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Inspiration Detail | With Grace

With Grace

The flowers have been selected, the menu finalized and the bridal gown fitted, but now how do you properly handle those odd little occurrences that may pop up? While most of the details are nailed down, a few elements to the planning still require thoughtful consideration. These situations usually relate to proper decorum and require just a little patience and poise to navigate. Traditional etiquette and modern manners sometimes differ in the best approach to resolving such matters. So carefully consider what seems most appropriate to you in each situation. We have given you a guide to dealing with some of the most common social blunders, all the while maintaining proper manners and handling each with style and grace.

UNEXPECTED GUESTS
The overarching emphasis whenever handling surprises is to always make your guests feel welcome. Regardless of whether your guest brought their date without including them in the RSVP or you spot an uninvited distant relative, everyone should feel welcome and comfortable. The key to accommodating unexpected guests is to be prepared by assuming more guests will attend than have replied. Rent three to five percent more of any linens, chairs, plate chargers and china. Also, when designing your seating chart, don’t completely fill every table. This will allow room for a guest to join at the last minute, even if they are not specifically included on the seating chart. To accommodate children you did not expect, ask your caterer to have a plan in mind for a simple children’s meal. Finally, if a guest informs you at the last minute that they cannot attend, remove their seating card immediately.

WEDDING GIFTS
Tradition suggests all wedding gifts should be sent to the home of the bride or groom. However, the majority of guests in the Midwest present their gifts at the reception. To accommodate these gifts, prepare a table in an out-of-the-way spot. Ask a relative or close friend to direct guests where to set their gifts upon arrival. Many guests will bring a card, so it is wise to prepare a basket, box or other decorative receptacle to collect them thereby avoiding the chance of any being lost.

CEREMONY AND RECEPTION TIMELINE
There are many reasons why your reception may not begin immediately following your ceremony. Often, it is because the church will not allow wedding ceremonies to take place after a certain time on Saturdays. If you are facing a lengthy gap between your ceremony and reception, it is important to consider the comfort of your guests. If the majority traveled from out of state and are spending the night, they are able to retreat back to a hotel room to freshen up. If the majority live in town, they are able to return to their home for a few hours before arriving at the reception. However, if your guests do not have an appropriate place to go before the reception begins, consider hosting a trolley tour of the city. Arrange for guests to take a tour of local landmarks or attractions. It is nice to prepare bottles of water and some light snacks for the ride. Another option is to provide your guests a map with local highlights, allowing them to take a self-guided tour if they desire.

RECEIVING LINE
Many churches no longer allow a receiving line to take place after the ceremony due to an overlap with services. If this is the case, consider greeting guests near the entrance of your reception venue or at their tables between courses during dinner. It is important to make each guest feel welcomed and special. However, also take time to enjoy your husband and your reception without getting stuck in conversation the entire time.

INTIMATE CEREMONY + LARGE RECEPTION
Many couples prefer a small private ceremony, but would like to invite all of their friends and family to help celebrate at their reception. The key to having the best of both worlds is proportion. To avoid any hurt feelings, keep the number of invited guests to the ceremony to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is to have a 1-to-10 ratio of ceremony guests to reception guests. An example of this would be to invite 15 people to the ceremony if you are expecting 150 to attend your reception. However, keep the meaning of your wedding day in mind as well. Guests wish to share in your excitement, love and the promises you make to one another. By including them as guests at your ceremony, they will feel honored and blessed to witness your vows. 

ASSIGNING WEDDING ROLES
It is an honor to be asked to stand by your side as a bridesmaid or groomsman, or to serve as an usher or reader. Often brides try to include as many friends and family members in their wedding day to avoid any hurt feelings. However, unless the role is something truly special, think twice before reaching out to your cousins and distant relatives. Small children will be overjoyed to hand out bubbles or programs, but your 16-year-old cousin may not. Sometimes it is best to keep wedding roles to a minimum and allow your friends and family to enjoy the day celebrating.

BALANCING GUESTS AND ALCOHOL
If your family members love to drink and really get down on the dance floor, you may want to reconsider utilizing the open bar concept. Guests are not as likely to order a drink when the drinks are not complimentary. Consider having a “hosted” bar serving beer, wine and a signature drink. This will cater to all tastes without allowing guests to order strong alcoholic beverages or shots of liquor. If you simply must host an open bar, yet wish to ensure your guests do not overindulge, ask the bartenders to use a light touch when mixing drinks. 

Also, during the last hour of your reception, consider shifting to only non-alcoholic options and complementing the drink bar with a simple snack bar. This usually does not increase the cost of your reception by much, as you are shifting alcohol expense to snacks. Utilizing a snack bar will serve to sober up guests before they depart. Some popular ideas are sliders, nachos, tacos or pizza.

Finally, don’t lose sight of your own alcohol consumption. Avoid having more than a few drinks and be certain to eat some food throughout the day and during the event. This way, you will fully enjoy your wedding reception while maintaining your poise and grace. |NWD|