Planning Your Reception
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"Traditional Wedding Etiquette"Planning Your Reception

Author: Jennifer - Internet Sales Coordinator & Team LeaderApril 2006

It is the moment that every bride fantasizes about at one time or another. You have walked down the aisle and are (finally) married. Next, the real fun can begin. For many, it is the only time that all your friends and family are in one room all together. Your wedding reception is the part of the wedding where you socialize with all of your wedding guests, surrounded by the decorations and flowers that you chose. Many brides struggle with the best way to organize all the parts of the reception. Just like the wedding ceremony, planning the reception can be easier than you think.

The first thing that you should decide is the location of the reception. It is traditional to choose a location within proximity to the location of the wedding, so your guests do not have to travel too far. This choice is key because the location of the reception determines so many things, such as space, and available caterers. Some main concepts to consider is the availability of the site, if the size of the site is consistent with the number of guests that you want to invite. Also, you will want to weigh whether the site matches the level of formality that you are seeking to achieve with your reception. The layout of the reception site should also be considered. Specifically, you will want to determine if the table setup that you want will work in this setting.

Another point to determine is if you will be using a caterer. Once you choose the location of the reception, you will need to research whether you can use an outside caterer, or if you must use an on-site caterer. Choosing a caterer may seem overwhelming. However, to make an informed decision, ask to see a potential caterer's portfolio. This is an album that shows photographs of previous receptions. You may want to look for artistic, creative touches. Many brides also find it helpful to ask for a sample of the meal that they may order. To work well with your caterer, you may want to decide what kind of foods that you want to offer your guests and make sure that your caterer can accommodate your vision. If there is a variation or certain dish that you would like to serve your guests, it is important to stick to your vision. In addition, know the amount that you are willing to spend and try not to be strayed away from that. Although it is your wedding, also feel free to listen to the caterer's vision, as this may yield some ideas that you did not think of.

Finally, there are many creative decisions for your reception. These decisions do not have to be stressful, and can make your wedding, so have fun with it! You will want to consider what flowers that you will want to use at the reception. To determine this, think of the season that you are getting married. Spring and summer brides tend to incorporate light, airy flowers in soft or bright colors. Holiday brides tend to use flowers in all shades of red and wine. Also, you may want to consider price, the colors of the wedding, and the time of the day that the reception will take place. For example, if the reception is in the evening, white flowers would be an elegant choice, especially if you are incorporating candlelight. Some brides chose to use something different than flowers altogether. Some popular centerpiece ideas are creative framed pictures of the bride and groom together, large pillar candles or centerpieces with seasonal themes.

Also, you can think about what kind of music that you would like to play. Most brides either hire a live band or a D.J. You may want to talk to your fiancé about what song to choose for your first dance together. The most popular choice is to choose a song that is "your song," or a classic song that will never go out of style. Lastly, you may think of creative touches for your reception, such as naming the tables with locations that are relevant to the bride and groom. These touches make a wedding personal, so do not be afraid to get creative.

All too many brides find themselves frazzled and stressed in the months leading up to their wedding. However, it is easy to forget that most women anticipate their wedding since childhood. Instead of viewing planning your wedding as stressful, remember that you can use as much creativity as you dare with your wedding. This is your reception, so remember that the sky is the limit!