Book facility six months to one year before wedding. Hotels, banquet halls and restaurants offer similar packages. Here is a checklist of items you should consider when choosing a facility.
Does price include?
- Private room
- Flexible hours
Are the following available?
- Public address and/or sound system
- Tables for guest book, cake, gifts
Will there be time to decorate the room before reception? If yes, when?
Community halls may not offer as complete a service, so check:
- Setup and cleanup (are you responsible?)
- Tableware & glasses provided?
- Kitchen equipment; e.g., refrigerator?
Does hall have a catering service? Will caterer provide bar service and bartender?
Check if there is air conditioning.
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 champagne and hors d’oeuvres, or encompass an elegant five-course dinner and dance.
Selecting the reception location really depends on how many guests you are inviting. Your reception can be staged nearly anywhere: on a yacht, a beautiful hotel, a restaurant, a loft, a country club, etc. 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 for a wedding feast.
Whatever you decide, know that the services of a professional banquet facility or caterer can greatly enhance and expedite the planning of your reception.
Once you’ve decided the setting you would prefer, the estimated number of guests and your financial resources, you’re ready to begin interviewing for reception sites and caterers.
Reserve your reception facility well in advance and promptly pay any necessary deposit.
Visit the reception site and design a suitable layout. Decide also whether you’ll have a formal or semi-formal receiving line. Consider grouping furniture to stimulate conversation without obstructing traffic flow.
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 will cut the first slice and share it. Then 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.