By Rashim Nabanja
Back in the day, wedding receptions used to be held in the same way. Everything on the schedule went the same way and as a guest, one would know exactly how it was going to go down.
Some years down the road and the game has changed; everyone looks for different ways to make their wedding day memorable. People have now introduced cocktails, games, and even themes for their weddings just to spice up the experience.
However, no matter how much you want to spice up your day and eliminate some things you may consider old fashioned, there are some that you should not strike out from the programme.
The speech moment
Guests consider speeches a bit boring and long. This may make some couples want to do away with them but this is not wise. There always needs to be a moment when the bride and groom will let the guests know how they feel and thank them for coming. Also, the family and friends would want to share some wise words with the couple.
So instead of wishing you could delete speeches off the programme, play around with them and turn the moment into something interesting rather than a burden.
Jeff Ziwa, the managing director of Emcee Portal, says there is an arrangement to the whole speech thing. Usually, people from the bride’s family speak first, followed by those from the groom’s because his family are taken to be the hosts of the ceremony.
To manage time and also keep the guests from getting bored, give time limits to speakers. Ziwa says parents should speak for about five to 10 minutes while other speakers get three to five minutes.
Also, limit the number of people that are to speak. As long as the parents, siblings, workmates and two to three friends speak, those are enough speeches for the day.
Speeches are also better made towards the end of the ceremony after people have had the main meal as they are calmer sipping on some drinks and waiting for the cake to be cut.
Cake cutting is a wedding tradition. A wedding ceremony without cake would look really odd. Aside from the beauty it adds to your reception, your guests will also look forward to having a piece of dessert at the end of the ceremony.
Cake cutting is done by the couple who later each feed the other a piece. The reason behind this is to symbolise the joining of their lives and their commitment to one another. The cake is then shared with the rest of the guests.
In order not to make this moment look so ordinary, find unique ways to play around with it.
Asha Batenga, a baker, says that there is a need to pick a cake style that will suit your wedding.
She advises couples not to stick with their colour themes because while they may work well with outdoor functions, the colours will disappear within the decor if the function is indoors. You need a cake that will stand out and add beauty to the ceremony.
Some couples choose to make cakes that match their outfits like the bride’s gown, a castle or anything that the couples see as an inspiration.
An entry dance is when the bride and groom make their way into the reception venue in a fun and entertaining way.
The guests like, sometimes even demand that the couple give them a little dance as they make their way to their seats just to show excitement at finally being united, and also to show people you are happy they made it to your event.
Picking inspiration from Nigeria and Kenya, couples in Uganda too have taken the entry dance quite serious that they choose to practice a uniform dance with their entourage weeks before the ceremony, so as pull off a wonderful performance at the reception.
This has turned out to be one of the most entertaining and lively parts of the wedding day. If however you are not the dancing type, you can still find ways to make the entrance special. You can sing as you walk to your seats, or read a poem or nicely written piece, welcoming your guests. Whatever you prefer, the idea is to excite the guests at the start of the function.
Your wedding day happens once in a lifetime. It is therefore a day whose memories you must keep well.
This is why you need to hire a professional photographer to beautifully capture those amazing moments that you will later look at and remember how memorable the day was to you.
According to Chris Galukande, a professional photographer and also CEO of Xcy Events, he and his wife invested a lot in their décor at the reception and utilised it by taking as many lovely photos as they could before the guests even got into the reception hall.
“We organized to serve the guests with a cocktail first in front of our reception venue. It gave us about an hour for a photo-shoot with our décor,” says Galukande.
The couple arrived at the venue and used the back door of the building to access the reception so that they wouldn’t be seen by the guests to stir up attention. They also ordered ushers to make sure no one entered the hall as they took photos.
They also took many professional and good photos in and outside church with ease. To do this, they slated their ceremony for a Thursday when the church was not very busy.
So, at the end of the day, you don’t have to eliminate activities from your wedding programme because you think they are too ordinary and common. Just find creative ways of how play around with these ideas and you will still have a lovely wedding.