Wedding guide – selecting wedding presents
The wedding reception usually starts after the wedding ceremony in late afternoon or in early evening hours, therefore it is very important to take care about timing. It would be ideal that guests arrive to the reception in the moment when aperitifs are served, so they are not going to wait too long and become unnecessarily nervous. The reception should not be distant more than half an hour by car from the place where the wedding ceremony took place.
- Classical or modern
The most important information on the base of which you are going to plan the reception is, of course, the guest list – because according to the number of guests you are going to choose the location and the way how you are going to use and enrich the space at your disposal. Do not forget that a well planned and organised wedding reception will be remembered forever, and not only are you going to remember it but also all your guests will. This is going to be the most beautiful memory for the beginning of your life together. In the moment when guests enter the space where your wedding reception is taking place, what impresses them most is the arrangement of the room and of the tables. The harmony of colours, interesting details and the ambience overall which is filling the room is not going to be unnoticed. In the same way as wedding dress can be traditional or modern, the way how the plates are laid, the shape of glasses and arrangements of napkins can be classical or modern.
- Classical Table Arrangement
If you like a classical glamour, which nonetheless has a modern touch, you can colour your wedding reception in spirit of the beginning of the 20th century. Subtlety and service, not exaggeration or overloading of the table distinguishes top restaurants, which are offering cuisine you can really enjoy. On a classically arranged table there are large decorative silver under-plates and on top of it there is a flat porcelain plate. At the start of a classical meal the cold appetisers are brought in on flat plates. After the plates are removed the hot appetisers are brought in on larger plates. Afterwards follows the soup, which is served in deep plates. The main dish, meet or fish with side dish is served on big flat plates. Together with the main dish on the left from the plate salad is served in salad bowl. On the small plate on the left side of the silver plate you can find tasty black pastry. Condiments on the table like pepper or salt are kept in crystal bottles decorated with silver details. After the main dish, the service is removed and only the large silver under-plates remain and the deserts are served on desert plates or you can have fruit served in separate bowls. At midnight the wedding cake is brought in front of the newly weds. Newly weds cut the first slice of the cake together. Guests receive slices of the cake on desert plates, then champagne glasses and champagne are brought in. In our tradition there is one more dish which is served late at night to the tables of guests, and this is the wine soup. For this dish separate plates are brought in. With regard to the fact that our tradition includes many different appetizers and dishes, smaller exceptions in this sequence are always allowed.
Cutlery needs to be placed according to the order in which the dishes will arrive to the table. An important rule: Always start with the set of cutlery which is placed on the outer side and continue with the one next to it towards the plate. Next to the plate on the right side (from outside in) first is the knife for the appetiser, then the spoon followed by the knife for the main dish. Next to the plate on the left side (from outside in) first is the fork for the appetiser, then the fork for the main dish; meat or fish. Above the plate there is a desert spoon.
From the upper right side of the plate there should be different glasses for drinks which will be served: a glass for white wine, a glass for red wine, and a glass for water. An important rule: Always hold the glass by the stalk and under no circumstances by the cup itself, because in this way the glass is heating up and the temperature is raising so the wine looses taste.
On a nicely arranged table put the menu so your guests can know what they will have for the luncheon or dinner. Prepare the menu in the form of a book with the front page in colour of your table arrangements and according to the other details on the table. On the left side write where, when and in whose honour the dinner is served, and on the right side write the order in which the dishes will be served. This is a small thing which will please your guests.
- What’s for Dinner?
For a luncheon served on tables, with no regard whether it is lunch or dinner it is necessary to prepare two appetisers, and as a main dish – meat or fish – together with a lot of inventively arranged vegetables as a side dish. In this way you will avoid possible inconveniences if somebody of your guests is a vegetarian, and you did not have enough time to check it upfront. And for the end do not prepare too many sweets just offer ice-cream, fruit salad or foamy low-caloric cakes. Let her majesty the Wedding Cake be the only “sweet” star of the evening, and later with coffee you can offer small biscuits or sweet nuts. And here we offer you a suggestion for a possible wedding menu: When they arrive guests are drinking welcome champagne/cocktails and after they “warm up” with home made specialties like the Dalmatian smoked ham or pršut, cheese from Pag, octopus salad and Slavonian kulen on their tables arrives the ox tail soup with meat and mushroom noodles. Those who like lighter food will be delighted with sea fruit risotto, while the meet ‘fans’ would enjoy in veal turnedo and turkey rolls. At midnight you are going to delight everybody with a fantastic cake and for refreshment in early morning hours you can serve a wine soup.
The safest way to deal with this issue is to ask an expert sommelier which will choose adequate wine for each meal appearing on the wedding luncheon or dinner. As a rule of a thumb the sequence should be the following: first to drink is dry champagne which is discretely opening the way to heavier wines. Afterwards a light white wine should follow, which is then replaced by seasoned, heavier wines of full bouquet, and then by red wines. As start, this can be rose or another lighter red wine, followed by medium aged wine and then by archive and very heavy red wines which will satisfy even the most demanding palate. And in the end you can offer some of the Muscat, sweet, desert wines.
- Children Menu
If there will also be some children on the reception it is necessary to arrange upfront some smaller menus, with quantity and quality corresponding their age. A sophisticated reception or luncheon is not the ideal solution if among guests there are a lot of children. The best thing to do is to place children under 12 years next to their parents, while for teenagers it is not a bad idea to get a separate table or to separate some space only for them. A special sign of care from the bride for the smallest children would be to organise some entertainment especially for them, like a clown or a professional entertainer for kids which would play with them during luncheon pauses.
- Thematic Surprises
Newly weds can decide to surprise their guests by a thematic menu which is specific for a certain place or a town which in their hearts has a special place – it can be the place of birth of one of them, a town where they met or where they spent a romantic holiday. Still it is good to know that in case you are going for ethno-traditional menu this requires meticulous organisation and the selection of the chef which the couple trusts completely. Besides that, the menu should be matched with the overall atmosphere of the ceremony – from the clothes to the flower arrangements, down to the traditional decorations and everything else which will make this occasion unforgettable.
- Table Arrangement
In the wedding agency prepare a special panel with the arrangement of tables which you will put on the entry in the hall. On the panel write down table numbers and names of guests sitting at the table, so before they enter the room they could read at which table they are sitting. It will be interesting for them to find out their table and to see with who they are sitting with. The seats reserved for the most important people of that day – the young couple, best men, parents of the newly weds – should follow the rules agreed in advance. Other guests should be placed so that they find themselves in a good and interesting circle of people with common interests following the order men-women-men. Traditional organisation of tables on a wedding ceremony is in the square or in the “U” form. Round tables can be arranged for six and up to twelve people. The biggest table of honour is for the newly weds, best man and their parents. Other tables are for the guests as planed, divided by age and by interests.
- Wedding Table Flowers
If the wedding ceremony is taking place in spring everything should be in pink and in green colours. In the middle of the round table in the porcelain bowl prepare a big, round bouquet of roses, lysiantus and hydrangea in fresh spring-like pink, green and gently yellow colours.
- Flower Details
From the same flowers in small round porcelain bowls prepare the bouquets which you will arrange in the hall together with candles in a similar tone. In this way with additional details and candle light you will get a splendid but also very intimate atmosphere. Table clothes and napkins should be white or pastel green which will nicely match with silver and with a glowingly coloured bordered porcelain plates.
- Role Game
Rules of etiquette define roles of each of the main protagonists during the wedding ceremony and especially during the wedding reception. During the evening newly weds meet their guests, receive toasts, cut the cake and at midnight after cutting the cake give small presents to their guests. The father of the bride remains till the end of the reception; he is speaking with the main waiter and in the end of the evening he is paying everything. The mother of the bride has the role of the hostess, so she is the first to receive the guests and she is involved in meeting of two families. The mother of the bride remains till the very end of the reception to whish farewell, and to thank even the last guest. If the bride does not have or has only one parent, the first closest person is substituting him or her. Before the wedding luncheon starts, the mother of the bride, or if she does not have a mother then a person which is very close to the bride, should go around all the tables and check whether everybody has found its place, and to make sure that all the guests met each other and that they are in good company. When all guests have taken their position and after the bride’s mother has checked all the entrances, newly weds enter the hall accompanied by tones of light welcoming music along with the applause of guests. Best men are waiting for them at the table, and the best man is raising the first toast as he stands up. The unnecessary monologues should be avoided and the speech should be limited to few appropriate words from heart, and the wedding dinner can begin. At midnight in the moment when the toast is made, which is like a ‘wish you well’ for the newly weds, the guests stand up and there is a custom that the best men has to say something in honour of newly weds.