Your Wedding Reception

The wedding reception is the first time you formally receive your relatives and friends as a married couple. Properly planned, it becomes one of the most joyous parties you and your groom will ever host. It can be as simple and demure as cake and punch in the church parlor, or encompass a glorious five-course dinner and dance.

Selecting the reception location really depends on how many people you are inviting. Your reception can be staged nearly anywhere. The church may have a suitable room, or you may want to rent a meeting hall or room at a nearby hotel, restaurant or club. If you're being married in a season and locale noted for good reliable weather, there may be a lovely garden or arboretum available. Also check out some of the restored historical mansions; they make delightful fairy-tale backdrops. Whatever you decide, the services of a professional banquet facility or caterer can greatly enhance and expedite the planning of your reception. Once you've decided the type of setting you would prefer, the estimated number of guests and your budget, you're ready to begin interviewing reception sites and caterers.

Reserve your reception spot well in advance, and promptly pay any necessary deposit. If the guest list is small, consider a sit-down meal. Larger parties may be better served buffet-style. Visit the reception site and map out how you'd like it set up. Plan to arrange the receiving line where guests enter the room. Decide also whether your receiving line will be formal or semi-formal. If you will be offering liquor to your reception guests, station the bar well away from the buffet or food service area so there won't be any congestion.

There should always be one table designated for the wedding party and one table for the parents. Seating arrangements at the bride's table are as follows: bridal couple in the center; maid of honor at the groom's left; best man at the bride's right. Seat the other attendants, alternating men and women, as space provides.

At a sit-down event, the order of service should be bride, groom, maid of honor, other attendants, parents and guests. Once all have been served, the best man presents the traditional toast to the bridal couple. Cake-cutting comes after dinner. The bridal couple cuts the first slice and shares it. The caterer's staff finishes serving while the newlyweds visit with guests.

The last reception ritual, before the bridal couple leave, is the bride's tossing of her bouquet and the groom's flinging of the garter. Finally, you and your groom will leave the reception for your honeymoon, no doubt followed by rice raining down upon you and your car or limousine, bringing with it wishes for fertility, prosperity and happiness.





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