From time to time I am asked how to plan and schedule a New Years Eve wedding. It can be a very fun and festive way to bring in the New Year and celebrate a new beginning in your lives as well. Here are some suggestions for the timing of the evening to insure that your wedding flows nicely, everyone stays until midnight to ring in the new year together with good wishes too.
- Invite your guests for a cocktail party start at 8 PM if you have the bucks to entice your guests to begin celebrating early in the evening.This allows time for traffic in case it’s a work day and your guests are traveling from a distance. You can have a good wish stack of cards where the guests write down their one wish for the bride and groom signed by the guests, and another wish card written and signed by the guests for them to fill out making a good wish in the new year for themselves. As the guests depart their wishes have been added to a small gift box and they are asked to open it up on the next new years eve. The bride and groom have written a message of thanks in a card attached to the box with each guest name, and inside is the wish the guests had hoped to be granted and another wish the bride and groom wrote for the guest as well. It’s a lot of work if you are having a large wedding, but what a wonderful idea if both wishes come true or at least the wishes are similar. We all need a little surprise and wonder in our lives. (During the evening, helpers have been matching up the names of the wishes with boxes for each guest).
- Start moving guests to the ceremony area by 9 PM and begin your ceremony by 9:15 PM
- Ceremony concludes approximately 9:45, guests move to room where dinner and dancing will be starting.
- Bride and groom are introduced and have their first dance by 10:00PM, with short dance set with all guests and wedding party follows.
- First course about 10:20 with the Best Man and Maid of Honor toasts given during the conclusion of either the first course. Since this is a special holiday as well as a wedding reception, the father/daughter dance usually held until the end of the main course is done a little earlier in the evening, coming after the second course with comments by the Father of the Bride before he dances with his daughter. A short dance following with all the guests.
- Try to have the main course served by 11:15 PM and conclude about 11:45 PM when the bride and groom will say a few words, cut the cake, and everyone toasts in the new year at 12 midnight. The streamers, horns, confetti that were placed on the guest tables earlier in the evening are blown and thrown as the guests are encouraged to join the bride and groom on the dance floor. Everyone is on the dance floor and the bride and groom are raised on chairs to the delight of the guests.
- Guests enjoy the music and desserts until 1 AM when guests depart and receive their parting gifts. Keep it fun, keep it safe, lots of cabs waiting for the hardy party attendees(good idea to pre book cabs on a holiday), have cash on hand for your guests who may not be in the best shape and need a cab, or even arrange for a bus if finances allow for the out of towners to return to their hotels by a coach!