Wedding Reception 101: The Guest Comes First

May 19, 2011

Here are some great wedding reception questions answered by Denise Ellenbecker from Elegant By Design, LLC.

Wedding ReceptionQ: Mother says you should have your cousin cut and serve the cake.  Is that really an honor?

A: If you are planning to serve the cake as dessert, you’re off the hook because your caterer or venue chef will cut and plate the cake while you dine on the main course.  However, if you’re planning to serve the cake later in the evening, you will need someone to cut the cake.

Keep this in mind when you assign a duty to someone such as the gathering of the luggage from the dressing room, the cutting of the cake or the setting up of decorations: you have given them a job that prevents them from having fun while saying “you didn’t make the cut for bridesmaid.”  Honors include being part of the bridal party, reading something during the service, giving a speech or singing. Anything else is work.  The best people to utilize who do appreciate odd jobs – are kids! Children of all ages take odd jobs very seriously and are happy to oblige.   Should you need the assistance of an adult to perform a task, ask it as a favor and be very grateful that they are helping you.

Q: Is it better to organize a seating chart or let your guests pick the seat of choice?

A: Though it seems logical that guests would enjoy sitting with whomever they wish, a seating free-for-all can be stressful.  If you don’t arrive early and stake your claim, do you get a good seat?  It will most likely leave someone feeling resentful that there wasn’t enough room for everyone at one table.  A little pre-wedding planning can go a long way. Seating charts allow you to separate guests who may have friction.  Seating charts also prevent a scramble and help ensure everyone is seated on time.  With that being said there is no need to assign the actual chair someone should occupy; just group the guests to specific tables.  If there are language barriers and/or cultural differences, let each person choose their own seat at the table.

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