There are a variety of reception ideas that remain popular because, well, people just enjoy them. But you can take these tried-and-true thoughts and get all twisted!
Almost everybody loves dessert. The usual reception protocol is to offer a late-night dessert buffet for guests, featuring the usual cookies or squares.
Update: Have your dessert table set up early in the evening with cupcakes, cookies, petit fours, chocolate-covered pretzels (or strawberries), mints, jars of favourite candies, grapes, cherries or other finger-fruits – or perhaps an ice cream bar for sundaes.
These are a practical necessity so guests can locate their table. Using an ‘every man for himself’ theory can result in chaos.
Update: Instead of numbers, try using phrases that relate to you as a couple. Use the location of your first date, or where you met. Or, try a theme of sports teams or movies. Instead of table number two, guests can sit at “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”
Dining room entrance
Often the table-seating chart is put on an easel at the door to the dining room.
Update: This clogs the door and slows the seating. Move it away from the door and, instead, have a show-stopping arrangement. Example: Put large bare tree branches in a big pot and hang crystals and a few artificial white flowers on the branches.
Floral centrepieces are lovely – and expensive. There are attractive options.
Update: Consider clustering pillar candles of different heights in the centre of each table. Leave matches on the table so, as soon as everyone is seated, you can lower the ceiling lighting and have everyone light the candles at the same time.
The bar and mixed cocktails always get plenty of attention, but nondrinkers often are overlooked and just offered diet sodas or a bland punch.
Update: Have two or three great alcohol-free drinks made with fresh fruit. Put in huge bowls with floating ice. Have signage that tells what each drink is.
One special drink often is passed on trays.
Update: Set the glasses on a tray with a rim with chipped ice to keep them cool. An alternative is to have the glasses sitting on a bed of chips or nuts so guests can nibble as they sip.
Help-yourself snacks are often nuts and chips during the cocktail hour.
Update: Include a few things that look pretty as well as taste good. Have kabobs made up with chunks of fruit placed on chopsticks and stick them in bowls filled with sand or coloured stones.
The truth is that the take-home guest gifts rarely get used or even kept.
Update: Make an edible gift. Better still, bake cookies and put the name of each guest on the cookie. Wrap and tie with a pretty bow. These become your placecards.
If you don’t opt for an edible gift for guests, you might consider a gift that has a life beyond your wedding day.
Update: Give tree saplings wrapped in burlap that guests can take home and plant, or flower seeds in personalized packets.