Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

How would you make a formal reception the best-ever formal reception?

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Don't let the music be so loud that people can't hear each other to converse.  Don't hesitate to make the musicians turn the sound system down, or better yet, get some musicians who don't use electronic amplification.

Remember some people love to dance while others don't. Have a place that is comfortable to talk without the music over shadowing the entire room. Have a wide variety of food. Maybe something progressive where new things come out later in the night. Have a room large enough where moving around is easy.

The ideal party:

1. An open bar with good quality wine, and a variety of non-alcohol beverages, as well as tea and coffee

2. Lots of tables and chairs to put your drink on or rest in.  Remember some people will just sit the whole event and you need enough chairs considering this.

3. Lots of food, continuing throughout the night.  This should include some tables where food is laid out as sometimes the waitstaff just never reach you or if you're moving around you are never there at the same time.  Its nice to be able to get food when you want it.

4. Live music, with a good mix of modern and classic hits, and tempos, with a good dance space

5. An area away from the music where people can sit and converse without shouting

6. Numerous bathrooms

7. The hosts (and a few suitable ring ins if you have 150 guests) who know everyone/most people being responsible early in the evening to get conversation happening.  If Jon and Julie only know the hosts, its nice if someone is able to introduce them to some people, get conversation happening, and keep an eye out during the evening not for them per se, but taking responsibility for approaching them if they seem to be sitting in a corner alone to being them back into the party and introduce them to some new people.

I think venue is extremely important for a fancy thing. This includes:

*mood lighting and elegant decoration.

*Comfortable seating groups (doesn't have to be a room full of round tables since you're not serving a full meal).

*Easy access to food and drink (several bars and service tables so guests don't have to wait 20 minutes for a drink/stand in line for food.)

*A dimly lit garden walk with a fountain is always a plus for a romantic moment away from the crowd. ;D

*Oh, and a castle setting by the seaside is very important. >:D

I strongly believe that the ambience, such as the first three of the above, sets the mood for a very elegant, comfortable fancy thing. (Okay, I was getting carried away with the last two. Sigh.)

You really can set all of this up in your own back yard. A CW of mine even rented a wooden dance floor that was set up in her back yard for her & her DH's 60th bday party . . . Think of the elegance of the wedding party that was thrown in "Father of the Bride."

I went to a wedding reception where I, and everybody else, was dressed to the 9's. It was in a school gym. Bright lighting, paper table cloths, plastic cups, metal folding chairs, etc. While I still had a great time, simply because of the people that were there, it wasn't the best-ever formal reception that I've attended.

Also think about what is the purpose of the music?  To be center stage? To be background music?
I went to a reception-y thing with music but after chatting and eating and drinking we were supposed to sit down and listen to the musician.
I wasn't really there for that, I wanted to talk with my friends.

If it is background music, don't make it so loud you have to shout at people.


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