Wedding Reception Tips



  • i) Some of the main wedding reception venues are: hotels and country clubs, social clubs, pubs, restaurants, or even your own (or your parents’) home. This can be indoors or outside in a marquee.

  • ii) Some venues such as restaurants or pubs may stay open to the public and so it is worth checking whether you would be getting use of the entire venue or if you may be sharing it with other users.

  • iii) Many venues, particularly hotels and country clubs offer wedding packages, offering a room for the ceremony, a meal, an evening reception room and often suites for either the bride and groom or for the guests also. Facilities may be available for use of outside grounds during the summer, such as a marquee, and very often, each venue has its own wedding co-ordinator to help couples with their wedding arrangements.


  • i) The type of venue you choose will depend largely on your budget. As will the food you have to eat at your reception. If having a sit-down meal, it is easier to have one choice for everybody, whilst allowing for any special dietary requirements. The venue may provide the food and have their own catering team in place, or you may have to use an outside catering company of your choice. 

  • ii) If you give guests a choice of dishes, it is best to get them to send their choices back with the invitation reply. Also remember to include on the tables a copy of their choices since it is possible some would have forgotten by the time the wedding comes!

  • iii) A way of saving money is to do a buffet. The buffet (or indeed the sit-down meal) can be catered for by professional caterers or in fact, done by yourself. If you have any great cooks in the family, this may well prove to save you some money. Most of the main supermarkets now do a fantastic range of party foods or if you know somebody who has access to a cash and carry, that too can provide an excellent way of buying large quantities of food cheaply! This option works particularly well if having your reception at home.


Table Arrangements & Speeches

  • i) The wedding co-ordinator at the venue may well advise you on the table arrangement that best suits the room you are using. However, the two main arrangements are the horseshoe with the the top table and two long wings, or the top table with a number of round tables.

  • ii) The horseshoe arrangement enables all guests to see the top table, but round tables enable guests to engage with one another more. It is really a matter of personal preference and being practical with the space you have available.

  • iii) The traditional seating plan for the top table is:

    Chief bridesmaid/ Groom’s Father/ Bride’s Mother/ Groom/ Bride/ Bride’s Father/ Groom’s Mother/ Best Man.

    This of course can be changed, especially if parents have got divorced and have new partners. These partners can sit at the top table and any children, ushers or other bridesmaids can also be included.

  • iv) Closer friends and relatives tend to be seated nearest to the top table.

  • v) There is also a traditional order for the speeches, but like the seating plan, this to can be changed. Nowadays, it is much more common for the bride to also give a speech. 

  • vi) The first speech should be made by the bride’s father or whoever is taking his place for the day. It is up to him to toast the bride and groom and wish them happiness and luck. He can simply make a toast or give a longer speech.

  • vii) The second speech is usually given by the groom, who thanks the father for his good wishes and toasts the bridesmaids. It is customary to give them a small gift at this point and one to the best man. It is also worth, thanking all those who helped out to make the day so special. Flowers can also be given to both mothers as a token of gratitude for all their efforts.

  • viii) The third speech is the best man’s speech. He should respond on behalf of the bridesmaids before starting with his speech. It is whilst the best man is addressing everybody that he can also read out any cards, letters or wishes of happiness from guest who were unable to make the day. It is a nice touch to send these guests a small piece of wedding cake. It is possible to buy special boxes to send it in. This works best with fruit cake which will keep much better then sponge cake. By the time you return from honeymoon, sponge cake may well have gone stale. Remember that if you are planning on saving the top tier of your wedding cake for a christening cake, fruit cake is also the best option.


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