The Reception

The reception is the celebration of your new union and your first appearance as husband and wife. It should be a joyous occasion full of family and friends and lacking stress of any kind. Here are a few tips to help create that perfect reception gathering.

Not long ago, wedding receptions were basic and consisted of three necessities... Close family and friends, a couple bottles of champagne and a wedding cake. Today, receptions have turned into the most important gathering of your life. Details such as the toasts, specific dances, dinner choices and seating cards have turned this party into an extensive ordeal.

First of all, after you have decided on the type of ceremony you plan on, the reception should follow suit. A formal wedding would entail an evening event where the bride and her bridal party wears full length dresses and the groom and his party wears tuxedos. The reception would be an elegant event. Provisions should be made for children (most resorts offer baby-sitters for a fee). A semiformal wedding opens a few options in attire where the bride may wear a shorter dress and the groom has the option of wearing a suit instead of a tuxedo. An informal wedding offers the most options for a casual event where the bridal party may wear sundresses and shorts followed by a bar-b-que picnic setting. Keep in mind that your wedding should reflect your personalities and should stay with in your budget. The last thing a newly wed couple should bear is the debt of their wedding.

When picking out a reception site, a location close to the ceremony should be a key factor. You should not exceed a twenty to thirty minute drive. The last thing you want at the reception is irritated guests.

Receiving lines can be a timely pain. An option is to have your receiving line immediately following the ceremony, but keep in mind that your photographer may want to take the wedding pictures at that time (catch that "newly married" glow). You may also consider having your receiving line at the reception, however this is also time consuming. As a suggestion, consider this third option. After the meal, visit each table and say a quick hello. This becomes a much more personal greeting and the guests are able to take quick snap shots with you.

For receptions with 100 or more guests, seating may become a problem. An easy solution is a seating plan where friends and family are grouped together. Placards can be placed at each setting or a table may be set up as you enter the hall with your guests name and their table number. If you add your names and the date these placards become a cute and inexpensive keepsake. Immediate family should be placed close to you. Divorced parents are always an issue. The worse thing you can do is sit them next to each other (they're divorced for a reason!). Sit them at separate tables away from each other, yet close to you.

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