Reception committee

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

For a small wedding, you may choose to host the reception at the family home and do the catering yourself. Family and friends may offer to help share the load, but the main task of …

Party planning is part of the mother of the bride’s role

Home or away?

For a small wedding, you may choose to host the reception at the family home and do the catering yourself. Family and friends may offer to help share the load, but the main task of planning the menu, buying the food and drink, preparing the food and organising and possibly borrowing or hiring the seating, china, glasses, cutlery etc may fall to you.

If you are holding the wedding reception in a marquee on your lawn and hiring caterers, you’ll need to organise and co‐ordinate the different suppliers so that everything goes without a hitch.

If hosting a wedding at home, always check that there are sufficient cloakrooms, heating and electricity supplies and rooms for the couple to change in.

If you are hiring an outside venue for your reception, be sure to get everything ‐‐ costs, booking confirmations, menus ‐‐ in writing and copy these documents to the bride and groom. 

Child friendly

You might want to provide someone to keep an eye on any babies and young children who have been invited. One good idea is to enlist the help of some young people to take on the role of baby sitters or entertainers, allowing parents to enjoy the event without worrying about what their kids are up to. Either way, let the parents of young guests know what to expect before the day.

Please be seated

If the reception is to be a formal meal or sit‐down buffet, you will need to set about drawing up a seating plan. This needs endless patience, as it can become quite a juggling act trying to seat everyone in a position where they will be happy.

Even the top table, which has a traditional arrangement, is complicated if parents have remarried or one or more parents are not there. Start agreeing your seating plan as early as possible and be prepared to make changes at the last minute, as some guests may drop out before the wedding day.

If certain members of the family don’t get on, talk individually to each one and point out your concerns. Chances are, they’ll all agree to keep the peace. Have a back‐up plan and ask someone reliable to keep an eye out for any signs of conflict.

Ask your daughter for inside knowledge on any guests who won’t get on with each other. Then make sure you separate them on the table plan.

If you are divorced, you may be unsure about inviting your ex partner. If he’s the bride’s father, it’s really down to her whether of not he’s included. Try to set aside your feelings for her big day. Talk to him beforehand, and call a truce if you feel it will help you avoid conflict at the wedding. 

Trouble at the top

If remarriage means there are now rather a lot of people to fit on the top table, don’t have one. It’s not compulsory. Or have a round table instead so no one feels excluded.

Traditional seating plan

Chief Bridesmaid

Groom’s Father

Bride’s Mother

Groom

Bride

Bride’s Father

Groom’s Mother

Best Man

Alternative seating if bride’s parents are divorced and bother remarried

Bride’s Stepfather

Chief Bridesmaid

Groom’s Father

Bride’s Mother

Groom

Bride

Bride’s Father

Groom’s Mother

Best Man

Bride’s Stepfather

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