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The Reception

Things to Consider

  • The location
  • The time
  • The length
  • The style
  • The order of things
  • The seating
  • The lighting and sound
  • The MC
  • The music
  • The decor
  • The catering and service
  • The food
  • The cake
  • The favors
  • The toasts
  • The tossings
  • The send-off

The location

One of those Big Picture items.

The style

  • The style of the reception should conform, at least roughly, to the style of the ceremony. Properly, of course, the style ought to be exactly the same ~ but we can't always be perfectly proper, can we? Still, drastic differences are to be discouraged!
  • An informal reception . . .


    • May be shorter
    • May have only light refreshments, but could also feature a brunch or luncheon, or simple buffet.
    • Does not have assigned seating
    • May have very little seating.
    • Could take place in a restaurant, home, fellowship hall, garden, etc.
    • Has simple decorations, if any.
  • A semi-formal reception . . .


    • Will be longer than an informal reception
    • May have anything from a light refreshment buffet to a simple dinner (buffet style).
    • May have assigned seating, but doesn't necessarily have to.
  • A formal reception . . .


    • Will be at least several hours long.
    • Will feature either a sit-down dinner or a buffet (that is more elaborate and substantial than for a less formal wedding)
    • Will take place in a very nice location and may have elaborate decorations.
    • Will have assigned seating (or, at least, assigned tables)

The seating

  • The bride and groom have a special, reserved place to sit.
  • Other seating may be arranged, open, or in between. Attendants are usually assigned seating even at a reception with open seating. Guests may also be simply assigned a table, but not a specific seat.

The MC, or Master of Ceremonies

  • The most important thing to consider is that this person will have a microphone and can say anything he wants to and everyone will hear it. Choose wisely!

The catering and service

  • You can either hire someone to do it ~ more expensive (probably), easier, less time-consuming, less stressful (probably), the food may or may not be good (but it won't be familiar), and everybody will get to enjoy the wedding and the reception.
  • Or do it yourself (meaning family and friends do it, not the bride by herself!) ~ potentially much cheaper, a lot of hard work, potentially more fun, more stressful (maybe),the food will be better (assuming the cooks can cook), more time-consuming, and relatives or church ladies may skip the wedding to prepare the reception hall or spend the reception serving food.
  • Check out the kitchen facilities at your reception location to make sure they are adequate. Even if a caterer is bringing all the food, she'll need some space.
  • If you are doing it "yourself" you may need to borrow or rent equipment and serving dishes.

The favors

  • They're optional, but usually expected.
  • They can cost you a ridiculous amount of money if you're not careful!

The toasts

  • They're optional.
  • They don't require alcohol. That is, you can have toasts without alcoholic drinks.

The tossings

  • They're optional ~ but usually expected.
  • Buy or make a special tossing bouquet, instead of throwing yours.
  • I, personally, have problems with the garter toss, so I can't help you there (I wouldn't want my husband to remove a piece of my underwear in public and toss it to a bunch of men). I haven't thought of an alternative yet, either.

The send-off

  • There's the good old-fashioned rice (it doesn't kill birds).
  • Then there's birdseed. Sure to be appreciated by our feathered friends.
  • Bubbles are popular now. They look good in pictures. Plus, they don't make sidewalks dangerous, they don't make a mess on the ground, and they can't get inside your clothing.
  • Want something different? These certainly aren't the only options!


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