The type of your reception should be compatible with the ceremony style. There are 3 general types of receptions; however there are many ways to go about planning a wedding reception:
The type of your reception should be compatible with the ceremony style. There are three general types of receptions; however there are many ways to go about planning a wedding reception:
– A tea or stand-up buffet, for an early – or late-afternoon wedding, usually consists of hors d oeuvres, wedding cake, and beverages, and allows approximately eight pieces of finger food in the per-person cost.
– A sit-down buffet, for a morning, noon, or evening wedding, allows guests to serve themselves and then be seated at tables.
– A sit-down dinner, for a wedding held after 6pm, offers a four or five course meal that is served to seated guests.
The basic requirements for a reception are the wedding cake and a beverage for toasting the bridal couple. Champagne is traditionally served at formal receptions, but the serving of alcoholic beverages of any kind is a matter of choice. The reception is likely to consume the largest portion of your wedding budget. Also, you should appoint someone reliable to oversee the reception, coordinate last-minute details, and direct cleanup. To help with these responsibilities, a reception organizer, reception seating chart, reception receiving line, reception room diagrams, and worksheet for the table layout may be filled out and given to the reception coordinator.
How to Choose a Reception Site
You will need to coordinate available dates and times with both the ceremony and reception sites before confirmation can be made. How to choose a reception site is largely determined by the size of your guest list. It is important to have a room that is neither too large nor too small. Your guests may feel lost in a room too large. To make the room appear smaller, you can partition off an area using potted plants, roping, or moveable room dividers. If a room is too small, it may become cramped and uncomfortable. When weather and location permit, the reception could spill over into a garden or patio to increase the size of the area.
Allow approximately three hours for your reception. The length will depend upon the style of the reception, the location you have chosen, and the number of guests to be served.
Most hotels and caterers, who may be involved with more than one reception on any given day, prefer that you select a time for your reception that stays within a single conventional time period (morning, noon, afternoon, or evening). If your reception extends into a second time period – such as from afternoon into evening – you may find difficulty in reserving a room, or an increase in cost for the use of the room and services.
When you have a choice of using all or some of the services offered with a possible reception site (perhaps in a “packaged deal”), consider every detail before deciding. Packages may include (a) room, food, and service; or (b) room, food, service, cake, and decorations.
Most banquet facilities and halls require that you use their food and beverage services. Hotels sometimes offer extras with their packages, suck as discounted room prices for out-of-town guests, and special wedding night rates for the bride and groom. When reserving a reception room months in advance of your wedding, ask for a guaranteed price and get it in writing.
Make certain that any contract you sign includes only those services you desire, including a cancellation policy whereby you get most of your money back should you cancel (particularly if the location is rebooked by another group). Some locations will allow you to reserve a room for a time before signing a contract; however, a deposit is required at signing – usually 10 percent of the total estimated cost.
How to Choose a Wedding Caterer
If you are trying to figure out how to choose a wedding caterer, the time and date of your wedding must be confirmed with them and also with the ceremony and reception sites before you order any invitations. When looking for a caterer, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Also, ask any unknown caterers for references, and samples of their food, if possible.
By informing an experienced caterer of the amount you have budgeted for the event, the facilities to be used, and the number of invited people, he can quickly tell you what can be served, in what amount, and in what style.
If the caterer is not familiar with the reception site you have selected, have him visit it to determine what is available and what is needed to make it functional for preparing and serving the food. Determine who is responsible for renting any needed extras – kitchen and serving equipment, tables, chairs, linens, table settings etc. Most caterers break down the cost into a per-person charge.
Ask if the quoted price also included the tax and gratuity. You may want to ask who gets the leftover food (since you will have already paid for it). Ask how many people the caterer will provide for serving the food.
– a buffet table requires a serve for every main dish.
– a sit-down dinner requires a server for every ten guests.
– beverages require a server for every fifty guests.
Sometimes, even if you provided the cake, the beverages, and their respective serves, there is a service charge added by the caterer or reception site, especially when they offer the same service. This charge can be extra or hidden in the total per-person charge. When you sign a contract, be certain it specifies exactly what is to be served, the number of people serving it, the per-person cost, the payment schedule, and a release clause should you have to cancel.
How to Order a Wedding Cake
While seeking estimates for the wedding cake from the banquet manager, caterer, or bakery, taste samples to determine the quality of the cake they offer. So you are probably wondering how to order a wedding cake. You will need an estimate of the number of guests you are expecting when you order your cake. Most prices are based on a per-serving cost. A down payment is usually required when ordering.
The number of needed servings determines both the size and shape of the cake – the number of servings per layer size. Do not hesitate to inquire if, with their guidance, you can design your own cake. It is better to have the bakery deliver the cake to the reception site. They can then make any necessary repairs to the icing.
Do not be afraid to ask friends to cut and serve the cake, even if they have never done it before. It is not difficult when given proper instructions. To preserve the top layer of your cake, wrap it first in plastic wrap, then in two layers of aluminum foil before sealing with freezer tape. If you order more cake than you actually need, you may donate any uncut portions to nursing homes, charitable dining rooms, and others.
How to Setup a Wedding Cake
The wedding cake may be used as a centerpiece on the brides table on the buffet table, or it may be placed on its own table. When deciding on the best location, consider serving accessibility as well as how to best highlight the cake. Knowing the design of your cake – round, square, banquet, or heart shaped, consider what table would best enhance its appearance.
Cover the table with long cloths. Skirting may be necessary to cover the table to the floor. Trim the table and base of the cake with flowers, greenery, garlands, or bows. The bridesmaid’s bouquets may also be places on the table as part of the decorations. I hope that helps give you an idea of how to setup a wedding cake.
The Bridal Party Arrival at a Wedding Reception
Select someone other than a family member to serve as the unofficial reception host/hostess until the arrival of the bride’s parents or other official hosts of the reception. Sometimes the bridal party can be detained due to completion of the photographs at the ceremony site. For this reason, you may want to provide hors d oeuvres and beverages for your guests preceding a buffet or sit-down dinner.