Reception Part One: Let’s Eat

Now that you and the man of your dreams have exchanged I do’s, and sealed your forever with a kiss, it’s time to celebrate your magical union with food, laughter, and plenty of pictures. The reception is the perfect time for your friends and family to mix and mingle while eating delicious food, all while honoring your newly wedded bliss. But before the guests can rejoice in your new last name, take selfies, and dine, you and your fiancé spend months perfecting the wedding menu.

When to start planning

Bold American Events Executive Chef Todd Annis suggests planning two to three months before the big day. “Once they [brides and grooms] get the style of food and the scene and whatever else they are trying to get and check on pricing, the last four weeks is when you pick a caterer and sample taste,” says Annis.  However, before you and your fiancé start planning your meal and deciding whether to serve chicken or beef, first check to see if the venue you selected allows outside catering. Certain venues already have their own catering staff when it comes to weddings, and you don’t want to spend months taste tasting only to be surprised to learn that your preferred caterer won’t be able serve the roasted pork you love.

Picking the food can be stressful and time consuming and your guest won’t know you spent hours deciding whether to serve mashed potatoes or green beans. But if you and your fiancé are indecisive, emulating a favorite restaurant menu for your wedding menu cuts the stress in half. Annis says if brides and grooms are customizing their menu it’s helpful if they frequent a restaurant, to give a copy of the menu to the chef and they can research and create a similar style and flavor profile.

 Once you select the scrumptious meal your guest will fall in love with, include a checkbox of any food allergies on your save the dates for your guests. You are creating the menu of your dreams, and don’t want to worry if there will be “hangry” guest the day of your wedding. 

Main Course                                                                                                            

Presentation is key, therefore you want your food to represent your style as well. Bold American Events, whose menu is a Southern food lovers dream, offers three ways to serve food: seat and served, buffet, or stations. If you love a formal reception that’s similar to fine dining, opt for the seat and serve. If you love the idea of your guests choosing themselves, buffet style is recommended. Love experimenting? Stations are ideal. “When it is plated there is more controlling the amount of food; it’s what you get in front of you,” says Annis. “Compared to a buffet or station where guests can pick what they want.”

Stations are becoming more popular and it’s amusing to see the endless possibilities your guests will create: sushi, mashed potatoes, pizza can now be served at one wedding. “Stations are great because the food quality is better because it’s being made right there and you get more variety,” says Annis. “People tend to enjoy stations more because they can mix and mingle rather than sitting down at a table; it’s better guest experience that way.”

Photo credit is Jack Prada


Serving alcohol can be expensive and is a staple on the wedding menu. If you have a large budget open bars are always a hit, however, if you’re budget-conscious check to see if the venue permits bring your own bottle (BYOB). BYOB is an inexpensive option that allows guests to choose freely, with the feel of an open bar. And now thanks to Pinterest you can create your own concoction for the perfect sip—signature drinks. If and your groom love tequila, serve a margarita with a special twist. The guest will get a kick knowing they are sipping the same cocktail you and your husband love. Signature drinks are also an added personal bonus.


Last but certainly everyone’s favorite— dessert. The traditional, lavishly decorated cake is always the center piece and the most photographed item at the reception—besides the bride and groom. But guests will love the inventive presentation of a smorgasbord of tasty treats: mini ice cream sandwiches, cupcakes, single serve mini pies, s’mores bar.

Photo credit is Jack Prada

Photo credit is Jack Prada

The tasty options served are limitless, but the lasting impression of the joyful reception is forever.

Happy Engagement, Happy Planning


Vendor Information| Bold American Events|


Take Your Seat

Seating Assignments & Arrangements



A woman’s wedding day is without a doubt the most special and memorable event of her life; however, that event does not come without a few bumps along the road. There are so many aspects of planning a wedding that are positively exciting, from taste testing to gown shopping, but one of the most dreaded tasks is seating assignments and arrangements. It is difficult to foresee how individuals will interact with one another at their prospective tables at the wedding but there are many different ways to handle the seating arrangements in order to minimize your stress.

Staying organized should be your top priority. Living in a digital world comes in handy when wedding planning. For your seating arrangements it is suggested to create an Excel sheet. You can begin by making a full guest list of everyone you intend to invite; doing this makes it easier to remove people in the future. Using that same list, you can categorize your guests, for example: bride’s family, groom’s family, bridal party, and friends. By separating everyone into groups, assigning guests to a specific table will be easier.

Now, let’s talk about the actual table assignments. One important aspect to take into consideration is the amount of seats each table will have available. A typical round table, which is 60 inches, without chargers will seat ten guests and with chargers will seat eight guests. Using your Excel sheet, begin placing your immediate family members at the tables closest to the bride and groom. Afterward, begin arranging the rest of your guests listed under the bride and groom section of the excel sheet.

Once your family is placed, move on to your bridal party. Many couples will create a head table for their bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as their significant others, pending on the amount of space available. Since the head table is usually in the center of the room or it lines the dance floor, it should stand out.  You can do this with larger arrangements and candles cascading down the center. Creating name cards will eliminate any confusion regarding seating. The bride and groom should sit at the head table with the bridal party; the best man should sit next to the groom while the maid of honor sits next to the bride or the bride and groom can have their own intimate table. The final seating arrangements are for the rest of your friends. Before deciding which tables to seat them at it is easier to further categorize them. Place guests with individuals they may know or based on similar interests.

Now that all of your guests have been placed in groups, create a table layout. Often times your venue or planner will create a floor layout for you.  If you want to create a mock layout, you can do this through Word. In Word, use whichever shape is closest in similarity to the shape of your tables.  This feature can be found under the “Insert” tab, followed by the “Shapes” tab. Once you have created a mock version of your tables, you can see where you would like to place your groups.

Here is an example of a table chart that was created through Word.

Once you have finalized your tables and seating arrangements, create a seating list for your “Day Of” planner and venue.  This is used on the wedding day during the reception set-up as well as during the reception in case of any confusion.

Below is an example of the seating assignments, by table, that you would also supply to your “Day Of” planner and wedding venue.   

Lastly, you should provide an alphabetized list, as well as guests table number, for your "Day Of" coordinator, incase the guest can not find their tent card or their name listed on the seating chart.  This also comes in handy if you have any last minute guests that decide to attend.  


Rebecca Niccole