Planning Your Event/Reception
You will want your reception to echo the tone and
style of your ceremony. Nine months to a year in advance is the
time to start making plans. This is especially necessary for popular
summer months. Book your wedding and reception site as soon as you
have set a date. You may have to set a date based on facility availability,
with consideration to price and number of guests.
Hotels, restaurants, private clubs and halls normally
offer catering services, and may not allow you to use your own caterer.
Churches and temples may have policies regarding alcohol or other
Home and gardens are another option. Be sure you
have enough room inside in case of bad weather.
Yachts make the party mobile and provide the food
and drink. Mansions and historic sites can also be unique options.
To find your perfect site, call around. Ask for
a description and a list of services: caterers, waiters, bartenders
and parking valets. Make an appointment to tour promising prospects.
Make sure there is enough room for your guests, and power for your
entertainment. If you're going to decorate, ask about restrictions.
How long will you have the hall? Who is your contact person? Can
you set up the night before? Will they provide clean-up services?
Chairs and tables? Is there a dance floor?
You may want to ask several relatives or close
friends to act as hosts and hostesses. They can greet your guests,
assist with seating, and maximize the mingling. Show them where
the fire exits and telephones are located.
Whether it's a sit-down dinner or buffet, a table should be designated
for the wedding party, and another for the families. The bridal
couple sits in the center of the table, maid of honor to the groom's
left, best man to the bride's right. Alternate men and women as
Just before the food is served, it is traditional
for the best man to propose a toast. All rise, except the bride
and groom. After the toast, the groom may reply. Any other toasts
are then appropriate.
The order in which a sit-down meal is served, or the line-up for
a buffet, should be bride, groom, maid of honor, best man, attendants,
parents, then guests. Your first dance as husband and wife should
feature your favorite or "special" song - something romantic.
The floor should be empty of other guests. Following are dances
for the bride and her father, the groom and his mother, the bride
and the groom's father, the groom and the bride's mother.
Lastly, the wedding party joins in, then the guests.
Traditionally, the bouquet and garter toss take
place near the end. To keep your original bouquet, have the florist
create a special arrangement to be thrown.
If possible, invite all guests to both the ceremony
and the reception.
Before the bride decides on her reception site,
she needs to decide on her reception style. It is important to book
the site as soon as she sets her wedding date and gets it on the