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Hawaiian wedding guide
Wedding reception themes to know

Booking the reception venue is one of the first things that you should do after announcing your engagement. There are many types of venue to choose from in a variety of settings, including barns, stately homes, baronial halls, hotels and restaurants. And of course if you have a large enough outdoor area at your disposal you can host your reception in a marquee. write Dream star Coordinator of Hawaii wedding guide

As you choose your venue you will need to consider what type of reception to have. You may want a formal sit-down meal, a buffet, drinks and canapés, a barbecue, or simply afternoon tea.

As many of your guests will travel considerable distances to be with you, it is important that you feed them properly. You may find that the number of guests that you invite to your wedding is reflected by the kind of reception that you are able to offer them.

The toastmaster

A toastmaster can be of great help, particularly at larger weddings, introducing the guests to the receiving line, announcing that dinner is served, calling for silence for the minister to say grace, and introducing the speeches and the cutting of the cake.

A professional toastmaster will be familiar with the necessary protocol for a formal occasion and with his projected voice he can get the attention of your guests quickly.

If you decide not to employ the services of a toastmaster, the role can be assumed by the best man.

The receiving line

A receiving line provides an opportunity for the bride and groom, the couple’s parents and the attendants to ensure that they have spoken to all of the guests, (albeit for just a few seconds!). Traditionally the receiving line is arranged as follows:


If your wedding is to be a less formal occasion, you and your partner may prefer to welcome the guests on your own.

The wedding breakfast

Having a seating plan can make life a lot easier for the guests and you may find it useful to be able to control who sits next to who.

Even if you are not having a formal meal make sure that there are enough chairs, so that all of your guests can sit down if they want to.

At a sit-down meal the members of the bridal party usually occupy a ‘top table’, and are customarily seated like this:

The top table

This seating arrangement can be altered if necessary, although it is usual to keep couples apart, with the exception of the bride and groom.

Speeches, Toasts and Cutting the Cake


Your guests will enjoy and remember the speeches if they are brief, concise and earnest.

* The first speech is usually made by the bride’s father, and he proposes a toast to the health of the bride and groom.
* Some brides like to make a speech at this point.
* The bridegroom responds to the toast made by his father-in-law and thanks the bride’s parents for organising the wedding. He thanks the guests for their gifts, before proposing a toast to the attendants.
* The final speech is made by the best man, who replies to the groom’s toast on behalf of the attendants. The best man may also read out cards, faxes and email messages, although this is sometimes left to the toastmaster.

It is at this point that the bridegroom leads his wife to the wedding cake, places his hand over hers and together they make the first cut of the cake. It is then taken away by the caterer to be sliced for the guests.

Some couples decide to cut the cake before the speeches so that the caterer has a bit more time.

It is customary to send a slice of the cake to those friends and relatives who were unable to attend the wedding. Specially designed boxes are available for this purpose.

Departure of the newly-weds

The bride and groom are usually the first to leave the reception, and their departure is announced by the best man. The bride turns her back on the assembled guests and tosses her bouquet over her head. Tradition has it that the girl that catches it will be next to marry.

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