It's safe to say that your entire wedding day will be busy, but the reception is arguably the most jam-packed portion of the celebration thanks to activities like your first dance, speeches, and the cake cutting. Even though there's a lot going on, it's important to find some time to enjoy your well-deserved (and carefully planned) wedding meal. That's why we asked some of our favorite wedding planners to share how they make sure their brides and grooms have time to eat dinner during the reception. Many of your friends and relatives will likely tell you they didn't have a chance to sit down for a meal at their own weddings, but our experts agree that a little careful planning is all it takes to ensure you get to enjoy all the delicious food you selected. Here, their best tips for carving out some time to eat.
Build meal time into the reception's timeline.
Sometimes the only way to make sure you actually do something is to build it into your schedule. On a day as busy as your wedding, this is especially true. Jesse Tombs, managing partner of Alison Events Planning + Design, says their team builds the bride and groom's meal time into the wedding's overall timeline—but they do so in a creative way that allows the couple to dine without interruptions. "I always have speeches scheduled during the served course," says Tombs, who adds that they always ensure the bride and groom have plates in front of them at this point so they're free to eat during the speeches without worrying about guests coming up to say hello.
Or devote a portion of the reception entirely to dinner service.
If you're nervous about eating during the speeches, save them for after the meal. "Another helpful way to ensure that the bride and groom eat is to save speeches and dancing until after entrées are served," suggests Laurie Arons, founder of Laurie Arons Special Events. If dinner service can progress undisturbed, she says there's less of a chance that the bride and groom will be out of their seats when food comes to their table.
Don't schedule photos during dinner.
"We understand that the golden hour for photographs falls at sunset, but it's best not to schedule hours of photos during dinner," said Alicia Fritz, owner of A Day in May Events. By clearly setting expectations with your photographer beforehand, you can come up with a timeline that allows you to be available for golden hour photos but back in your seats when the time the first course is served.
Get in some alone time.
"Have the caterer schedule in about 15 minutes for the bride and groom to get a bite to eat and drink before they head into the reception," says Meghan Detweiler, associate planner at Anna Lucia Events. Not only does this give them a chance to enjoy what they've selected for their guests ahead of the reception, but it also gives them a chance to catch their breath and take in their moment without any interruptions, she adds. This way, if you don't have much time to eat during the actual meal service, you'll already have fueled up (and tasted all of your delicious offerings).