= Bride =Both
= Groom = Worksheet


One of the first decisions concerning the reception is where it will be held, (church fellowship hall, hotel, home, club, etc.) The type of reception you plan will play a large part in the selection of a location. The distance from the ceremony site is also to be considered. You don't want to lose guests along the way. 

Type of reception
The time of the wedding will pretty much determine the wedding style. A morning wedding is generally followed by a brunch or breakfast, either stand-up buffet or sit-down with service. An early afternoon wedding is followed by a tea with light finger foods, and is considered the least expensive time of day for a's too early for heavy dinner foods, and too late for lunch. An evening wedding is followed by a dinner reception, buffet, or heavy hor d' ourves. Most people do not have time for dinner before arriving at an evening wedding and more food is necessary. Evening weddings may also have a band, dancing, and a bar.

Receiving line
If you decide to have a receiving line, it usually includes the following: bride's mother, bride's father, groom's mother, groom's father, bride, groom, bridesmaids. The ushers are not in the receiving line, but help elderly guests, give directions, etc. Divorced parents do not stand in the receiving line even if they get along well as a general rule. The parent sponsoring the wedding stands in the line (again, the bride's feelings take precedent over tradition - if you want both parents in the line, and you can work it out amicably, then by all means do so.) The bride and groom may also choose to stand in the receiving line alone.

If you have a bridal table, the usual seating arrangement is as follows: bride in the center, groom to her left, best man at her right, and alternating bridesmaids and groomsmen, maid of honor to the groom's left, and alternating groomsmen and bridesmaids. It is proper to seat dates and spouses of attendants at the bridal table. Place cards are very important to eliminate confusion.

The parent's table is reserved for the parents and officiant and any other close friends you wish. The bride's mother sits with the groom's father on her right and the officiant on her left. The bride's father sits across from his wife with the groom's mother on his right and the spouse of the officiant on his left. Other guests should be alternated, man, woman, etc.

The music depends on the size of the reception hall, the budget, the purpose of the music (dancing, entertainment, background) the restrictions of the hall, etc. If dancing is planned, you might want to be sure a band can play some "golden oldies" for the older guests as well as rock and roll for the younger guests. Also determine whether the level of sound will prevent guests from being able to visit with each other. Many receptions have been cut short because all the guests did not want to dance, and they could not tolerate the loudness of the music. The band playing as if they were giving a concert is not appropriate for a reception. A solo violinist, or guitarist, or pianist may be all that is needed. In order to cut costs, a disc jockey may take the place of a band.

Cutting the cake
The first slice of the bride's cake is cut by the bride and groom, and each offers a slice to the other (either at the same time or individually - determined by local custom or personal preference). The bride should decide when to cut the cake, and make sure her photographer is aware of the time in order to preserve the moment on film. The cake can be cut early during the reception so that guests who must leave early can take a piece home, or it can be cut after the buffet or dinner (again considering personal preference).

Toasting the bride and groom
The bride and groom offer a toast to each other after cutting the cake, and other toasts follow. After the guests have been served, the best man makes the first toast to the couple, followed by others who wish to propose toasts. The person to whom the toast is being made does not join in the drinking, but merely holds the glass.

Tradition dictates that the bride and groom dance the first dance; following this dance it is customary for the groom to dance with his mother, while the bride dances with her father, and then the groom's father dances with the bride's mother while the bride's father dances with the groom's mother. Even though some guests may not be aware of the "first dance" tradition, and may begin dancing as soon as the band starts, you need not be concerned; have an announcement made just prior to "your" song that this is the bride and groom's dance.

Open bars can add hundreds of dollars to the cost of a reception, and encourage over-indulgence. If an open bar is provided, be sure someone is given the job of keeping an eye out for guests who should not drive. Even if alcohol is limited to just beer and wine, someone should watch for the few guests who can become a danger to themselves and others on the road.

Throwing the bouquet
The bride usually throws her bouquet to the single women guests (the one catching the bouquet is said to be the next bride). This can be done early in the reception while everyone is present to participate, or it can be done just prior to leaving. Many brides wish to Keep their bouquets as a memento, and prefer to use a "throw-away" bouquet prepared for this purpose.

Throwing the garter
Some brides and some grooms do not like this custom, and it is perfectly all right to forego it. If the groom chooses to remove the garter, it should be removed from just below the knee and thrown to the single men in the group. Again, if the bride wishes to keep her garter as a memento, the "throw away" can be worn just above the knee with the other worn just above it. The throw away garter can be discretely moved down just before the groom removes it.

Leaving the reception
In the past, the bride and groom were the first to leave the reception, but in today's society, often the bride and groom wish to remain to visit with their friends as long as possible.

Throwing birdseed
It has been a tradition to toss rice at the bride and groom as they depart, signifying fertility and good luck. Many places have restriction against this practice due to the danger of slipping on the rice as well as the fact that many times the rice is not swept up properly, leaving a mess. Bird seed is permitted at some sites, as the birds do a wonderful job cleaning up the place, (birds won't eat rice). Bubbles are currently being used, but there is a danger of staining some fabrics, as well as the fact that the bubble solution is soapy and can be slippery on some surfaces. Check with the officials at the reception site. Whatever is used, be sure common sense is also used.

Birdseed or bubble containers can be placed into a pretty, decorated basket, and placed in a convenient location to hand to someone as the guests go outside. The birdseed can be tied up in tulle bags or fabric roses to hold birdseed can be made from taffeta or satin to match bridesmaid's color. Your local fabric shops should be able to give directions for making the roses. Bubble solution can also be tied in tulle bags or left plain.

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Worksheets available (click on the blue arrow to the right of the file to download it below)
 RecepLoc.xls = Reception location

Edna S,
Aug 20, 2013, 1:41 PM