While marriage can be somewhat restricted by legal and religious requirements, when it comes to your wedding reception you can choose to do whichever and whatever you want. There may be some traditions you may like to include in the celebrations, but the whole purpose behind the reception is to continue to celebrate your marriage with your loved ones and to create a moment that you will all look back on and smile.
Your reception should be as individual as the two of you, so identify the style that suits you both and consider each other’s interests and traditions. Here are some common inclusions that you may wish to include:
Picture all your loved ones in one place at one time. The venue can be wherever you want it to be. It may be a function centre at a five star hotel, a restaurant, a marquee or backyard.
Your reception venue can play an important role in enhancing the overall theme of your wedding. Depending on your style and mood eg. casual, sophisticated or romantic will determine on your look. You may decide you want a traditional evening look with candles and flowers, or you may decide on a contemporary setting with balloons, a contemporary centre piece, or even an ice sculpture. Keep your budget in mind when choosing your theme, as this will guide you in how much you can spend on your decorations. If decorating is something that you would prefer to leave up to the professionals, then you can always hire the services of a wedding decorator.
Sticking to the budget
The costs charged by venues and services they provide vary dramatically. Some function centres, who specailse in wedding functions may include everything from table decorations, the cake, meal and entertainment. Other venues may only provide certain services such as meals and drinks, so you will need to keep this in mind when making your choice. Ask for written confirmation of the fees charged upfront with a list of any inclusions – and most of all make sure that it meets within your budget before making your decision
Proximity between Ceremony & Reception
For most weddings your ceremony is held in a different location to your reception. So you will need to keep in mind that both your bridal party and guests will need to travel between locations. Remember that some guests may be from out of town and may not have their own transportation, so you may need to cater for them and ensure that you’re allowing travel time. If you’re arranging transportation for them, make sure this is within your budget, or let your guests know of any fees that they may incur.
The number of guests that you invite to attend your reception will play a part when you’re deciding on a venue. Most venues will accommodate a maximum number of guests, but they may require a minimum number of people in your booking. Keep in mind a sit down dinner with room to dance will require significantly more space than a stand up cocktail party for the same number of guests.
If you’re planning on seating your guests for a sit down or buffet meal there are several seating options you can choose from. You can allow your guests to seat themselves or you can allocate a place for them.
Wedding Bomboniere Gifts
To bomboniere or not to bomboniere? You’re under no obligation to give gifts to your wedding guests; however, it is a nice gesture to thank them for coming to share your special day.
Bomboniere (Italian) is also known as wedding ‘favours’ or special gifts given to your guests as a keepsake in thanks of their attendance. Traditionally bomboniere is made up of five sugared almonds representing health, wealth, happiness, long life and fertility, wrapped in tulle. If you’re after something a bit different however, read on.
We’ve listed a few ideas for you to consider when choosing your wedding bomboniere:
Remember, this is one detail for your wedding day that you can keep simple and have fun with. Research online for many more wedding bomboniere ideas and take advantage of the discount rates available for bulk ordering.
Selecting a menu for your reception will depend on the style, venue, guest numbers and budget. Whether it be cocktails and canapés, a buffet or a three-course meal it really comes down to your personal preference. There are no rules!
No meal is complete without a refreshing beverage. How you make this available to your guests may vary. Most couples offer an assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to their guests. However, to keep costs contained, limiting the selection of alcoholic drinks offered is one way to keep to the budget.
Your cake will be prominently displayed, and the cutting of the cake will be made by yourself and your partner at the key moment at the reception.
The inclusion of music and entertainment at your reception will provide the fun and the atmosphere of the event ensuring your guests are having a great time.
Master of Ceremonies
If you want a wedding reception that’s fun yet focused you may like to have a master of ceremonies or an MC. An MC will be able to guide you and your guests through the schedule of the reception and help transform your party into an occasion.
Music will add life and personality to your reception. Music can be a background entertainment to enhance the mood, or it can be a focal point where entertainers encourage guests to take the dance floor.
Speeches & Toasts
Speeches and toasts can contribute to the sentiment of the day. Traditionally speeches are made from the principal males, but nowadays females including the bride often say a few words. There are no real rules anymore when it comes to speeches which makes the event a little bit more relaxed.
The Bridal Waltz
Once the majority of the formalities are out of the way it is tradition for the bride and groom to take to the dance floor for the bridal waltz. Despite the title, you don’t have to actually dance the waltz.
When the time comes for the wedding celebration to come to a close you and your groom should make your grand exit. You may want to throw your bouquet, or have your groom toss the garter. You may want to go around the room and say goodbye to all your guests. You will need to make sure you have your getaway transportation phone number on hand, just in case they are running late.
Weddings can be emotional occasions, and because you probably won’t get a chance to talk in depth to everyone present, ask each guest to record their thoughts and messages in a guest book. Leave the book open, together with a pen, and have the MC at your reception alert guests of its location, or have your bridal party pass it around the room.
Polaroid Your Guest Book!
Why not also include a Polaroid camera and have the guest who writes a comment also have a photo snap taken of themselves to stick next to their comment. I’m sure some of the shots will be quite humorous… Another special memory to take away with you!