There are a variety of post-ceremony celebration options available to the newlyweds. The most popular choice is a lunch or dinner reception, the sites for which are virtually unlimited. It is important to keep in mind that this is your day . . . plan the reception to satisfy your own style.
Since cost is always a consideration, investigation of the reception packages available in your immediate area is in order. The charges for an all inclusive sit-down dinner reception in the Marin-Sonoma-Napa region at a suitable restaurant or hotel, or privately catered at a location which does not offer food services, can range from approximately $15 per person to $100 per person, including tax, tips and liquor. The package price will vary, depending on such factors as day of the week, time of the year, style of the party and the menu selection.
If you are planning a large reception, it is important that you start the planning process early, since there are a limited number of sites that can accommodate such a gathering. Investigate the available locations and arrange appointments to explore all of the sites that appear intriguing. Make your reservations well in advance of your wedding date. If you plan to be married during the wedding high season, it is suggested that you book your location as early as one year in advance of the intended date of the celebration.
A private catering service can provide reception services at a variety of locations, including vineyards, boats, golf courses, hotels or at your home. You can either locate a reception site which does not provide catering services, and then employ an off-site catering service, or you can first choose an off-site caterer and then seek the caterer’s recommendation with regard to a suitable site.
As with the other wedding related services, do not allow for any surprises on the day of the event. Make sure that the terms of the package purchased by you are set out in a writing which clearly sets out the menu, the maximum seating, the room decorations, any catered services, number of waiters and bartenders, entertainment, quality of silverware and chinaware, dance facilities, parking, after event janitorial services, etc.
The events and procedures at the reception are matters of your preference and choice. There are no hard and fast rules. Usually, following the ceremony a receiving line is set up at the reception site, at which time the bride and groom are allowed an opportunity to meet and speak with their wedding guests. The newlyweds are commonly joined in the reception line by their parents, the best man and maid of honor, and any special guests who attended the proceedings. Either before or after the wedding guests are received, the bride and groom should retire to an adjoining room, together with the wedding party, family members and special guests, for the formal wedding portraits. Plan on 15 minutes to an hour for the formal portraits and approximately 20 to 30 minutes for the reception line introductions.
1. Introduction of the new couple by the entertainer or best man;
a.) If a sit down, the bridal party’s table is situated where it can best be viewed by the guests with the bridal couple in the middle, maid of honor to the groom’s left, best man to the bride’s right, and the other attendants alternating man/woman as space permits. Tapping of a crystal glass announces that the bride and groom should kiss;
b.) If a buffet, the food line should start with the bride, followed by the groom, the maid of honor, best man, attendants, parents and guests.
4. Toast by the best man shortly before the wedding party is served [or before the cake cutting];
5. Reply by the groom and bride, if they so choose;
6. Any other toasts by persons present;
7. Service of the meal [background music during meal];
8. First dance by bride and groom alone followed by dance of bride with groom’s father and groom with bride’s mother, later joined by wedding party, later joined by guests.
9. Cake cutting;
10. More dancing if time allows;
11. Bouquet toss followed by garter toss.
12. More dancing if time allows; and
13. Departure of the bride and groom under hail of rose petals or birdseed [rice should not be used].
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