What Brides Should Know About… the Reception
It’s your Reception! Enjoy yourself!!! Be sure to eat dinner haha.
Here’s a list of things that typically occur at wedding receptions. But it really is your day! Feel free to include more things and not do other things. Whatever makes it feel most genuine to you!
I highly recommend doing a first look. When you do more portraits before most guests arrive for the ceremony, you’ll have more time to spend with everyone once they arrive.
The most common ways to serve dinner are:
Buffet: All courses are served at the same time and set up in an accessible area for guests to self-serve their meal.
Food Stations: Dinner service with multiple smaller buffets set up as stations for guests to sample a variety of menu options.
Plated: Meal selections are made prior to the wedding, and served one course at a time individually at the table.
Family Style: Dinner is served in large dishes at each table for guests to serve themselves at the table. Servers can leave platters at the table, or pass it around the table then take it away to leave extra space on the table.
Typically plated and family style dinner is more expensive because you need to hire staff to wait tables and pay them a service charge.
There are a lot of people to talk to at your wedding. No matter the dinner style, I recommend that the bride and groom get their food first so they can finish eating before most of their guests. This allows them time to go to each individual table as guests eat to make sure they can at least briefly greet every person attending (if your guest list is under around 200).
However, I recommend telling all toasters in advance because most people are not suave enough to give a great on-the-fly speech. And I recommend asking them to keep toasts under 5 minutes long.
Traditionally the event host(s), best man, and the maid of honor are invited to toast the couple at the wedding reception. You can have anyone you want give a toast, but consider having additional speeches given at the rehearsal dinner because many more and guests may lose interest.
Traditionally the Father of the Bride toasts the happy couple immediately following the seating of guests, prior to the start of dinner service. Offering a toast at this point in the event is also a great way to gather everyone’s attention with the least amount of distractions and there is less background noise.
I do not recommend doing other toasts immediately after the welcome toast. Guests are typically anxious for dinner service to start. I recommend having the Best Man and Maid of Honor speeches after dinner has concluded, followed by the cutting of the wedding cake. Placing these toasts at this point in the event timeline offers a smooth transition from dinner to reception.
Typically the bride and groom cut the first slice of cake together. And then feed each other a bite.
Whether you just sway together or do a whole choreographed she-bang, enjoy a dance with your new spouse.
If you hate being the center of attention, consider asking the DJ/Band to cut the song short so you’re not up there for a whole duration of a song.
Many weddings do a father-daughter dance and a mother-son dance.
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