Posts tagged Reception
Posts tagged Reception
1. Take Stock of Your Location
Do a walk-through of your venue as soon as you’re able, noting features to highlight — a grand staircase or a grove of trees, perhaps — and areas that need to be spruced up or downplayed.
2. Get Glowing
Lighting can make or break an event, but to create the right ambience, you don’t necessarily need to hire professionals to cast patterns on the dance floor. You can set the mood simply by flanking an outdoor walkway with dozens of luminaria or setting dining tables with elegant candelabra or clusters of small candles; you might also replace harsh white bulbs in fixtures with more flattering amber ones.
3. Dress Up Your Entryway
Beautiful front-door decorations, which can be as low-key as swags of greenery, serve as a visual welcome whether adorning a building or a tent and ensure that everyone’s first glimpse of the party is from its best vantage point.
4. Work with What You Have
An all-white theme won’t do in a hotel ballroom papered in red and gold, nor does it make sense to try to transform a rustic lodge into the Crystal Palace.
5. Choose a Theme
Whether it’s a monogram, a color pairing, or a food or flower that evokes a favorite place, a repeated element helps to both personalize and unify your event.
6. Don’t Overlook Small Details
A few well-placed touches, such as monogrammed cocktail napkins or an interesting charger, can go a long way toward making your party look extra-special.
7. Think Outside the Box
A silver bowl of sugared fruit makes a stunning and unexpected alternative to a traditional floral centerpiece, and one long banquet table may fit a sleekly modern space better than several round ones do.
8. Size Up Your Centerpieces
Keep floral arrangements and other table decor under 14 or over 20 inches high, so guests can view and converse with each other across the table.
9. Build in Flexibility
Look for ways that allow you to change things easily at the last minute. The seating cards below keep names and table numbers separate, so you can shift guests’ assignments without having to rewrite the cards.
10. Tackle Big Tasks First
Your immediate “to do” list: Book the venue, hire a caterer, decide on basic decor. With these major tasks done, you’ll be ready to focus on the smaller details.
11. Know Your Time Line
You’ll need to choose your florist at least six months ahead of time and reserve your party rentals two months after that.
12. Send Save-the-Dates
Especially if you are planning a destination wedding or marrying on a holiday, ask guests to mark their calendars. Ideally, mail out these announcements at least four months before the wedding.
13. Invite Carefully
Be prepared: Up to 80 to 90 percent of those invited may attend. (The smaller the list, the more yeses you should expect percentage-wise, because you will likely be asking only those closest to you.)
14. Get It in Writing
Make sure you have signed contracts from all your vendors and that you’ve read the fine print and resolved any questions.
15. Map Out Your Space
Be sure you have ample room for tables (figure 10 to 15 square feet per person, assuming that the tables are round and seat six to 10 guests); also check that the dance floor is big enough (four to five square feet per guest is about right).
16. Arrange for a Backup
Planning an outdoor reception? You can’t count on sunshine, so either reserve a tent or opt for a location with an indoor alternative in the event of inclement weather.
17. Enlist Help
Even if you’ve decided against an overall wedding planner, you’ll want a cool-headed pro on hand to ask guests to be seated for dinner, help organize toasts, and handle any problems. Ask if your venue can provide this service; if not, some independent planners will work for a single day.
18. Don’t Let the Seams Show
If possible, designate a separate cocktail area and close the reception space to early arrivals. To create a sense of drama, neither you nor your guests should see the behind-the-scenes machinations and last-minute setup gaffes. Keeping the doors closed will also let your photographer take unhurried shots of the reception decor before the crowd arrive
19. Whip Up Affordable Favors
Stylish tokens needn’t be expensive. These biodegradable bowls (below) look sumptuous when wrapped with gauzy fabric and labeled with paper strips that are laser printed in a pretty font. Fill with mini meringues, an economical treat; either make them yourself or ask your caterer to provide them.
20. Go for Daytime Drama
Many venues charge more for after-dark affairs. With an outdoor reception, if you opt for a luncheon event, you’ll also cut back on or eliminate costs associated with lighting, such as setup and generators.
21. Narrow Your Tables
By seating diners family-style at long tables no wider than 36 inches, you’ll shrink the amount of empty space to decorate, cutting down on centerpiece costs. Guests will still have plenty of room and will find conversation easier as well.
22. Reuse Your Blooms
There’s no reason why ceremony flowers can’t come to the reception. Ask for altar arrangements that will also complement the party site. Alternatively, your florist may be able to refashion them into small gift bouquets for your bridal party.
23. Play with Time
You’ll save on liquor, food, and possibly vendors’ fees if you shave 30 minutes or an hour off the party. So it doesn’t feel rushed, cut a little from everything (make the cocktail hour a “cocktail 45 minutes”) instead of eliminating events.
24. Consider a Full-Service Deal
A site with a fee that includes necessities such as linens and furniture may at first appear more expensive than an a la carte venue, but once you factor in rental fees, you may ultimately keep costs down.
25. Stay in One Place
Have your wedding and reception in the same location. You’ll spend less on decor as well as on transportation costs for you and your wedding attendants.
26. Rethink Humble Decorations
Balloons have long been used to fill party spaces at low cost. For a sophisticated feel, opt for a few large balloons instead of masses of birthday-party-style ones. Those with a diameter of 36 inches have an elegant globe shape.
27. Put Big Smiles on Little Faces
Young guests will enjoy goody bags that are all theirs. Fill a toteable container like below with treats that aren’t messy, such as age-appropriate toys, or animal crackers. Add paper and washable crayons, and kids might even create one-of-a-kind cards for the bride and groom.
28. Eschew the Receiving Line
If you will be hosting more than 50 people, the traditional meet-and-greet can take an hour or more. For groups of this size, it’s more gracious of the newlyweds to thank guests by visiting every table.
29. Tame the Toasts
An unplanned ramble can interrupt the flow of a party and make everyone uncomfortable. Encourage spur-of-the-moment speeches at the rehearsal dinner so the reception includes only words from the host, the newlyweds, and the best man and maid of honor. If you’re concerned that your speakers may overindulge, schedule toasts to take place early in the festivities.
30. Break the Ice
At a less formal reception, a short written quiz about you and your new husband, with questions about where you met and how he proposed, can get conversation started between guests who’ve never met.
31. Set a Time Limit
Your guests have already spent hours, if not days, at prewedding events and at the ceremony itself; they’re likely to be tired. Though you may wish the reception would never end, it should last no more than five hours. Also, make it clear that any after parties you schedule are entirely optional.
32. Add Thoughtful Extras
A few small comfort items are always appreciated. Consider stashing a basket of inexpensive slippers near the dance floor for women who are tired of their high heels. Have hand lotion, tissues, or hair spray in the restrooms. At an outdoor fete, stock sunscreen, bug repellent, paper fans, and perhaps even a few cozy wraps for the women in case of a sudden evening chill.
33. Restrain Yourselves
Less is more when it comes to a wedding reception, so consider ditching the 30-minute video montage or the fireworks display for something less elaborate. Even a gesture as simple as distributing sparklers at night’s end can charm guests and keep them from feeling overloaded.
34. Keep Your Helpers Happy
Your hospitality should extend to photographers, videographers, waiters, and musicians, as well as any other vendors working at your reception. Make sure they have water, scheduled breaks, and, most important, a meal. It need not be the same one that you’re serving to guests, but it should be nourishing and delicious.
35. Offer Small Amusements
Unexpected entertainment is wonderful when your guests tire of dancing. A portrait station of do-it-yourself Polaroids, a cigar roller, or a strolling palm reader can offer a touch of surprise and whimsy.
36. Have Fun with Finger Food
Hors d’oeuvres are best when they are easy to serve and eat. You’re offering a choice, so go ahead and pick something exotic; plan on about six options and six pieces per person.
37. Show Off a Beautiful Cake
You may be able to afford a premium baker even on a tight budget. Skip labor-intensive iced decorations and ask for a simpler style, then dress it up with ribbon and fresh flowers. Be sure the flowers you use are food safe and pesticide free.
38. Be Seated
If your budget allows, pamper guests with a plated meal instead of a buffet — it’s an especially nice gesture. If you’d prefer a buffet, be sure to have enough serving stations to prevent long lines, and ask your caterer to prepare and serve plates of food for any elderly guests in attendance.
39. Set Up a “Nonalcoholic” Bar
For an event that includes many children or abstaining adults, consider having a separate table with sparkling and flat water, as well as a spirit-free version of your signature drink if you’re serving one.
40. Streamline the Bar
There’s no need at many weddings to stock your bar with a full selection of liquor. A red and a white wine, a sparkling wine, and a signature cocktail (like the “mintinis”) are plenty, and they’re economical to boot.
41. Limit Your Courses
Unless the meal will be the focus of the evening, as with an intimate party at a five-star restaurant, your menu can consist of an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert (the last could even be the wedding cake).
42. Serve a Mini Meal
If you choose to have an after party, you’ll need to provide refreshments, such as a light buffet of snacks or breakfast treats. Plan on enough for about one-quarter to one-third of your total original invitees.
43. Have It Both Ways
Can’t decide — or can’t agree — on whether to have live entertainment or a DJ? Split the difference and hire musicians for cocktails and a disc jockey for dancing.
44. Build the Best Band
If you’re hiring a cover band, a good one requires a male and a female vocalist, a guitar, bass, keyboard, trumpet or sax, and drums to make the most versatile combination.
45. Offer Guidelines
If there are specific songs you must hear, make a list beforehand for your band or DJ. Are there tunes you absolutely don’t want? Draw up a do-not-play list as well.
46. Keep Mealtime Tunes Soft
If your entertainers aren’t taking a break during this time, they should be considerate of diners by turning down the mike and avoiding any energetic selections.
47. Ask What They’ll Wear
Most DJs or bands will don tuxedos or suits, but it’s best to clarify attire with them to avoid surprises. For a casual event, such as a beach reception, you may want them in something less formal.
48. Depart in Style
Ask your site manager beforehand whether rice, rose petals, sparklers, and the like are allowed. When it comes time to leave, have someone round up guests and pass out props, then say a heartfelt goodbye.
49. Show Appreciation
Make sure you’ve designated someone, such as the best man, to distribute gratuity envelopes you’ve prepared at party’s end. You’ll need to tip all service providers, including the catering and reception staff (unless gratuity is added to the total bill), cleanup crew, and limousine drivers.
I’ve seen so many fun wedding menu ideas floating around lately, that I thought it would be fun to do a round up menu options for your stationery! Are you ready for crazy amounts of inspiration??? Be sure to check out the entire resources section below, with links to all sources!
First up are illustrated menus! What a fun way to liven up Caesar Salad!
One way to save on supplying individual menus is to opt for the display option. Below you’ll see ideas like using a roll of craft paper, chalkboards, mirrors, the bed of a truck, and even old crates. If you can find a really fun object to display your menu, it makes it that much more fun! Having a beach wedding? Try putting the menu on an old oar, or a surfboard. The sky is the limit when it comes to display menus!
Round shaped menus offer an unexpected little quirk when guests are seated!
If you are opting for individual at the table menus, there are so many incredible variations! Here are some of our favorite ideas that we love–colorful display with rock candy, custom clipboards, napkins, craft paper bags (with goodies or even silverware inside), and even a cutting board menu display for each table.
Handwritten menus are a way to add charm and a sense of familiarity to your meal. Guests will feel like they are dining at your home!
Display | Kraft Paper roll: Follow Studio photographed by Lauren Michelle via Once Wed // Truck: shot by Lisa Lefkowitz on Elizabeth Anne Designs // Mirror: Image by Elizabeth Messina from Kiss the Groom // Chalkboard: Brides // Crates: Brides // Wood planks: photographed by Docuvitae via Style Me Pretty
At the Table | Colorful: shot by Elizabeth Messina from Kiss the Groom for Rue Magazine Issue Five // Whale clipboard: Restaurant and Bar Design Awards // Napkin: Martha Stewart // Craft bag: designed by Good On Paper Design, photographed by Janae Shields, via Snippet and Ink // Cutting Board: Snippet and Ink
You may have been to dozens of weddings, but it’s hard to know what is supposed to happen when at your own wedding reception. Relax; I’ve mapped it out for you so you don’t have to.
After your “I dos,” you and your husband leave the ceremony first – followed by the bridal party and your photographer – to take your first photographs as husband and wife. At this time, your guests will head to the reception site. To keep the mood festive and fun, cocktail hour should begin as soon as guests arrive at the reception, whether that happens five minutes or an hour after the ceremony. I recommend an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half for your cocktail hour, so that you get to enjoy a few moments of it after the photos are done.
Husband and wife… Mr. and Mrs… this is the time for your grand entrance. The facility or event coordinator will gather your guests to await your arrival. Typically, the bridal party and both sets of parents are introduced, followed by the bride and groom.
After your entrance, all eyes are still on you. With everyone gathered, this is a perfect time for the parents, the bride and groom, or the honor attendants to speak. The host (often the father of the bride) may choose to welcome and thank your guests for coming. Someone may say a blessing. The best man and maid of honor may also choose to speak at this time.
Whether you serve a sit-down meal or buffet, this is the time when everybody eats. The bride and groom and their parents are typically served first or are the first to hit the buffet. This may seem contrary to etiquette, but serving them first affords the time to make table visits while the rest of the guests are seated. Your band or deejay will play subdued “dinner appropriate” music at this time (Sinatra and old standards are a favorite). Word of advice to the bride and groom: Make sure you take advantage of this time to eat!
Take the lead and hit the dance floor! Guests usually follow the lead of the bride and groom, so do your part to ensure a packed dance floor. At this point, you should have already greeted your guests and accomplished your duties as host. Remember: This is your party, so have fun.
About an hour before the reception’s finale, your waitstaff will begin preparing for dessert and coffee. The cake cutting signifies to guests that it is appropriate to depart anytime thereafter, so make sure it doesn’t happen too early, or you could find yourself alone at an empty reception.
Of course, many of your guests will forego cake and coffee for more drinks and dancing. The band or deejay should kick right back into lively dance music for those all-night partiers who relish another turn on the dance floor.
If you plan to do a bouquet toss, it usually occurs as one of the last events of the evening. You may want to have your florist prepare a throwaway bouquet so you can keep your original as a keepsake.
Take advantage of this opportunity to leave a lasting impression, and end your wedding on a high note. The right tune for the last dance will have your guests reluctant to leave. It needn’t be a slow song; something lively can ignite the mood for the after party, should you desire.
These days, receptions are so fun and involve so much pre-planning, the bride and groom no longer wish to make an early getaway. In fact, they’re often the last to leave! Make your send-off the evening’s finale. Your coordinator will usher everyone to watch as you make your getaway. Have guests blow bubbles, toss rose petals, or even light sparklers to wish you on your merry way toward a lifetime of happiness.
These napkins folded into bow ties are such an adorable way of adding some memorable style to your wedding reception tables.
Spread a dinner napkin out, lying flat. Fold opposite sides in so they meet at the center. Then fold again at the center to form a narrow, ribbonlike shape. Next, fold short ends in so they meet at the center. Cinch in the middle with a ribbon in a coordinating color, tying the middle strip of cloth on the underside of the cinch.Your guests can simply turn their napkins over and untie them for use. Decorative AND functional!
Q. I am planning on catering my own wedding where my family and friends will do all the cooking and serving. I will have about 70-80 guests. How many servers should I have?
A. These are the guidelines I suggest when catering a party or special event. If you are using waitstaff that have little or no professional experience, I’d advise staffing a bit on the heavier side.
Guest Blogger: Leanna
What more festive way to adorn your reception than with disco ball accents! They send a fun celebration message to your guests and will sparkle in the light. You can make tiny balls and attach to escort cards, use them on favor boxes, or even make large balls to hang from ceiling
These disco balls were inspired by a pricey and gorgeous ornament I found this winter and I’m thrilled to have found a cheap way to make them in mass! Invite your bridesmaids over for an evening of wine and gluing and bust out a large pile of these in no time.
Stick your ornament top or metal loop right into the ball, lift it just a bit and begin gluing the mirrors around in a circle underneath. Once you have two lines put a small amount of glue on your ornament topper and stick it down.
The ends might never be perfect, don’t fret about that and just glue in a circle. You will see some styrofoam between the mirrors. The end effect is so dazzling that your guests will never notice this.
I am usually a hot glue lover, but for this project stick with tacky glue as the small pieces will really show any left over hot glue lines.
Allow time to dry.
Thread ribbon through the ornament topper and tie onto favor boxes for a festive and celebratory touch! Or, use them as escort cards, centerpiece adornments or hanging décor!
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 Mold 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
* Tomato, Cucumber and Green bean Salad
* Tomato, Mozzarella and Bermuda Onion Salad
* 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.
It does not matter if the design is vintage chic, modern eclectic, or in this case rustic chic, good design appeals to all. This burlap and lace sweet table, designed by Jenny’s Cookies, is perfect in every way. Burlap and lace seem to be a match named in rustic chic heaven…and for all of you who think that the rustic chic will slowly fade away like the other wedding fads…I beg to differ!
P.S. This is actually from a wedding! Please be sure to visit Jenny’s Cookies wonderful blog and say hello!
Have you ever been at a party and suddenly became self conscious about your breath from the garlic you just ate; maybe spilled something on your dress, or a sudden gust of wind blows your perfect hair in all directions. What did you do? I bet you ran to the ladies room; looked in the mirror and screamed…eeekkk! You most likely looked around for help but there was nothing there.
Don’t let this happen to the guests at your wedding. Why not make a cute bathroom basket for the reception hall bathrooms. These baskets are simple to make and your guests will appreciate them.
To get started purchase a few baskets (local thrift stores are a great source). These baskets can be as simple or as fancy as you like. Keep them natural, paint them to match your colors, and decorate with ribbons or flowers.
Start shopping early for items so can watch for sales at your local stores and maybe save some money. You don’t need to put anything super fancy in your basket…keep it simple.
Here is what I would suggest…
- Deodorant (use can spay as people won’t want to share roll on or solid)
- Female Hygiene products…tampons, pads
- Things for hair…Hairspray, Bobby pins, something for quick ponytails, brush & comb
- Aspirin, and antacids such as Tums, or Alka Seltzer, cough drops
- Things for Breath…Any type of Gum, or Mints, maybe Mouthwash (be sure to provide small cups for rinsing.)
- Maybe some body spray (vanilla scent is a good choice), hand lotion, and lip gloss. Clear nail polish might also be useful for stopping runs in nylons.
Men’s Basket - The Men’s basket will be very similar to the Ladies except remove the personal ladies items. The Mens basket should also maybe have a very light scented cologne, and add some toothpicks (for some odd reason men like them.)
One great item you may want to include in both the men’s and ladies room is “Shout Wipe and Go”. These are great in case your guests spill food or drink on their fancy clothes. And a special note to the bride…have some of these nearby you at all times.
Before you assemble your baskets please either remove all items from the packages or at least open the packages before you put them in the baskets. Unopened packages may intimidate some guests from opening them.
Next to the basket you can put a simple note or maybe a sweet poem in a picture frame telling the guests to help themselves to the items.
Here are a few poem ideas you might want to play around with.
Compliments of the newlyweds
To help you feel your best!
Just use a little…freshen up,
And leave for other guests!
If your skin feels dry, your hair out of place,
Your throat is parched, or whatever the case.
We’ve put this together to help you along,
Now get yourself out there before the next song!
So happy you’re here to share in our special day!
But should something happen to go astray,
Please help yourself to the contents within,
Wet wipe, hand lotion, and even aspirin,
Use only what you need and leave the rest,
It may also be useful to another guest,
So repair the damage that may have been done,
Then hurry on back and join in the fun!
Compliments of (Type in your names)
I love the girly details of this Dessert Table.
Enjoy the eye candy!
Q. I want a flower girl and a ring bearer, but don’t want the children at my reception. My mom says i have to let them come to the reception…I say no way…no children means NO children. Who is right mom or me?
A. Yes definitely your mom is right as the children are members of your wedding party and must be invited. You must also invite the children’s parents. If you think the children will be bored at an adults only reception, you can always provide a babysitter and a special kids room with games, toys, and a place to nap.
Q. My Bridesmaid just told me she is pregnant. Should I replace her?
A. No problem as long as she is in good health she will be fine. Besides you already asked her to be in your bridal party and you can’t change your mind without hurting her feelings. Do keep a chair and a cool drink nearby in case she needs a break during the ceremony, and be sure to choose a dress she will be comfortable in.
Q.My future mother in law is insisting I make her daughter (my fiance’s sister) a bridesmaid. But I have already chosen my bridesmaids. Right now I am so mad I want to tell my future mother in law off. What should I do?
A. If I were you I would calm down and simply add another bridesmaid to keep family harmony. Don’t replace any girls you already asked; simply add another girl. And by the way, you don’t need to have an equal number of bridesmaids to groomsmen. So I suggest you call your future mother in law today and sweetly tell her you will ask her daughter to be part of your wedding. Remember your wedding is only one day. These people are your husband’s family and will be part of your life for many years. So I suggest you nurture your relationship with your inlaws now or in the future they will add STRESS to your life.