Alright ... the ceremony is over and you are now married to the most wonderful person on earth. You now have a four hour-long party planned to not only celebrate your love for each other but to thank your guests for supporting you both.
But what happens if you're already exhausted and really just want to get some sleep before your honeymoon? Sure, some of these people have had to take time off from their busy schedules to be here. Some have driven for hours to witness your day. But you've barely slept all week and what's more important ... wasting all that money you've spent on an entertainer and other vendors or your precious beauty sleep?
Instruct your vendors you want a "fake leave'!
(Alright ... that was sarcasm. Your wedding day IS exhausting but it will go by so fast and you only get one chance to enjoy it, so get your beauty sleep all week and be prepared mentally and physically for an 18 hour day on your wedding day)
A few of you may not know what I'm talking about while other are nodding, knowing exactly what I'm talking about.
The Fake Leave is a staged recreation of the moment that should take place at the very end of the evening ... but it takes place about 1-2 hours before the actual end of the evening. All of your guests are taken to another location (usually the parking lot) and everyone goes through the motions of the end of the night ... sparklers, screams, the couple getting into their car and then driving around the block ... only to come back and find most of their guests have taken their lead, got into their cars and taken off ... for home.
There's various reasons for this. Many times the couple notices that a few people are leaving after the cake cutting (completely normal) and want to make sure they get these important photos before EVERYONE leaves. Sometimes a wedding planner or photographer suggests it because the couple hasn't scheduled their individual services until the end of the reception and they are about to traipse into the very expensive overtime period.
Regardless the reason, there is nothing that will kill a wedding reception faster than the Fake Leave. I've seen grooms break bones, grown women get in fist fights, guests pass out face first on the dance floor ... we kept partying. A good entertainer can overcome those things and get the guests back into the moment. But once you give your guests the opportunity to leave and demonstrate how it's done, the majority of them will leave. I repeat ... ONCE YOU GIVE YOUR GUESTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAVE AND DEMONSTRATE HOW IT'S DONE, THE MAJORITY OF THEM WILL LEAVE.
Once the sparklers die out and everyone's standing around chatting with the happy couple, many people see this as their cue to go. They can still get home in time to see the new episode of "Blue Bloods" or whatever else is on TV Saturday nights. And before the couple knows it, the party is over and everyones's gone ... before the party ever got started.
So what happens if you're put into the predicament of doing a fake leave, knowing people will leave your special day early?
First, schedule the fake leave as late in the reception as you can. If the cost is not a factor, ask the photographer to stay around another hour or two. You will get the maximum bang for your buck from your entertainment this way.
Scout out your location quickly and see if there's an alternate location that you can do the fake leave. A wide sidewalk, a lobby or foyer in the building. Even a line from the dance floor to the door (keep in mind that many locations do not allow sparklers, rice, bird seed or anything messy to be used inside. Glow sticks and college "shakers" are fine inside).
The easiest thing to do is simply schedule your vendors to all finish at the same time. I have seen countless instances where the couple scheduled the photographer to be on site several hours before the actual ceremony only to find the photographer finish with the photos and then be bored with nothing to do until the ceremony starts. They may be sitting there checking their phones, but you're paying them good money to be there checking their phones! Talk to married friends to get an idea of how much time you'll actually need the photographer there before the ceremony.
I do not know of any entertainer who has ever been able to bounce back completely from a fake leave and command a successful party until the end time. While most people will leave, those that stay are deflated. Because no matter how hard the entertainer tries to boost spirits or get people dancing, the truth is that the overall party vibe is now gone for good.
Compare it to a group of friends at your house watching the Super Bowl. With 10-20 people, conversation is lively and everyone is having a great time. Then ... 15 minutes into the game, 80 percent of the guests leave. Now you're left with maybe three or four people. The overall party vibe is gone in a small setting and nothing will be able to bring it back. It's no longer a party, it's a couple of people wondering if they should go ahead and leave too.
Sorry about the lengthy post but I feel strongly about this. You've hired me because you want a lot of memories and I take pride in delivering those memories.
Just say IXNAY on the fake leave!! Or at least talk to your entertainer to come up with a solution that makes everyone happy.