Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wedding Reception Flow

A wedding reception has a certain rhythm and flow to it that will ensure all have a good time. It helps the flow if you establish a time table as to when certain activities - toast, eat, cut wedding cake and so on, – will occur. It takes the stress and guess work out of the wedding reception flow.

I recently attended a wedding reception where the wedding couple provided a printed menu at each place setting with a wedding program and timeline on the other side that delineated what and who were doing what at each time. It seemed a bit excessive, but it helped them keep the wedding reception flowing nicely.

If you did not have a receiving line at the wedding ceremony site, take the first half-hour and do this. Greet all your guests! Make sure you have music to entertain the guests as they stand in line to greet you and as they mingle in the cocktail area.

After the receiving line ends and guests have mingled and put their place cards at their tables, you should start making your way around the room, having casual conversations with your guests and creating a festive atmosphere. The photographer should be taking candid shots as well during this second half-hour.

Once the cocktail hour is done, dinner is announced. The wedding party is introduced and seated. If you are so inclined, your officiant or parents may say a blessing. Guests are served or dismissed table by table to line up for the buffet.

As soon as everyone has been served, the best man, maid of honor and other special wedding attendants offer a wedding toast to the bride and groom. (Here is a good site to help them compose that toast.) It is optional if you want to respond or if your parents want to then thank everyone for coming.

If you are having wedding cake as dessert, you may choose to have your wedding cake cutting ceremony at this time so that by the time everyone is finished eating, the cake will be served.

Once the first course has been cleared from all the tables it is time for the wedding couple to dance for the first time as husband and wife. This is followed by the father-daughter, mother-son and in-laws dances. (Some fun wedding dance ideas are located at this site.)

These dances may take place before dinner begins or after the entree. Regardless, it's always good to have them while the guests are seated so that everyone gets a chance to see what are usually quite moving moments in the lives of the wedding couple and their parents.

Once the tables are cleared the dancing resumes with everyone. During the last hour or so it's time for the wedding bouquet and garter tosses. Once the the wedding bouquet is tossed to all the single women and the groom tosses the bride's garter to all the single men, all the traditional rituals are over.

It is after this that in the old days, the wedding couple used to change clothes and slip away for their honeymoon after saying farewell only to parents and a few close friends, but nowadays, they are more likely to stay and dance until the very end.

A smooth flow to a wedding reception ensures that all the traditions are observed and everyone involved has a good time!

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