The perfect wedding reception means a lot of different things to different couples. When you begin to plan your reception, draw up a list to help you determine what kind of reception you want. Will it be casual or formal? Afternoon or evening?
Name the types of services you’d like to include in the open house, as well. Would you like guests to have access to a dance floor? Do you want the elegance of a live band or will a DJ playing recorded music do? Providing some type of food is a given, but will it be a full meal or just a light selection of refreshments and appetizers? A sit-down dinner or a self-serve buffet?
You’ll soon find that planning the wedding ceremony was the easy part (especially if you are to be married in the temple, where so much of the planning is done for you.) Limitless choices await you when you plan the reception. Every single detail is up to you…Read More
Choose a Wedding Cake Design
Do you ever wonder how professionally-done cakes get that flawlessly smooth layer of frosting on top?
Most wedding cakes are coated with fondant or buttercream icing that is rolled out with a rolling pin and draped over the cake to provide a smooth working surface. Rolled fondant or buttercream comes in a variety of colors and can be rolled out to a variety of thicknesses.
Once you have the smooth “base” of your cake – usually fondant or buttercream – it’s ready to be decorated with piped icing. (“Piping” is the term bakers use to describe icing that is squeezed through a cake decorating bag to create shapes and patterns.)
Look through your baker’s portfolio to identify piping techniques you like to help…Read More
The most important dance of your life is the first dance at your wedding reception. You want to make it special, you want it to look polished, and you want it to be remembered. Many couples take dance lessons together in the months leading up to their wedding so that their first dance can be everything they hoped it would be.
Benefits of Wedding Dance Lessons
Of course, lessons will help you to look good when you’re on the dance floor in front of everyone you know. But aside from the obvious, there are other benefits of taking dance lessons together.
If you’re not familiar with the basics of dance and music, this is a great way to learn. Lessons will help you get more confident about moving to music with everybody watching, get comfortable dancing with your spouse-to-be, and you can even use what you learn at parties and events during the rest of your married life.
Moreover, dance lessons during the busy phase of wedding planning are a perfect stress reliever and a regular carved-out date when you are tempted to get too busy to really spend time just having fun together like you used to.
What Kind of Dance Lessons?
Before you sign up for a class or private dancing lessons, you need to know what your main objective is. Are you a complete novice who would just like to get a general feel for dancing? Would you like to learn some kind of specific ballroom dance, like a waltz? Or would you like a customized choreographed first dance to your song? What kind of dance lessons you take depends on your answer to these questions.
Where to Take Wedding Dance Lessons
There are many sources for quality dance lessons, with a wide price range. For a general overview of dance, an inexpensive session of classes at a local community center may be best. If you want one-on-one instruction or you’d like custom choreography for your first dance, private lessons at a professional dance studio are a good idea.
If you choose a private instructor, see if it’s possible to sit in on a lesson before signing up. The personality of the instructor makes a big difference in what you will get out of the class and how much you will enjoy it. If they will be creating choreography for you, ask if you can see videos of their previous work for other couples before they get to work on yours.
Dance Lessons for Father/Daughter or Mother/Son Dances
Just like with the first dance, you and your parents may also want to take lessons. They can help you feel more natural dancing together (odds are that you haven’t done it since you were a child) and choreograph a dance for you if you ask.
Even though parent/child dance lessons aren’t vital, they are a really nice gift for your mom or dad. Probably what they want most in the world at this busy point in your life is to spend some time with you.
Taking couple or parent/child dance lessons before your wedding reception is a fun way to spend time together and great preparation for the most important dance of your life. Find a good instructor and pay attention in class – and don’t forget pictures of your lessons for your scrapbook!
You’ve got to feed the guests at your wedding reception, and probably everything you think of has been done before at a million other weddings. Or is it? These unique wedding reception food ideas can help make the dinner a meal to remember.
Wedding Reception Food Stations
A classy, modern spin on the old wedding reception buffet is the invention of freestanding food stations or centers. At separate round tables, guests pick up different types of food fare. One table can be sushi and another chicken parmesan, another for drinks and another for salads. Food stations can be expensive or inexpensive, depending on the foods you choose.
Finger Foods Only Wedding Receptions
Not only are finger food receptions less messy, they are also less expensive! Finger foods tend to be cheaper, plus you don’t have to buy any cutlery. For starters, think about breads, crackers, veggies and dip, chips and salsa, cream puffs, pinwheel wraps, deviled eggs, mixed nuts, or fruit skewers. You’ll find that guests who have their hands free while eating are more likely to mingle and converse with each other.
Wedding Receptions with a Chocolate Fountain
The main attraction of your wedding reception could be an ornate chocolate fountain with liquid chocolate flowing down the sides. Provide a variety of foods for guests to dip in chocolate (or eat plain): pretzels rods, strawberries, cherries, pineapple slices, apple slices, Graham crackers, chocolate chip cookies, bananas, Nutter Butters, and mint Oreos. Practically anything tastes good in chocolate – just make sure to keep it off your dress!
Cultural Foods at your Wedding Reception
The standard “chicken or fish” option at wedding receptions doesn’t have to apply to your wedding reception if you go with cultural foods. Consider choosing foods from the culture of your heritage, feature an “around-the-world” type menu with everything from Chinese to Mexican food, or use Italian food to complement your old-world Italy wedding theme.
Wedding Reception Mini Foods
Almost anything can be made into a tasty bite-sized treat, from the main course (mini burgers) to dessert (mini muffins.) Other ideas for mini wedding reception foods include mini crab cakes, cocktail weenies, red potatoes, baby carrots (or other veggies), Jell-o cubes, or pizzas made on mini bagels. Soups, parfaits, or ice cream can be served in shot glasses.
Unique Wedding Reception Dessert Bars
The standard wedding cake slice is only the size of a pack of cards – that’s why plenty of couples choose to provide an array of desserts in addition to (or even instead of) wedding cake. Old standards like brownies, cookies, pastries, and pies are great, but that’s just the beginning. What about a soft-serve ice cream bar with all the toppings, or a candy bar featuring suckers, mints, Jolly ranchers, taffy, M&Ms, and so on?
Wedding Reception Food Colors
Explore incorporating your wedding colors into your meal? Use food coloring sparingly, choosing foods that are naturally colored whenever you can. Vibrant fruits and vegetables can be used as toppings, garnishes, or chopped up and mixed in to naturally tint your recipe any color of the rainbow.
The wedding reception meal is traditional, but the food you serve doesn’t have to be. For a creative and unique twist, all you need to do is think of a “hook” or “angle” for your wedding reception food and run with it. These wedding food ideas should kick-start your creativity.
Having food stations, a buffet, or a dessert bar at your wedding reception is a great choice: both are economical, easy, and convenient. But you will need to worry about how to decorate your food tables, which inevitably become the focal point of the reception as the guests file past.
Wedding Buffet Tablecloths
Just because your caterer will cover the buffet tables with a boring white linen tablecloth for free doesn’t mean you have to go that route. Match the buffet tablecloths to the guests’ tablecloths, and incorporate your wedding colors.
Wedding Food Table Centerpieces
The food tables will look crowded with too much going on, but tasteful centerpieces placed at strategic locations can add just the right touch to the table. You have lots of options for centerpieces: balloons, mirrors, and floral arrangements, to name a few.
Just be careful about choosing fresh floral arrangements and stick with flowers that have a minimal scent. Super-aromatic flowers may not smell so good mixed in with the various food aromas on the buffet table.
Dress Up the Wedding Reception Food
Don’t forget what’s center stage at the food table: the food! Work with what you’ve got and concentrate on artful arrangement. Add colorful garnishes like slices of lemon or lime, sprigs of herbs like rosemary or parsley, or beds of lettuce leaves underneath your food. You might even consider edible flowers!
Stack items at various heights down the length of the table by using tiered trays and cake stands to display food items. Even placing a box underneath the tablecloth adds height and dimension to a flat platter.
Decorating your buffet tables doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, but it makes a huge difference in the look and feel of your wedding. A little attention to tablecloths, simple centerpieces, and arrangement of the food goes a long way in your wedding reception buffet.
If you are LDS and planning your wedding reception and your reaction to the words “garter toss” is “absolutely not!”, or you are in any way uncomfortable with removing and tossing a garter in front of all your friends and family, read on to find plenty of fun alternatives.
Toss the Boutonnière
No law says the groom has to toss a garter. Why not another important part of the wedding ensemble? The groom could throw his boutonnière. Or, have him undo his necktie or bowtie and toss it to the crowd – as long as it’s not a rental! Line up the single male guests at the reception and announce that whoever catches this tie is destined to be the next one to get married.
Blow up a bunch of balloons, one of which has a ribbon or other lightweight item in the wedding colors inside (the exact number of balloons depends on the size of your guest list.) Secure them in a net that is fastened near the ceiling. Have all men or all single men stand underneath and let the balloons drop – the lucky guy who finds and pops the balloon with the ribbon wins.
If tossing the tie isn’t an option, consider another garter toss alternative like throwing a new gift. Some good examples are a new necktie or a pair of leather gloves. You can throw anything that most men would like as a gift, but nothing hard or dangerous to throw like a pocketwatch or pen knife!
Race to the Bride
On one side of the room, line up the bride and the male guests; at the other side set up a long table scattered with inexpensive dollar store scarves or handkerchiefs. On the groom’s signal, the first man to run across the room, retrieve a scarf, and give it to the bride at the starting line is presented with a garter or garter alternative.
Think musical chairs is just for kids at a birthday party? It’s actually hilarious when adults are the players. Set up chairs in a circle and let the best man win. This is a great time to have some fun with the music. Try the Mission Impossible theme song, “Luck Be a Lady” by Frank Sinatra, or “Perhaps” by Cake. The winner of the game receives a garter or LDS garter alternative.
For those of you who are brave enough to have a garter removed from your leg with everyone looking on, let your groom go for it. But if you don’t want anything to do with the traditional garter removal and garter toss at your wedding reception don’t leave out your male guests while your female guests get the bouquet toss. Instead of cutting the garter toss altogether, consider replacing it with a more appropriate LDS garter toss alternative.
If you don’t want the traditional white wedding cake with three perfectly stacked tiers, you’re not alone. Your wedding cake is the most special cake of your lifetime, so why not make it a cake your guests will remember? Try on some of these suggestions, or invent your own.
Round and square are the usual wedding cake shapes. Try mixing the two, so that your cake has some round and some square tiers. You can alternate – square, round, square, round – or you can have a truly random mix. If neither round nor square particularly appeals to you, pick a more unusual shape like hexagons or paisley drops for your wedding cake tiers.
You can also experiment with color to make your wedding cake stand out. Colored wedding cakes are quickly becoming the norm, but usually all tiers are the same color. Frost each tier of your wedding cake in a different color, the bolder the better.
Unique wedding cakes often mix up the usual stacked arrangement. If you go with square tiers, stack them on top of each other at interesting angles to make your cake more eye-catching. Square or round tiers can be stacked slightly off-center, or they can be flush at the back of the cake so the step between each tier is more pronounced. You could also reverse the traditional order of the tiers – use cake stands or dowels to stack tiers in order of ascending size with the smallest layer on the bottom.
Topsy Turvey Cakes
Some unusual wedding cakes have round tiers that are tapered inward and slanted to one side at the top. The tiers look as if they are precariously balanced on top of each other (even though your decorator will make sure they are secure.) The unusual angles are usually emphasized by rigid geometric patterns in the icing such as stripes, diamonds, or checkers.
Choosing a wedding cake that is uniquely you can be difficult, but you don’t have to limit yourself in the shapes, colors, or arrangements that you choose. Feel free to experiment, run suggestions by your decorator, and above all pick something that you will enjoy seeing on the cake table during your wedding reception.
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