Who sits at the top table? When should we do the speeches, do we need wedding favours… all in all, who does what, when and how? This week we have taken on the challenge of wedding traditions and etiquette and answered the questions we get asked most often. Here we go:
The Receiving Line
I often ask my brides and grooms if they wish to have a receiving line and it is almost always met with one of two questions: “What is a receiving line?” or “Do we have to do one?” Traditionally a receiving line is a minimum of the bride, groom, and their respective parents. It is a way in which you can take time to thank people individually for coming to your wedding, and in return allowing them to congratulate you. For larger weddings, they can be a clever idea as it can be hard to get around to everybody and speak to everyone. A receiving line gives you the chance to do so, and is a nice way to invite them all personally to the Wedding Breakfast. However this precession can take up time as many people don’t just say hello, but want to stand and talk , which can make for slow progress – so for those on a strict timeline this may not be ideal. It is up to the bride and groom, and if you choose to do so it does add a touch of tradition to the wedding.
Usually the Top Table is where the bride, groom, their parents, best man, and maid of honour sit for the Wedding Breakfast. But does it have to be a long table? Can it be round? Where does it have to go? Well our answer is it is your wedding, you decide! The great thing about having a top table is that it allows all your guests to see you and watch the speeches, plus you also have a great view of your friends and family. However it can be difficult to talk to anyone other than those on either side of you, and it’s definitely not for the shy bride as you are on show!
Thinking of alternatives? The half-moon top table allows the tradition of a ‘top table’ to remain and is more intimate in the sense you can talk to others on the table more easily, and is currently a more contemporary alternative. Or get rid of the ‘top table’ idea completely and just sit at round tables with your nearest and dearest. Another we have seen a lot of lately is just one long table where everyone sit– great for small, intimate weddings!
Time of Speeches
So when is best to start the speeches? At the end of the meal? At the beginning before everyone has eaten? In between courses? Again, there’s no right answer – it is whatever works for you! We recommend doing them before the meal, especially if any members of your party is nervous about public speaking. This way you can get the speeches over with, and your shy loved one can enjoy themselves. Should you want to break-up the breakfast or entertain your guests throughout the meal, consider doing the speeches in -between courses. This can however slow down the meal service, so be aware of your time plan if you choose this option. Last, but not least, consider doing the speeches at the end of the meal, you can then transition fluidly from the speeches and toasts to the cutting the cake and the first dance – a good way to wrap up the service.
One of our favorite options is to wait until after the desserts are cleared, when coffees and petits fours are served. This allows your guests to finish their meal but enjoy a coffee during the speeches, and it keeps the pace of the meal moving.
The Throwing of the Bouquet
One of our favorite scenes in the movies, throwing your bouquet can be a fun way to entertain your guests and also involve them in your special day. It is said that the one to catch the bouquet is the next one to get married, so go on and pass on the love! Should you wish to keep a piece of your bouquet, take a few blooms from your arrangement and save them in some water to preserve later.
Tradition does not require the bride and groom to buy presents or gifts for your guests, but favours can be a nice touch to a wedding if your budget allows it. It is also a nice way to give a Thank You gift to all your nearest and dearest who attended your big day and made it so very special. Should you choose to have favours, make it personalized to you and the groom. A mix of music you both love or your favourite candy are both great, personalized options.
With love from Corinthia London,