Wedding Reception Order and Planning From Entrance to End of the Banquet

After the ceremony at the church or registry office, the bride and groom will generally have their wedding photographs taken, and the guest will begin to proceed to the wedding reception. By then, the person organizing the reception should be checking that everything is progressing according to plan and that all guests are taken care of. The tables will have to be strategically arranged, with a card placed on each table indicating the names of the families to be sat at each place.
A garden Wedding Reception Area.
A beautiful garden wedding reception area in the philippines.
Photo by chicagurl

The Wedding Banquet

After the wedding itself, whether it be a civil or religious church ceremony, the celebration of a banquet usually takes place, often with an initial aperitif (if economies allow it). The guests arrive and wait for the bride and groom before beginning their meal.

Don't forget to ensure that the car park has ample space to accommodate all the guests' cars, and the coat closet is large enough for everyone's coats, as well as those of the band who will be performing the music. The organizer should also have a good system to inform the band as soon as the newlyweds enter the hall. The musicians will be at the heart of the ambience as the couple arrive, and they must know beforehand which piece of music has been selected for the bride and groom's entrance.

Seating at the Wedding Banquet

The order of the guests in the tables can organized in one of three different ways.

The first method is to allow completely free seating of guests.  They choose with whom to sit and where to sit. This can, however, give rise to situations where certain people are a little isolated by not having arrived early enough to sit with those they would have preferred.

Secondly there is the card system, where guests have a reserved seat, indicated by way of a card placed on the table by the seat that has been reserved for them. The bride and groom must use a lot of planning to  make all tables organized in such a way that will avoid problems.

The third option is for guests to have a table reserved but not an individual seat in particular. The choice of the actual seat on the reserved table is made by each guest themself. In this case and also the previous one (seat reservations), mainly if there are many guests, a plan is usually placed by the  entrance to the banquet hall, indicating the location of the tables and the table numbers.

If there are children attending, you may wish to group them all together  and even provide a special child's menu for them.


Even if there are plates with small snacks already served, like sausages on sticks, etiquette dictates that the guests should not begin snacking on these until the newly married couple arrive, sit down and start to eat. The table where the bride and groom sit is called the Head Table or Presidential Table.  Also on the head table the father of the bride, mother of the groom, and following custom or preference their spouses and some close relatives like the grandparents. If the priest also is invited, he also sits at the presidential table.

Try not to scrimp on the number of waiters and waitresses at the banquet.  Remember that there must be sufficient staff to efficiently take care of the guests' needs, and to ensure that all guest are served promptly with none left with cold meals due to the time taken to get everyone's plate to them.

The presidential table is always served first, followed by the rest of the tables. In weddings with many guests it is not necessary to wait for every single table to be served before starting to eat. You can simply begin  eating when all the guests sat at your particular table have been served.

Music during the meal must be soft and gentle.

The soup, salad or similar starter course is served.  You can then have an intermediate dish or go straight to the main course.  Don't forget to provide wine to accompany the meal, and essential for the toast.

Finally after the desert and coffee,   the banquet finishes, with the bride and groom cutting the cake and giving the toast. The newlyweds usually visit the other tables to chat with the guests and to thank them for their attendance and their gifts. The parents help to cover the tables, with the male parents going to chat with the male guest and the female parents going to speak with the ladies and children.

The Wedding Dance

Try to ensure that the wedding dance starts at the correct time. It must be a song with which the bride and groom can identifiy themselves with, and that they will remember all their life. The couple should simply concentrate on no-one else apart from their newly married partner, to enjoy the dance like no-one is looking.

After the wedding piece, the father of the bride will dance with his daughter alone one the floor, and later the bride's mother will enter to dance with the groom.  The bride's father will then dance with the grom's mother, and the close relatives will share some time dancing with the bride and groom.

Try not to let the dance become too  long, so that the guests do not become bored. From now on the dance floor has officially been opened and everyone can be invited to dance.

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