When hiring a videographer make sure you understand whether the tape will be edited or unedited. Editing is what you most likely prefer (and will cost extra). Recently I met a bride who didn’t check the details and ended up with 12 hours of unedited tape. Ask questions and never assume anything.
How to Set a Formal Dinner Table for Your Wedding Reception
Your wedding reception is a formal affair. Proper etiquette and good table manners call for the host to ensure the table has been set correctly. The place settings should reflect the menu choices and always be positioned correctly. Don’t leave anything to chance. It is best to consult with your catering manager to be sure everything will be set properly.
Place Setting Styles
There are three types of place settings: formal, informal, and basic with two common rules shared. 1. The utensils are placed in the order of use from the outside in. 2. With a few exceptions: Forks are place to your left. Knives and spoons are placed to your right.
Proper Formal Dinner Place Setting
The elements of the formal place setting are not complicated. There are many elements, yet each is used in the order of service. Once you visualize where each element is placed and see how each is used during the meal, you will appreciate the fine art and nuance of a formal dinner setting.
Elements of a Place Setting
SALT & PEPPER SHAKERS are generally unsightly. As they are important to the meal, consideration should be given to them as part of the table decor.
THE CHARGER PLATE is an oversized and decorative plate set in place for each guest. The use of a charger is highly recommended as it presents a lovely and complete look to your table before the food has been served. Once the food course begins, it will remain in position. The plate for each food course will be placed on top of the charger and removed, leaving the charger to decorate the table between courses.
THE NAPKIN is placed on top of the charger plate. In the absence of a charger, the napkin is placed in the empty space where the dinner plate will be placed. Although the napkin placement does not change, you do have a choice on how to present it. You may choose the fabric and color of the napkin as well as the napkin fold. Your napkin is also a great location to insert your menu card.
CHINA selection can be used as an added element of decor to your table setting. Choose a pattern that enhances your charger plate and that beautifully accents your table lines. Your dining china is made up of three main elements: bread or butter, salad, and dinner plates.
THE BREAD & BUTTER PLATE is placed above the forks on the left with the butter knife placed diagonally on top of the plate. Place the handle facing the right and blade faced down.
THE SALAD PLATE is a smaller than your dinner plate and, when served, is placed on top of your charger plate.
THE DINNER PLATE for the main entree will be placed on top of your charger plate.
FLATWARE is equally important as a decorative element. You may select an elegant sterling-silver pattern that will blend in nicely with your tabletop decor or a more eccentric pattern with gold accents and engraving for more of a statement. No rules apply to selecting flatware other than making sure that you include the appropriate elements that will be used for your menu selections.
THE DINNER FORK is the largest of the forks and is placed to the left edge of the charger plate.
THE SALAD FORK is placed to the left of the dinner fork. Should your menu require your salad to be served after the entree, the small salad fork is placed to the right of the dinner fork, next to the charger.
THE FISH FORK is placed farthest to the left of the dinner fork because it is the first fork used. Only set a fish fork if fish is to be served.
THE DINNER KNIFE is placed to the right edge of the charger plate.
THE FISH KNIFE is a specially shaped knife placed to the right of the dinner knife.
THE SALAD KNIFE is included if the salad is to be served first and is placed to the right of the fish knife.
SOUP SPOON is placed to the right of the knives if soup is to be served as a first course.
OYSTER-COCKTAIL FORK is set to the right of the spoons if shellfish is being served. Please note: This is the only fork ever placed on the right of the plate, and although very cute, in an effort not to confuse your guests, please do not place them on the table if you are not serving a fish or seafood course.
GLASSWARE Glassware is placed to the upper right of your dinner plate and can number up to five depending on your beverage service. It is a very important element on your tabletop. It enhances the mark you are placing on your table decor. As with your china pattern, you may select from a variety of glassware to accompany your place setting. Your pattern selection may consist of clear crystal, colored glassware, or an elaborate pattern.
THE WATER GOBLET is placed directly above the knives.
THE CHAMPAGNE FLUTE is placed to the right of the water goblet.
THE WINE GLASSES are set slightly below and to the right of your water goblet.
THE SHERRY GLASS is placed to the right of the red and white wine glasses.
THE DESSERT COURSE
Depending on how much room you have on your dining table, you dessert spoon or fork and coffee spoon may be brought to the table along with the dessert and coffee or placed horizontally at the top of the dinner plate. In the latter scenario, your coffee spoon is placed closest to the top of the dinner plate followed by the dessert spoon on top of the coffee spoon. In this scenario, both spoon handles should be pointing toward your right. Should your dessert require a fork, the dessert fork is placed on top of the coffee spoon with the tines pointing to the right, handle to the left.
COFFEE is served butler style with the coffee spoon on the saucer to the right of the handle. You may also elect to have the coffee spoon incorporated into your flatware presentation and is placed closest to the top of the charger plate. Your coffee cup and saucer will be in the same pattern as the china chosen for dinning.
The design of the table is a major visual factor when guests enter the reception room. A beautiful table has harmony and balance. The centerpiece is the anchor of the design and the place settings must be positioned at an equal distance from each other and from the centerpiece.
Pink – the perpetual hot color for weddings – had begun to fall out of favor as brides experimented with more non-traditional hues like browns, grays, orange, and even black. But pink is back in a big way, and brides are incorporating the hue into their wedding cakes. Pink instantly freshens-up classic white: Tone down an all pink cake with white floral or lace details, or dress up a white cake with pink embellishments.
Delicious Hors D'Oeuvres Ideas For Your Wedding Reception
At a Wedding Reception where a full meal is to be served, hors d’oeuvres may be offered to guests during the first hour of the reception. However, at a tea or cocktail reception, hors d’oeuvres will be the “main course”.
There are may options for hors d’oeuvres, depending on the formality of your reception and the type of food to be served at the meal. Popular food that can easily be picked up and eaten with one hand are best.
Here are some delicious hors d’ouevre ideas you may want to consider
* Chinese Won Tons with a plum Sauce * Chicken and Shrimp Egg Rolls with a plum sauce * Pot Stickers with a Sesame Sauce * Glazed Chicken Drumettes * Swedish Meatballs * Italian Meatballs * Seafood Salad Mould with assorted crackers * Petite Cocktail Quiches * Stuffed Deviled Eggs with choice of: coconut and chutney, traditional or topped with caviar * Imported and Domestic Cheese Display with assorted crackers * Fresh Fruit Fantasy with Strawberry Chiffon Dip or Chocolate Fondue * Warmed Spree of Brie Cheese topped with brown sugar and nuts, served with French bread * Teriyaki Ribbon Chicken or Beef * Italian Sausage Marinara * Salmon Mousse on toast rounds * Cascading Vegetable Display with a fresh dill dip * London Tea Sandwiches * California Baja Rolls * Taquitos * Tomato, Cucumber and Green bean Salad * Tomato, Mozzarella and Bermuda Onion Salad * Rumaki * Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Sun Dried Apricots * Fresh Melon Wrapped in Honey Baked Ham * Mushrooms Stuffed with Spiced Cream Cheese * Sautéed Mushrooms in a pastry shells
Hors d’ oeuvres may be set out on tables “buffet style” for guests to help themselves, or they may be passed around on trays by waiters and waitresses.
When selecting hors d’ oeuvres for your reception, consider whether heating or refrigeration will be available and choose your food accordingly. When planning your menu, consider the time of day. You should select lighter hors d’ oeuvres for midday receptions and heavier ones for an evening reception.
Tips to Save Money:
Tray pass hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour and serve a lighter meal.
Avoid serving hors d ‘oeuvres that are labor intensive or that require expensive ingredients. Compare two or three caters; there is a wide price range between caterers for the same foods.
Consider serving hors d’oeuvres “buffet style”. Your guests will eat less this way than if waiters and waitresses are constantly serving them.
I found this amazingly simple recipe while snooping around on the back of a Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix (17.5 oz pouch). If you know how to ice a cookie and are a pro at making polka dots, serve these at your next bridal shower or use as a heartfelt edible wedding centerpiece. Another idea is to make some cookies put them into cellephone bags, tie with a ribbon and hand out as wedding favors.
Heat oven to 375 degrees (or 350 for dark or non-stick pan). Make cookie mix as directed—except decrease softened butter to 1/3 cup and stir in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour with the cookie mix. Roll dough on floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with 2-inch cookie cutter. (Keep remaining dough covered while rolling and cutting first batch of cookies.) Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake as directed above. Cool 1 minute before removing from cookie sheet. Cool completely, Frost and decorate as desired.
Easy Royal Icing Recipe (that hardens and shines)
3 egg whites 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar 1/2 tsp. almond extract or white vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in bowl and beat on medium high for a full 10 minutes. Icing will become thick and glossy but will not increase in volume. Keep covered with damp cloth while using, removing small portions to bowl as needed. Tint if desired. To thin, add a few drops of water. Royal icing hardens with a nice sheen.
Last month I did an article about what I thought were good and bad ways to save money on a wedding, and the responses were as varied as they should be—clearly everyone has different priorities. For example, some people thought the ideas I hated (like a foam-rubber wedding cake) were perfectly reasonable. And some thought the things I would never give up at my own wedding (like fresh flowers) were a ridiculous extravagance.
But there was one comment in particular that really got me thinking:
"My husband’s cousin did the ‘fake cake’ thing at her wedding. There was one real layer in the elaborately decorated tower of Styrofoam, and that was served to the bridal party. Everyone else got tiny squares of what was obviously cheap grocery store sheet cake with plain frosting out of a can. They bothered to rent out a museum and hire a string quartet, but cheaped out with the tacky Styrofoam cake—and guess what people talk about when her wedding comes up in conversation?"
Reading that comment was a revelation. Up until that moment it had never really occurred to me that you aren’t just creating your own memories when you plan a wedding. So you may fondly recall the moment you and your new husband cut into that layer of real cake, but all your guests are going to remember is that you’re a tacky cheap-ass who served them supermarket sheet cake while collecting their checks. Wedding guests are like elephants—they never forget.
I’ve been to a lot of weddings. I’ve been in the bridal parties of a few. And when I look back on them all, some experiences immediately come to mind as being truly exceptional. To a one, those memories were created by brides who did grand things for the people they love.
And I’m not talking about spending money. It doesn’t matter what favors are on the tables if you never stop to say hello to your guests; and your bridesmaids won’t care about Tiffany key chains if you’ve been on full-throttle Midol alert for six weeks. I’m talking about thinking about others, and doing meaningful things to ensure lasting memories for everyone. It’s a concept that’s hard to keep in mind when everyone keeps insisting that it’s “all about you.”
As an example, one bride I knew did something very generous for her bridesmaids, and it didn’t cost her a thing: She chose a simple black and white color scheme, and allowed her attendants to buy little black dresses of their own choosing. Since the color scheme was so classic, uniformity of style wasn’t an issue. Each bridesmaid was able to get a dress she felt good in and could wear again and again. And when was the last time you saw a wedding party in which all the women clearly felt beautiful?
As much as I appreciated that gesture—and the fact that I got to wear sleeves—there’s one wedding memory that I treasure more than any other, courtesy of the most exceptional bride I’ve ever known.
When I was 10 years old, my eldest sister got married. I was extremely excited because I’d never been to a wedding—not to mention the fact that my sister, who really was my idol, had given me the honor of being a bridesmaid.