cocktail-hour-tango-weddingsWhen I began my career, so much about weddings were different.  The bride and groom were usually sequestered in a room, not able to be seen until the beginning of the reception.  Once in the reception, they just walked around, talked to friends and family, collected envelopes and generally didn’t have much fun.  But how times have changed.  With the exception of one or two a year, most couples are joining in the fun of their cocktail hour, the purpose of which is to create anticipation of the celebration that is to follow.  And if you get to visit with most of your guests during the cocktail hour, you won’t necessarily feel the obligation to visit their tables during the reception.  But you need to move through the pre-function room with grace and agility to avoid spending too much time with one person, in order to be able to see everyone equally.  During our meetings, I usually advise my brides and grooms to do; what I have humorously named “The Cocktail Hour Tango”

  1. You must stick together as you greet your guests.  If you get divided, then you are conquered,  and may tend to spend five or ten minutes with people which eats up your time.  A loving tug or head flick will signal the other that it’s time to move on.3-steps-cocktail-hour-tango
  2. The tango consists of three steps;  (kiss-kiss)…(“Thanks for coming”)…(“we’ll talk more later”).  Then move on.  You can change the middle comment to (“it’s great to see you”), or (“you look great”) or (“please save a dance for me”), but it will allow you to end the conversation quickly and move to the next family member or friend.
  3. I have observed that people seem to ask the same questions…”Can I see your rings?” / “Where did you get your dress?” / “Were you nervous?” / “Where are you going on your honeymoon?” / “Where are you going to live?” / and the dreaded…”When are you going to have a baby?”.  Most people will understand your desire to see everyone and not be put off if you greet them and move on.
  4. Make no mistake, I am not and never will advocate for being rude to the friends and family that all came to help celebrate your wedding.  And there may be some more traditional guests like grandparents or elderly aunts that would expect a table visit during the reception.  However through the years I have seen the couples evolve into ones that want to be interactive and be a part of their reception and enjoy it.  The time goes so fast and my goal has always been to have my brides and grooms love their wedding and have the fondest memories and the best times.
  5. You should also make it clear to your maître ‘d about your expectations of service during cocktail hour.  If you want to be left alone to visit with your friends and family and let them get drinks and food for you that is fine.  But there should be a server assigned to take care of you and can supply you with periodic drinks and plates of food upon request, without being too intrusive.
  6. The best news is that if you find yourselves making it through the entire guest list, then you will be free to do what you want with the people you choose.


Eat, Drink and be Merry…Your Way!



Find out more on how you can start planning your dream wedding with Clarks Landing! Click here  or Call us for a free tour at 732-899-5559


We’d love to hear from you!

If you were a bride or couple who has advice on making sure you see everyone but still enjoy your own reception,  for future brides and grooms we’d love to hear from you. Just comment below! 


floor-plan-follies-clarks-landing-wedding-venue-njA key ingredient to the success of your wedding is the wedding reception floorplan, or, where your friends and family are sitting.  There have been a few snafus of late, so I thought I could shed some light on this stressful, but not impossible subject. So here are some things to think about when you are planning your wedding floorpan.

1. Your guest list, the venue floor plan, and your escort cards must all be the same.  This is up to you, or your wedding planner, or in some cases the parents; but it is essential.

Your Guest List – If you number the invitation responses before you send them out, then you will know who did not respond OR who responded without filling out the response card.  Also if someone responded with a guest or their children and they weren’t invited, then someone has to make the sometimes awkward call to notify them, that unfortunately your budget did not allow for guests and/or children.

The Venue Floor Plan – We use a great program called  “”  to create your event, invite you to it, and then you can download your guest list to  “ drop and click” to make your tables.  You should always follow the venues format for size of tables, location of tables, and any forms that need to be filled out.  We are all trying to make your wedding a magical, stress-free day; but I need the tools to do it.

 Your Escort Cards or Escort Board – in either case, they should be in alphabetical order.  Everyone looks for their name, but no one will look for their table, obviously because they don’t know where they are sitting.  Individual cards should have the name of the invited guest on the top line, and the table number below it.  Fonts should be large, bold and easy to read.

2. Every venue has its own policies about seating, floor plans and room set up.  If you trust your venue, then understand that they have been through this hundreds of times and know their space the best.  Don’t change table numbers, move tables around, assign too many people to a table, without clearing it with your venue.

3. Check before you provide table numbers.  You may have 15 tables, but that doesn’t mean that they will be sequential at the venue.  A big part of our service is that we always know where each table is, and the numbers don’t change.

4. At some point there WILL be changes…people drop out for various reasons, family who couldn’t come originally, plans change and they can now attend.  Communicate frequently with your wedding planner or venue to keep them up to date.  It astounds me how many people bother the couple with their personal problems just days before the wedding.  At some point you will need to let it go and don’t worry about less people at a table if someone cancels.  I feel so bad for brides that walk in the day of their wedding with place cards, hastily written, for last minute adjustments.

5. If you are savvy with technology…great.  But if you are a tactile person, that has to see and touch things, you can get piece of poster paper and draw squares on it.  As your responses come back, write the name in a square with pencil.  As responses come in, you will begin to see the tables forming themselves as you write names of people that are related, or that will naturally sit together.  When a square reaches the maximum you want or allowed by the venue, then start a new square.  Don’t even look at the floorplan until all your squares are filled with all the people on your guest list. Then assign a table number to the square.

You can always avoid the Floor Plan Follies with a little time and effort.

Happy Planning!



Find out more on how you can start planning your dream wedding with Clarks Landing! Click here  or Call us for a free tour at 732-899-5559


We’d love to hear from you!

If you were a bride or couple who has advice on your seat planning for future brides and grooms we’d love to hear from you. Just comment below! 


oh-say-can-you-etsySites like Pinterest uthornd Etsy have opened up a new world for couples that want to personalize their weddings.  Every type of favor or knick knack can be personalized and monogrammed to suit your theme and the sky is the limit for do-it-yourselfers and your imagination.  But there’s a caveat that comes with so many extra details to be taken care of, and that is to not let the extra details and their execution get in the way of the basics that your vendors need to make your wedding run smoothly.

I have received actual pictures with measurements and placements of pictures, sign in books, signs, etc. only to find that the floor plan was different from the guest list, which was different from the seating cards.  Lack of song lists and picture lists hamper the dee jay and photographer to know what you want and results in last minute scrambling or leaving important decisions up to us.

Most top notch venues and vendors will provide you with tools to help us make your wedding run right and they are as important to your wedding as where to place favors, or pictures, or monogrammed coat hangers, to name a few things.  We all want your wedding to be the day you dreamed of that’s stress-free and enjoyable for your friends and family, but most important assuring that our couples are happy too.

If the details are beginning to make you feel like you are under the wave, it may be time to hire a wedding planner, or confide in your venue that you need help.  That’s what we are here for.


Happy Planning!


Find out more on how you can start planning your weekday dream wedding with Clarks Landing! Click here  or Call us for a free tour at 732-899-5559


We’d love to hear from you!

If you were a bride or couple who chose to use ideas from Pinterest or Etsy we’d love to hear from you. Just comment below!