small reception restaurant

Dinner Celebration At A Restaurant After Wedding Ceremony

Small Wedding Reception At A Restaurant

Hello! My fiance and I are planning a small wedding with close family and friends. It will be a simple ceremony and dinner to follow at a restaurant. What are the liberties when having a dinner celebration? I.e. how do you plan for the dinner celebration?- since there isn’t dancing or a DJ.

My thoughts are having a toast and close families say something, but that is all I can think of. Is there anything else that can be done? Should I put a little itinerary together of the dinner celebration?

Any response is much appreciated,
Thank you!

Darlene Taylor, PBC
TaylorMade Weddings

Hi Tahira.

The first thing I ask a bride – do you have a vision? What would you like the dinner to be like? What traditions would you like to incorporate? Will you be in a private room for your dinner? Most restaurants have an area that they section off for private parties. I will assume this is the case as I move on.

To answer your first question, putting an itinerary together – an order of events – for your entire wedding day is VERY important. No matter how big or small, a wedding day needs to have some sort of guideline to keep everyone together and to have a goal of when you’d like to have things accomplished even though it doesn’t have to be followed to the letter.

Next, I’ve been thinking for a few moments about your post…Will you have a special cake made? I think a small 2 tier cake would be nice (if you’re into traditions) and you can have a mini cake cutting ceremony. You can have toasts during dinner…maybe spaced apart. One before dinner starts, another just before dessert. Or have them all just after dinner and before the cake cutting. I think it would be neat if, before the cake cutting, you could each do a video tribute to your respective parents in lieu of the traditional dances with the parents. Put together some pictures with some music in the background and your voice over would be very touching. You can still throw your bouquet when you leave the restaurant. You can just throw it to the crowd as you get in the car. How romantic is that?

I like to have something happening every so often at weddings to keep things interesting and lively…especially during dinner when there are awkward silences at times while people are waiting for their food. Don’t forget to mingle at the restaurant. Even with a smaller venue and smaller guest list, it’s still just as important to let everyone have a chance to talk with you and not just look at you from the other end of the room!

Hope these ideas inspire you!

Rebecca Black, Etiquette By Rebecca

Perfect advice! And, please remember that you are the host. So, your guests should not have to open their wallets once they arrive. 😉

Brandi Hamerstone,
Owner/Senior Wedding Planner All Events Planned

Great advice has been given. I will tell you that you definitely want something for your guests to do during your dinner, as to keep them active through that time and not end up bored. They will all be there to celebrate the biggest day of your lives, so they will appreciate also being a part of several memorable moments that you might share during that time. It is exciting for everyone involved! So, as the previous post mentioned, do some of the small things that would occur at a reception. Mini cake for cutting, special dances (if you can bring in an ipod or small sound system, some restaurants even have hookups for ipods for just these occasions) and toast or speeches.
I definitely agree with having a schedule available for everyone, that way they can be prepared for what is next, as opposed to getting ready to head out and miss something.

Good luck!