With a little imagination and daring, your reception will be one in a million!"¨"¨Tired of every wedding you go to being the same? Make yours stand out from the crowd by choosing an alternative to the traditional Saturday evening sit-down affair. A delightful range of wedding styles is available, and the day and time you choose is up to you."¨You may be enchanted by the idea of a morning wedding or prefer a venue that's available only for Sunday or midweek functions. And if your wedding must be organised sooner rather than later, don't worry - there are plenty of venue options available to you.
The wedding breakfast
The atmosphere and colours of a new day will add freshness and a gentle radiance to your celebration. From a sunrise celebration to a leisurely brunch, a morning reception lets you celebrate with family and friends in style.
If you're on a strict budget, or you want to invite lots of people to your celebration, a wedding breakfast is ideal. A morning repast requires:
- No main meals
- No large amounts of alcohol
- Less preparation if fresh, uncomplicated food choices are included in your menu (think croissants and brioche, smoked salmon, strawberries, delicious freshly ground coffee, crisp white linen and reams of fresh flowers.)
Take advantage of the time of day and throw open the doors of your venue to enjoy the light. Raise the sides of your marquee to let the breeze waft in, or enjoy the delightful sounds and scents of a bush setting in the early morning.
Theming ideas for your Morning Celebration:
- Colours should reflect and complement the bright morning atmosphere.
- Bright and elegant table setting with pretty pastel-coloured napkins or lay your tables with softly-coloured checked tablecloths.
- Add colour and a delicious aroma by including fresh fruit in your table and floral decorations.
- Tuck a sprig of aromatic lavender or a single fresh rose into each guest's napkin.
- Keep 'in theme' by laying tables with fine bone china and serve tea and coffee in delicate cups and saucers decorated with dainty flowers and fruits.
- Offer a choice of fresh fruit juices, sparkling water, Champagne or Bloody Marys. Serve a delicious non-alcoholic punch as an alternative to fruit juice.
Wedding breakfasts lend themselves perfectly to light and relaxed attire, with soft flowing materials and simple, comfortable fabrics. Go for a gown of understated elegance teamed with an elegant hat and fine strappy sandals. Carry a natural-stemmed bouquet of flowers - perhaps roses tied with a long flowing ribbon, or an arm spray bouquet consisting of long, elegant arum lilies or white tulips.
Sunday and midweek receptions
Booking a midweek or Sunday reception can be extremely cost effective, and choosing a day other than Saturday gives you a wider range of options. Many restaurants, hotels and function centres offer special packages for Sunday and midweek receptions, and some even offer special deals for the 'off season' winter months of June and July. If time is running out and you are marrying sooner rather than later, a Sunday or midweek date might be the only day available. Midweek receptions can also prove timely if booked to coincide with the arrival of interstate or overseas guests, or to fit in with lifestyle commitments.
Benefits of a Sunday lunch reception
- Often a relaxed affair - lending itself to a casual, leisurely luncheon. Often the rule states that the more casual an event the less expensive.
- It is unlikely you'll have to vacate the premises for an evening function to be set up (as would most certainly happen if you booked a Saturday reception).
- Guests won't be rushing around all day trying to juggle sporting commitments, grocery shopping and the general busy schedule of a Saturday, as well as attending your wedding.
- Availability of the various suppliers i.e. Hairdressers, make-up artists, florists, entertainers and celebrants.
- It's lovely to have a sunrise ceremony, but be sure you and your bridal party are prepared for a 3am start, as you'll need several hours to prepare your hair and make-up on the morning of your wedding.
Cocktail receptions are a popular choice for modern weddings and an elegant alternative to an expensive sit-down affair. With less formal restraints than other reception styles, a cocktail wedding is a wonderfully festive and relaxed celebration that allows the bride and groom to mingle with friends and family."¨"¨Benefits of a cocktail reception:
- You can invite more guests than for a sit-down meal
- You can take advantage of a variety of venue spaces such as smaller rooms adjoining larger ones, hallways and entrance foyers and outdoor areas like verandas, terraces and gardens.
- Your cocktail party no longer has to take place at the 'cocktail hour' but is equally suitable at any other time of day.
- A cocktail reception is just as suitable for a reception at a five-star hotel as it is on a yacht or in your garden.
- The food can be as formal or informal as you like and you have the flexibility to serve various styles and flavours. Food can be passed amongst your guests or served from designated areas and can include a few simple finger foods and cakes or a hearty, extravagant feast with more than a dozen choices.
- A cocktail party is the perfect opportunity to serve some exciting beverages as well as the usual selection of Champagne, wine, beer and soft drinks.
- When it comes to entertainment, roving musicians, jugglers, mime artists and even fire breathers can wander amongst your guests.
- Less of the traditional and formal constraints of reception etiquette are required so you and your guests will have lots of time for fun!
Evening receptions are becoming increasingly popular. A late afternoon wedding at 5.30pm followed by drinks at 7pm and dinner at 8pm allows more time between the ceremony and the reception. And by spacing out your ceremony and reception, you give guests time to enjoy cocktails in the city or the opportunity to go home, relax and change into party clothes before attending a supper dance reception later in the evening."¨If you plan to party into the early hours, sustain your guests with steaming bowls of fresh noodles or delicious platters of cheese, continental bread and fresh and dried fruit. You may even choose to welcome the sunrise on a beach with a glass of Champagne.
This concept allows guests to graze on food throughout the evening without the formality of set courses and seating. Casual seating is placed around the room so that guests can take a break from the fun.
A wedding in the cooler months means you can look forward to wearing gorgeous and decadent fabrics, flowing capes with fur and velvet trim and elegant accessories like sophisticated winter hats and muffs."¨Enjoy an intimate venue that offers the romance of log fires and deliciously warming red wines. Transform a marquee or venue into a winter wonderland. Add heating to your marquee and still enjoy fantastic water views, or hire plenty of outdoor pylon heaters to keep your guests cosy."¨The countryside offers a special atmosphere in winter, with mountains and valleys shrouded in mist. And the view of the ocean from a cosy waterfront restaurant adds a sense of drama and excitement to your day.
A wedding on a balmy summer evening certainly expands your venue options. In summer you have the opportunity to show off your tan and wear a gorgeous backless gown.
Summer Wedding ideas:
- Get married on the beach with the sunset in the background
- Consider a wedding picnic
- A wedding lunch on the water
- Treat your guests to a garden paradise celebration
- Reception under the stars - have your tables all outside under a summer's night sky - make sure you have a Plan B in case of rain!
While these options are available to couples in winter, it's the warm summer days that set the scene for fabulous photos and fill the air with a celebratory atmosphere.
Follow your heart when designing your wedding and reception and decide on the right venue, style and time of day for you. Look at the alternatives available and remember to enjoy researching and laying plans for the best day of your life.