We went to a lovely wedding yesterday. Steve's good friend Kellen got married at a beautiful venue in San Francisco.
What I love about Kellen is that she is really laid-back. She appreciates the beauty of simplicity. The little frills and details weren't going to be stressors for her - her priority was having a great time with her family, friends and husband.
There were a lot of things I LOVED about Kellen's wedding:
1. Family-style serving - It didn't matter how well you knew the people you were sitting at the table with, everyone was conversing within minutes of passing platters around the table. The catering staff had everyone eating within minutes, as they had only 5 platters to pass out to each table. The food was presented quickly and the style encouraged people to get to know one another. I loved it! We definitely want to do this at our wedding, with one change: we want to serve guests first. We don't feel the need to get food before everyone else. Instead, as we would at home, we want to serve our guests first, checking in at each table as they wait for their food. Brides and grooms typically don't eat much at the wedding anyway - they're too busy. We really want to create a sense of family during the meal, so the family-style serving and table serving order will help.
2. First Dance: Kellen and Andrew had their first dance immediately after the DJ introduced the wedding party. The DJ had all guests encircle the dance floor, and as soon as everyone had been introduced, the bride and groom stayed on the floor for the first dance. Not only that, towards the end of the song, the DJ had all guests (who were conveniently standing right there anyway) join in. It was really wonderful! As guests, we felt as though we were part of the first dance! I totally teared up.
3. Pre-ceremonial drinks: Steve and I are getting hitched at City Hall, but if we were having the ceremony right before the reception, I'd definitely open up the bar beforehand. The ceremony had all guests standing, but there wasn't a complainer in the group, as many guests stood drink in hand as the ceremony went on. It was very comfortable and enjoyable (although their amazing officiant had a bit to do with that as well).
4. Open Dessert Table: The dessert table, which was displayed from the very beginning, was open to guests whenever they felt so inclined. The desserts were these interesting donuts from Dynamo Donuts (in the Mission). It was easy, maintenance-free, informal and cute! There was no cutting of the cake, to waiting for the DJ to say it was okay to begin serving one's self... I loved it! It's exactly how I want our dessert table to roll out. Also, the donut table had take out boxes, eliminating the need for additional favors.
5. Centerpiece Quotes: Each table had the name of a place that was important to the couple. At the table, you could read quotes from the bride and groom about the place - how they felt about it, how often they went their, what the place symbolized for them... it was lovely. Not many people at the table read them, but for myself, it was charming.
6. Speeches: It was evident that Kellen and Andrew selected who was going to speak beforehand. There was none of that "let's open it up to the house and invite anyone who wants to speak" awkwardness. They had the usual suspects offer memorable moments - the maid-of-honor (who was her brother), best man, best friends and father. After those speeches ended, the happy couple were quick to end with an offering of thanks and invitation to dance.
So, with all these things in mind, I've compiled a loose schedule of events for our reception:
1. Guests arrive to open bar.
2. Wedding couple announced, first dance begins.
3. Couple greets guests (as a group), announces serving of meal.
4. As tables receive/wait for food platters, couple rotates offering individual greetings
5. Tables receive platters for family-style serving
6. As couple receives food, guests are encouraged to enjoy dessert
7. Speeches (and drinking), followed be thanks from couple
8. Dancing (and drinking)