What could possibly be this quick AND simple AND add so much value?
Some call it DJ versus Photographer, others have named it the Table Hop, but either way it is the quickest, most uncomplicated add-on to your wedding day that will be cherished not only by you and your new spouse, but by your guests.
So what is this Table Hop?
The DJ or band plays a song (or two) while the couple quickly travel from table to table and pose for a photo with each group before moving on to the next. The goal is to make it through all the tables before the song ends and see if the Photographer can be quick enough to beat the DJ's song. [spoiler: every couple makes it to all the tables before the "song" ends because a great DJ/Band will continue the music until you are done.]
When to add it?
The Table Hop generally happens sometime after dinner, usually following other reception formalities like speeches and dances. The key is to schedule in this mini-event in your timeline to ensure it happens before the early bird guests start heading home. 4-5 minutes is enough for us to make it around 10 tables or so, but if your venue is spread out or you have a large guest list, it can take closer to 7-9 minutes.
Who needs to know?
The vendors you will want to loop in on your plans are your DJ/Band, Photographers and Videographers. Your Master of Ceremonies plays a key role in making this a success, so be sure to ask them how they hype up your guests and prep them for what is coming. When your guests are excited and jumping out of their seats to get into a formation prior to you and your new spouse making to their table, then the flow happens easily and you just "hop" from one table to the next! If you have a lively bunch attending your wedding, then having the MC suggest picking a theme for each table really creates excitement.
Why add it?
I swear, wedding days exist in their own dimension of time! The day goes by so fast in this beautiful, crazy, amazing blur. Even with the strong intention to talk to everyone, mingle and snap photos with most of your guests, the day just flies by. We hear from lots of brides on various group forums that they wish they would have had more time with their guests, and regret not taking photos with loved ones who were not part of family formals. Let's be real, there just aren't enough photographic memories of the people we love when they are no longer with us. So adding on 5-10 minutes, getting a little out of breath and sore cheeks from too many belly giggles are the best prices to pay for these memories.
How to make it awesome...
The secret sauce to an epic Table Hop is the perfect blend of three ingredients: you and and your spouse, your photographer and your MC.
You two bring the vibe. We always say the couple sets the tone for their wedding day. Are you two mellow? Your wedding guests will follow suit and keep your day chilled. Or are you both a little (or a lot) playful and unexpected? Your guests will bring their exuberance. Whatever you two project, your guests will follow.
Your photography team should match your vibe and encourage a level of shenanigans appropriate to your personalities and those of your bridal party. You likely chose them (or will make the choice) based on several criteria, one being a personality match. This is important because will be spending your entire day with your photographers and surrounding yourself with people who "get" you makes all the difference!
Ensure your photographers also:
1. like the Table Hop (trust me, it is no fun otherwise)
2. are able to move quickly and efficiently
3. communicate clearly and know how to hype up you and your guests
4. have proof that the result will be high quality (no blurry photos, most people ready for the photo, etc.)
5. are skilled in multiple lighting conditions and are comfortable with flash photography
Finally, your MC has the essential responsibility of explaining the event to your guests clearly and with lots of excitement. If your MC is skilled in grabbing the attention of your guests in an upbeat manner, they will listen. I know it sounds SO ridiculously simple but it needs to be said. We have photographed way too many weddings where the couples try to skimp on their MC/DJ. The guests have no reason to listen to an announcement because catching up on conversations, chatting about how amazing your wedding is and making another trip to the bar are all important to them! MC is short for Master of Ceremonies (I know, you probably already knew that too), so they should be a MASTER. Choose a DJ/Band/MC that understands your vibe, knows how to engage a crowd and values your timeline of events...and of course, plays fantastic jams!
I hope this little tip was helpful and has a huge positive impact on your wedding day!