Formula for Successful Wedding Party
A wedding in the family, especially if it is the first, is such an important event that parents are inclined to forget the limits of their finances and to give the bride the kind of wedding she has always dreamed about. If she (or her mother) has decided upon a large formal wedding with a reception afterward for many guests, a caterer should be employed. Tables and chairs, dishes, linen and silver, as well as food and service and sometimes even table decorations will be supplied for a previously set fee. Champagne or the wedding punch may also be part of the caterer's responsibilities, or they may be the contribution of the father of the bride.
In general, the trend toward informality has extended to wedding parties. We no longer expect elaborate "collations" to follow an afternoon or evening wedding. The items served will be very little different from those offered at a cocktail party, except that champagne or a punch will usually replace the cocktails. It should be offered as soon as guests arrive. In addition, there will, of course, be a wedding cake which the bride with the aid of the groom will make a ceremony of cutting. A large cake of this type decorated appropriately will usually be purchased even when the sandwiches and canapes are prepared in the home kitchen. A groom's cake of the dark fruit cake type is seldom served nowadays.
Instead, small boxes of fruit cake may be furnished for guests to take with them "to dream on." It should be cut, boxed and tied a few days before the ceremony. If the group is not too large and if there is extra help in the kitchen, a simple buffet supper may be served. In this case, there may be a large table for the bridal party and arrangements for serving them, while the other guests will help themselves from the buffet.
When the wedding is at noon or late afternoon, either a buffet or a "sit down" meal may be offered. For the latter, there must be space for the arrangement of tables, with place settings of napkins and silver. For either type of service, unless the caterer is employed, the hostess must make certain that she has on hand enough silver and china. Neighbors will be delighted when called upon to supplement the home supply, if this is necessary.
The formula for a successful wedding party includes careful planning ahead of time, with consideration of the facilities the particular home offers and with regard to the expenditure that can be made. Extra assistance for service is more important than for any other type of entertaining, as the hostess should not be harried with supervision of this sort in addition to the many other demands that are bound to occur when a daughter marries.
Pre-wedding festivities may include a luncheon for the bridesmaids given by the bride's mother or by a friend. If a wedding reception or breakfast is planned to take place at a club or hotel, a dinner or buffet supper for the bridal party may be planned at home to take place after the church rehearsal. The menus suggested in the chapters for "Buffet Suppers and Luncheons" and "Small Dinner Parties and Luncheons" will be appropriate for these. If the groom plans an ushers' dinner or supper, the suggestions for the arrangements of "Stag Parties" may be followed.
Other pre-wedding festivities will be planned for earlier dates. The announcement of the engagement may take place at a luncheon given by the bride's mother or by a close friend. For this, the menus suggested for "Small Dinner Parties and Luncheons" will, of course, be suitable.
For the numerous shower parties, either the afternoon or evening may be chosen. Guests may be asked to drop in for tea or cocktails, or for coffee and dessert, after which the shower gifts will be opened. Instead, packages may be unwrapped soon after the guests arrive and afternoon or evening snacks served later. Sometimes, guests will be asked for the evening and late refreshments will take the form of ice cream and cake. The latter may be a decorated miniature wedding cake carrying favors that will indicate the future of the recipient: a ring for the next bride-to-be, a piece of money for the financially successful, and a button for the spinster or bachelor. During the evening, a wine punch or wine and seltzer in which to drink the health of the bride-to-be may be offered.
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