Monday, September 19, 2011

Behind the Scenes on Wedding Day - Part III. "The Reception"

And so we came to the reception...much of which is honestly a blur in my mind. And no, there was no alcohol served!  I vaguely remember we ate lunch.  I remember visiting with some of our guests.  There were the traditional wedding activities.  I remember the young people (and occasionally the old people) dancing.  I've been told the appetizers were good and there was a nice ice cream sundae bar.  I will have to take people's word for this--I never laid eyes on either the appetizer spread or the sundae bar and there is not much of a photographic history of them, either.  I remember bubbles, and cupcakes and cakeballs - and they were just as we had hoped and planned for.

Something I do recall, and not too proudly, is what I have come to call "The Great Divide."  The bride and groom had organized what appeared to be (on paper) a wonderful seating chart, and the way they worked it out was that all the bride's family and friends were at tables on one side of the dance floor, and the groom's family and friends were on the opposite side.  On paper this makes sense...the two groups on each side of the room had at least something in common...they knew or were related to the bride or the groom, and perhaps had crossed paths before and were at least acquainted.  But the way things turned out, no one seemed very willing to cross over that dancefloor line very much at all to mix and mingle (including me).

My husband and I did try very hard to visit briefly with everyone on "our" side of the room, but we never got over to mingle much with the groom's friends and family, or vice versa. In hindsight, I should have at least made sure that some of our closest relatives (my sister, nephews, my in-laws, etc.) met the groom's immediate family. In that area, I felt like I failed as the Hostess of the Occasion.  

Then there was the generational "Great Divide" as well.  We did not have a receiving line at the ceremony or the reception, mostly because we felt it would take up too much time.  The couple had very limited availability at the reception because they needed to allow time to drive 5 to 6 hours to Galveston, where their honeymoon cruise ship was departing the next day.  I noticed that between the traditional reception activities (first dance, father/daughter and mother son dance, bouquet and garter toss, cake cutting, last dance, etc.) the bride and groom spent what was left of the afternoon visiting with their college-aged friends and hitting the dancefloor periodically.  They were not able to "work the room" to visit much with the older guests who remained at the tables.  Understandably so...the main object was for them to let their hair down and relax a little!  And I have to admit, I spent most of my time visiting with relatives and friends closer to my own age as well.

In hindsight, I'm thinking a receiving line is not such a bad idea -- that way everyone at least gets to greet the bride, groom, and immediate families if they so choose!

Putting on my Hostess of the Occasion hat again, I had to run a bit of interference, because the wedding coordinator and the DJ were not seeing eye-to-eye on the order of events. The DJ, Johnny Bradshaw of Central Texas Talent, had an awesome "radio" speaking voice and made a good master of ceremonies. But, I think he was disappointed that because it was so early in the afternoon, and alcohol was limited to those few guests who had purchased and brought drinks in from the hotel bar, there was not much action on the dancefloor until the reception was almost over.  He actually made a comment to the crowd about this, something to the effect of, "I'm not sure what to do with a sober crowd!"  This met with mixed reactions, to put it mildly.

He also felt the Wedding Coordinator let the toasts and activities take up too much time, when actually she was just adjusting to the wishes and schedule of the bride and groom. The Coordinator got a bit defensive, but I assured her that I knew and agreed exactly where she was coming from.  But, I also assured the DJ that everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time, so he shouldn't fret so much about the lack of dancing! 

Overall, I have to say the reception went well and we got good feedback from guests.  As I mentioned we had the fun traditional wedding activities, including an "anniversary dance" which got some of the older couples out on the dance floor.  The groomsmen even spontaneously did the Jewish thing of lifting the groom up in a chair. We did the "Chicken-Dance" and the guests loved it -- (a polka nod to the groom's family who are from New Braunfels - the German Hill Country of Texas.) Thanks to my dear husband, the slideshow worked. The bubble favors, cupcakes, cakeballs, and ice cream sundae bar were all hits. Judging by the leftover cupcakes, everyone was well-fed, and when the DJ started to play some good dance music like "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga, the guests finally started dancing, and the young people especially seemed to be having a good time.

All too soon, the afternoon was over and the bride and groom had their last dance, the guests opened the bubble tube favors to fill the air with cascading bubbles, and the happy couple departed in the white limo. It's comforting to know that in the long run, no one knew about or noticed the mishaps that were happening, and everyone really seemed to enjoy the day, from the feedback we heard. Especially the bride and groom! (The ones that count the most!) 

Here is a Memory Board from the reception:

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