (especially if the questions are about you) and special memories of the bride and groom or a quiz.
For more information about ceremony music and master of ceremonies service in NI (Northern Ireland) call Sandy on 07774675533

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