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Planning Your Event/Reception

Reception Hall Checklist

Planning Your Reception Seating

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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 restrictions.

    • 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 space allows.

    • 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 church calendar.
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