Author Topic: How would you make a formal reception the best-ever formal reception?  (Read 2090 times)

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lellah

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I'm planning a thing.  A fancy thing.  Passed appetizers, desserts, drinks, decorations, music for around 150 people.  I also have a dream that everyone there will have the best time possible.  Can you, dear ehellions, tell me what makes you party at a party? 

What do you like to eat or drink or dance to or take home in your handbag?

something.new.every.day

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Who are your guests? That makes a bit of difference (old/young/people who know each other well already/a big group of strangers).

For me--- red wine, vegetarian food options, dance music from this decade, a place to sit where I can talk to my friends away from said dance music (and being seated near my friends).

I usually prefer casual over formal, though. 

Oh, and if you have a long event, make sure folks are taken care of throughout. For instance, if you serve food early but want folks to dance all night, maybe do "midnight snacks" later in the evening. 

ETA: And as they say in real estate, location, location, location. If I'm partying, I need to be able to take a cab home or stay in a hotel.  We have friends who try to host stuff at their place in the suburbs and no one wants to deal with it. 

« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 06:08:58 PM by something.new.every.day »

*inviteseller

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Know your audience as far as decor and entertainment.  Make sure there is a food for a variety of tastes (vegan, vegetarian, carnivore,  gluten free), keep it simple..don't go overboard with the bells and whistles but more of an intimate type setting so people feel comfortable socializing.  And I agree with location.

Sharnita

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Who are your guests? That makes a bit of difference (old/young/people who know each other well already/a big group of strangers).

For me--- red wine, vegetarian food options, dance music from this decade, a place to sit where I can talk to my friends away from said dance music (and being seated near my friends).I usually prefer casual over formal, though. 

Oh, and if you have a long event, make sure folks are taken care of throughout. For instance, if you serve food early but want folks to dance all night, maybe do "midnight snacks" later in the evening.  ETA: And as they say in real estate, location, location, location. If I'm partying, I need to be able to take a cab home or stay in a hotel.  We have friends who try to host stuff at their place in the suburbs and no one wants to deal with it.

The bolded for sure.  I would add - some non-alcoholic options, some meat, some meat, some sweet, some savory. Music that is fun but not offensive.

Library Dragon

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Ensure that everyone has equal access to the food.  I've been to events where food comes out and is passed around those closest to the doors and the people on the other side of the room don't get anything but leftovers.  Those wonderful shrimp?  Sorry, only the people on side A had them and they had no incentive to move.  :'(

Make sure the food really is bite size.  I attended one party where the stuffed mushrooms were the size of bread plates.  Not easy to eat standing up.

I am pretty catholic in my food tastes, so as long as its done well I'm happy.


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doodlemor

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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.

Hmmmmm

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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.

katycoo

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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.

jpcher

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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.




bopper

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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.

WillyNilly

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Re: How would you make a formal reception the best-ever formal reception?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2013, 05:46:54 PM »
Enough seating for everyone. even if its a stand & mingle party, people like having a "home base".

Parties are not the time to show off your varied and eclectic musical tastes - music should be recognizable.

Enough food and a variety (some vegetarian, some no dairy, some very simple basic/not fancy complicated).

Clean, well stocked and accessible restrooms. And enough of them.

Soft lighting.

A close by but non-intrusive place for smokers. Nothing is worse then when half your party leaves to go have a smoke and they are gone for half an hour because the only place they can smoke is a 5 minute walk, or a flight of stairs away. Having somewhere near-by outdoors (but not right at a door non-smokers have to walk through) is best.

Open bar. Even if its very limited in what is offered. There is nothing "best" or IMO even "formal" about making guests pay for their own hospitality.


A good thing to remember when planning is think of the five senses. Does the room smell nice (like flowers, or food)? Does the room sound nice (music or nature)? Does the food taste good? Are the chairs comfortable, the napkins soft, and floor flat and easy to walk on (feel)? Does the room look good (easy to walk through, pretty, softly lit)?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 05:49:37 PM by WillyNilly »

wolfie

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Re: How would you make a formal reception the best-ever formal reception?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2013, 05:53:15 PM »
With 150 people there is no way that every single person will think it is the  best ever reception. I would do things to make sure the majority of the people are happy.

AvidReader

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Re: How would you make a formal reception the best-ever formal reception?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2013, 06:02:42 PM »
We still talk about a wedding reception we went to four years ago.  The HC let it be known that they were all about the music and dancing.  The table service dinner was simple fare (who remembers the dinner anyway?) in a country club reception room, the wedding cake was a sheet cake ordered from a grocery story bakery  (I am not making this up) that the MOB picked up on the way from the church, but the band...holy cow!  They played covers for all the golden oldies going back to the sixties.  The dance floor was packed all night long.  If your music selection is a DJ rather than a band, you can't go wrong with golden oldies that get everyone on their feet but at a volume that allows dancing while others can be seated and chatting. 

TootsNYC

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Re: How would you make a formal reception the best-ever formal reception?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2013, 06:58:32 PM »
With 150 people there is no way that every single person will think it is the  best ever reception. I would do things to make sure the majority of the people are happy.

This. And I would also take the pressure off yourself a bit.

That said--the parties that I've most enjoyed have been the ones where I got to TALK TO a lot of people.

I had a couple of Christmas parties that everyone thoroughly enjoyed, partly because they all got introduced to one another.

There was close-together seating, a couple of different rooms to move around in, with activities (decorating cookies to then eat) and food in different places so people *had* to get up and go places now and then.

But it wasn't formal.

I think it's hard to have "the best time ever!" in a formal setting, to be honest.

Mikayla

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Re: How would you make a formal reception the best-ever formal reception?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2013, 12:03:54 PM »
The only thing I can add is just a personal preference, but for an event like this, I'm all about the savory over the sweet.  I'm a red wine drinker, and the idea of noshing on cookies and cake makes my teeth bleed.

Not sure how mainstream this is.