While the only two requirements for a wedding reception are cake and champagne, menus for marriage run the full gamut, from a light breakfast to an elaborate dinner. It is considered courteous to serve guests a meal appropriate to the time that the wedding reception is being held.
However, if your reception plans and budget do not include a full dinner; make this clear in your invitations. Indicating the menu plan on the invitations will eliminate guests’ preconceived expectations for a meal. Alternatives to full menus could be: “Cake and Champagne” or “Hors D’oeuvres and Cocktails.”
The trick with hors d’oeuvres is to design a menu that has broad appeal, is appetizing, and leaves guests with energy to party. Besides hors d’oeuvres, having one or two stations with guacamole, chips, and baked brie, not only helps discourage people from jumping the waiters as they come out of the kitchen door, but also provides natural gathering spots.
Passed hors d’oeuvres are usually priced per piece or included in the meal package. Between eight and ten pieces per person is ample for a one hour cocktail reception. For a raw bar, carving station, or pasta assortment, you will most likely be charged per head.
THE MAIN COURSE
Here are a few popular options for the dining service of the wedding reception:
- French Service – Waiters heat plates and garnish food at a side table or Although considered the height of elegance, it is rather slow and requires a great deal of space
- Russian Service – Waiters serve from a silver platter.
- Plated or a la carte – Waiters carry the food out on The most elegant way to serve plated food is to have waiters carry two plates at a time and, choreographed by the captains, “blanket” the room, completing one table at a time.
Buffets are food stations that enable you to serve eclectic and creative meals without traffic jams, and are very much in vogue. Buffets create a shorter reception than a served meal because downtime between courses disappears. Have your MC or DJ play games to find out who goes to the buffet first, or simply call tables numerically. Choose a buffet menu with a variety of flavours, colours, textures and temperatures. Stay away from a line-up of silver chafing dishes as they look fairly institutional. Instead choose unique baskets, platters and bowls. Call out by table numerically.
It is said that toasts got their start in 16th century France, when a piece of bread was put in the bottom of a wine goblet to soak up sediment from the wine. The goblet was passed from woman to woman, with the last woman to drink getting the “toast” for good luck.
To begin the toasts, the best man is introduced by the MC, and asks everyone to stand. The bride and groom should remain seated. The best man’s toast may be brief and sentimental or it can be more detailed and personal. Often the toast is amusing and anecdotal, and should express hope and happiness for the couple. It should never reflect the highlights of the bachelor party.
The champagne or wine served at the wedding should be special – one the guests will remember. It’s best not to cut corners here. On average, allow two drinks per person during the first hour of the reception and one per hour thereafter. Also consider the time of year (guests drink more in warmer weather), the time of day (people drink more in the evening) and the age of your guests (people in their 20s and over 50 tend to drink more).
Long considered as tokens of appreciation given to family and friends by the bride and groom, wedding favours come from a beloved Italian tradition. Tulle-wrapped bundles of sugared almonds representing the bitterness and sweetness of married life are always brought home by guests at Italian weddings. Favours can be the sweetest, most imaginative tokens for wedding guests, representing the bride and groom’s personality, style and wit.
From personalized golf balls, to tiny clay pots with tree or flower seeds, to small crystal vases, and holiday ornaments; wedding favours can be anything. They are a symbol of the special day, as well as a way to thank guests for their attendance.
THE ROLE OF A MASTER OF CEREMONIES
A Master of Ceremonies (MC for short) is the person who presides over the entertainment. The bride and groom trust the MC to keep their wedding on track.
MCs should have the ability to keep things under control. MCs should meet with the bride, groom and the parents before the wedding to get the necessary information they will need to keep this special day running smoothly. Find out when and where the reception is taking place, how many guests are expected and what type of reception it is.
The MC is responsible for keeping things flowing, and making sure everyone who is speaking is prepared. The MC needs to know who is speaking. The best man only? Parents? The maid/matron of honour? Keep a list of everyone who is speaking and in what order handy. Find out what the bride and groom want, and make sure the MC checks the agenda with the bride and groom.
- You’re on! Introduce yourself to the guests and explain how you know the bride and groom
- Thank everyone for coming
- Make sure to ask everyone for their attention whenever you are speaking – don’t try to speak overtop of the Simply wait for the crowd to fall silent, repeating “your attention please…” as necessary
- Ask the audience to stand when the wedding party proceeds to their The guests may sit down after the wedding party is seated
- The MC should get a list of everyone the bride and groom want introduced from the happy couple before the wedding
Some of the duties may include telling stories, giving special announcements, informing guests of traditions, reading letters or emails sent from guests unable to attend the wedding, announcing the bouquet and garter toss, announcing the cutting of the cake and whatever else the bride and groom assign. An MC should always follow the line of good taste, especially in jokes or anecdotes. Avoid suggestive or offensive material. Smile a lot, because smiling is contagious!
SOME MUST-KNOWS FOR THE MC:
- Keep to the agenda
- When the time comes to hit the microphone, the MC should introduce themselves and state their relationship to the They should also thank the guests for coming on behalf of the bride and the groom.
- Ask everyone to stand as the bridal party takes their seats (if this is how the bride and the groom want to be introduced).
- Introduce the head table and any members of the wedding party that may not be sitting at the head table.
- Allow time for photographs
- Introduce the parents of the bride and the groom
- Introduce special guests including those from out of town
- Read any letters and well wishes
- Announce toasts
- Announce the cutting of the cake
- Announce any special events, like the garter and bouquet toss
- Announce the location and time of the gift opening
- If the wedding party is in formalwear, then your MC should be as well, in complimenting colours of the wedding party
- The Master of Ceremonies shouldn’t expect the bride and the groom to pay for his garments