SEATING ARRANGEMENTS Place cards should be set by the caterer at the head table and honor tables to avoid confusion and embarrassment. At the rest of the tables, feel free to allow guests to choose their own seats. The head table showcases the bride and groom, who sit in full view, facing the guests. The best man flanks the bride, while the maid of honor is seated next to the groom. Bridesmaids and groomsmen are seated, alternating males and females. At a small wedding, the parents of the bride and groom may sit at the head table, as well as the officiating clergy and spouses of married attendants. Otherwise, there is a separate honors table, with the bride’s parents at opposite ends. The groom’s father sits to the right of the bride’s mother; the wedding officiant to her left. The groom’s mother sits to the right of the bride’s father, the wedding officiant’s spouse to his left. You may also arrange two parents’ tables, with the bride’s parents at one, while the groom’s mother and father head the other. In this arrangement, more friends and relatives may be given a seat of honor at these tables. Divorced parents should be seated at separate tables, among their own friends and family. The bride and groom should divide their time between their families. CUTTING THE CAKE The cutting of the wedding cake is a charming ritual, and the highlight of the reception. Guests are signaled by the best man tapping his glass, or by an announcement from the band. Using a special knife, the bride and groom cut the first slice. He offers her a bite, and she presents a piece for him to sample, symbolizing their willingness to share their lives. The rest of the cake is sliced by an at-
tendant and served as dessert. It’s an extra treat to have a groom’s cake — usually a chocolate cake — contrasting with the bride’s cake, which is usually white, although it comes in all colors and flavors nowadays. The groom’s cake may also be served for dessert, or packed in small boxes for guests to take home as a memento. WEDDING CAKES: A SLICE OF LIFE The wedding cake has long served as a symbol of fertility and good luck. The first piece is shared by the bride and groom as they cut the cake. Guests then partake of this tasty good luck charm, joining in the couple’s happiness. Start shopping for your cake about four months before the wedding if you can. Look at pictures or models of cakes, and compare quality and workmanship. Many bakers allow potential customers to sample cakes before ordering. What a delicious way to shop! Wedding cakes are traditionally composed of white or yellow layers, filled with custard or jam, then frosted in white. Current fashion allows for more unusual flavors, even a different flavor in every tier. Chocolate, banana, cherry, even carrot cake, are popular options. Liqueur-laced fillings add extra zip. A multi-colored cake is an elegant favorite — some cakes are even four, five, or more tiers! A modern wedding is not molded by tradition — flowers, ribbons, seashells and other imaginative shapes are often seen at receptions. Traditional cake-toppers include a bride and groom, but today’s toppers may include fresh flowers or the couple’s monogram. In addition to the wedding cake, you can have a groom’s cake. This cake sits on a separate table, and can be chocolate or the groom’s favorite flavor. The theme may depict his favorite hobby. Wedding folklore holds that an unmarried person who sleeps with a sliver of the groom’s cake under their pillow will dream of his or her future mate. Give your cake a place in the
spotlight, on its own table — perhaps in the center of the dance floor during the cutting ceremony. Guests love to watch the newlyweds cut it and take the first bite. It’s long been customary to freeze the top layer of the cake for your first wedding anniversary. Your bakery can give you tips on how to best wrap it for keeping. Or, many bakeries now offer to recreate a miniature version of the original cake for your oneyear celebration.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MARGARET ATKINSON, WWW.4HARPMUSIC.COM
After all guests have arrived, the line disperses. The bridal couple takes their place at the head table, if they have chosen to have one. Some couples elect to eliminate the receiving line, circulating with their guests throughout the reception instead.
DANCING If a reception features a buffet, the bride and groom may dance their first dance as soon as they’ve recovered from the rigors of the receiving line, or, if they are not having a receiving line, when they first enter. When a full meal is served, dancing usually begins after the last course is cleared. After the newlyweds begin the first dance, others may join in as follows: Second Couple The bride’s father cuts in and dances with his daughter. Third Couple The groom asks the mother of the bride to dance. Fourth Couple The groom’s father dances with the bride. Fifth Couple The father of the bride cuts in on the groom and dances with the bride’s mother. Sixth Couple The groom dances with his mother. www.brideandgroom.com
Dallas & Ft. Worth, TX.