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The Gracious Bride
The key to being a gracious bride is to be genuine, thoughtful and courteous if you can pull this off making sure you have a good time as well as everyone else the day should be memorable.
The mixture of personalities from crazy aunt Martha to your best friends new artist boyfriend and your husbands Architect boss make weddings difficult to pull off and wonderfully fun at the same time. So apart from turning into the 1950s hostess of charm how do you make it work.
Be yourself and don't struggle to impress people, a party can be simple or elaborate but its graciousness is clearly reflected through its genuineness. Think of all the little things that make everyone comfortable. Leave your favorite scented soap in the guest's room, a pitcher of lemonade and some home made cookies for the stressed out guest who has traveled miles to get to the venue. The more personal touches you add to the party the closer and more relaxed the guest will feel towards you, it will become more intimate rather than a formal affair.
Set out your favorite flowers around the venue, don't be afraid to lay out your local hometown recipies if you're from the south why not lay out some southern fried chicken and cornbread.
Incorporate humor into the day by being creative with your table names, why not seat all your girlfriends at the "sex and the city" table or your work colleagues at "The Office" table this can be an icebreaker for the guests sitting together. Another good idea is to use baby photos of yourself and the groom as seating cards with each guests name on the back this will remind the guest throughout the evening the name of the people they are sitting beside, lets face it that first introduction never sticks in your mind.
Making sure you are having a good time as well as your guests is a priority . It is difficult to look after all the guests and still have time to relax and enjoy the evening. This can be achieved by delegation. Ask your best friend and family members to help out with your concerns, why not ask your brother to look out for an elderly relative who will need assistance occasionally, your friend can assists with an out of town guest who will need help with directions.
To encourage mingling plan an activity. Mary Cleaver a New York caterer, who specializes in organic foods, tells of one wedding where a Polaroid camera was set up on a tripod so guests could take pictures of themselves and write something for the album. Or maybe do some funny characters of the gusts and have them as placement cards, which can double as favors this, can lighten the atmosphere and stimulate conversation. You can do some strategic seat planning and sit maybe an artist next to an accountant and so on to create diverse couples and spark conversation. It's important to mix the guests up a bit and to combine different families and different age groups.
Allow your self at least a week to arrange the seating plan, it's a good idea to make a seating chart comprising of large circles representing each table add pink and blue tags to easily distinguish between the male and female guests making sure they are evenly mixed throughout. These tags can have a few details about the guest on the back and the tags can be moved around each time you change your mind.
These seating arrangements should be carefully thought through between you and your fiancé to make sure everyone has the best possible seating partners and the dynamics of the area are correct setting for fun and a stimulating atmosphere.
You will need to consider if you are going to place husbands and wives at the same table, at sophisticated parties they are always seated separately and if you are going to keep the bridal party together or split them up. Use your own initiative on this one but don't be afraid to mix you want people to meet each other and for both families to integrate.
It is a good idea to set aside a lounging area separate to the dinning room, this will cater for older guests that will be retiring from the festivities slightly earlier, it will also give other guests a break from their table allowing them to chat to each other over tea or coffee and get away from the music for a while if desired. Make sure this area has plenty of comfortable couches and that the speakers are turned away from this direction.
The success of a great wedding comes from all the thought and detail that goes into it, from the small welcoming gifts, an efficient coat check, the quality of the food, the beauty of the room and flowers, to the lulling music but more importantly what will be remembered is the friendly atmosphere and warm welcome received from the bride and groom. It is the giving of yourself that makes a gracious bride.
About the Author
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