FUN WEDDING TIPS FROM AN EXPERIENCED PHILADELPHIA CATERER
By Stu Leventhal (Philadelphia Restaurant Consultant)
It is your Special Day and you want everything to be perfect and everyone to have a great time. Meridith’s Catering Philadelphia has been catering weddings in Philly Pennsylvania for over eleven successful years. “The secret to throwing an impressive wedding is not serving caviar, lobster or supplying BLING! It is all about projecting the bride and groom’s personalities into a sweet, joyful, honest and sincere celebration.”
“Budgets really have little to do with the successful outcome of a wedding.” States the Meridith’s Catering and Events Wedding Day checklist. Meridith’s Catering specializes in affordable Philadelphia weddings. “What matters most is how thoughtful you are when considering your guests while planning your itinerary! The goal is to make people feel comfortable, welcome, wanted and as if they are an actual significant part of your proceedings.”
What follows is a breakdown of what a top Philadelphia Wedding Caterer feels are some of the most important things for a bride and groom to consider when planning their wedding. These tips are based on Meridith’s 11 years of experience catering Philly weddings of all sizes, shapes and budgets:
1. To invite the kids or not to invite the kids that is the first big Philadelphia wedding question?
Not all brides and grooms want to exclude children from their wedding. Many are happy to involve children in their wedding both as members of the wedding party and as guests. But, having children at a wedding poses a myriad of problems. Do you leave the children to their own devices and hope they behave and don't get in the way? Do you provide a room with childcare so they are "present" but not too much under foot? Perhaps the best solution is a simple mix of both, with a smattering of fun built in.
First of all, take into consideration the ages of the children. Babies will have to stay with mom and/or dad, for a variety of reasons. So planning to have all the children in another room probably will not be feasible. But for the children ages toddler up to 12, you can provide a separate room with childcare and a make a number of activities available to entertain them. A coloring table stocked with pipe cleaners, clean non-stick clay, washable crayons, markers, coloring books and plenty of paper but no paints is a popular start. Add a rented large screen TV with an appropriate kid’s movie rolling and some board games will probably be enough for the duration of even a long wedding reception.
Face painters, clowns, balloon artists, magicians, temporary tattoo artists are all an additional plus! Be aware there should be a ratio of at least 1 adult for every 5 toddlers and 1 adult for every 10 older children. Don't expect the kids to take up the activities on their own. You need to have one experienced childcare provider whose responsibility will be to get the kids involved in the activities!
When the meals are over the children can become more of a part of the reception festivities or a child’s musician can entertain the kids in their own room. You should plan at least one "child only" dance on the adults dance floor, starting with only the children on the dance floor and then allowing their parents, bride and groom and finally all the adults to join in. This is not only cute to watch, entertaining for all and will bring a smile to the face of every grandma and grandpa present.
2. Buffet Table Etiquette Philadelphia Style:
We have all been to one of those wedding receptions serving a buffet-style meal where everyone stands in an enormous long line waiting and bitching about how slow the line is moving while those at the food table decide if they want French dressing or blue cheese on their salads. The civil way to get people to their meals, quickly and with a minimum of groans about hunger is the number system. Assigned numbers are placed in the flower arrangements on each table. The MC or DJ calls numbers at various intervals. The people at that numbered table then head to the buffet to begin their feast.
To solve that awkward problem of half the room being finished with their meals and having nothing to do except wait for the last table of guests who are just reaching the buffet table for the first time, you use can add a twist to the method. Put a number, 1-10, on the back of the ‘Place Cards’ that each guests picks up when they first look at the seating chart. No one at the same table has the same number. Now when the DJ or MC calls a number from 1-10 everyone with that number heads for the buffet table but the guests at each table won't all get their food at the same time.
The most fun option for moving people easily to the buffet table while keeping your still waiting guests amused involves making a game out of it all. You provide each table with a buzzer or a bell. The DJ or MC asks a question about the bride and groom. The tables buzz in with their answers. The guests at the table with the first correct buzzed answer move to the buffet table. You repeat the question process until every table is finally on their way to getting their grub. This method is especially amusing and helps guests to get to know one another, since they have to work together to come up with an answer. If your guests are hungry, you're sure to hear muffled groans and sighs of exasperation. But even with the small complaints, this is always a crowd pleaser because it's fun and gets everyone involved.
3. Extra Fun Philadelphia Wedding Cake Activities:
Many people believe that once the cake is cut, they are free to leave if they wish. Since cake cutting usually comes after the meal and after dancing and other traditional celebration activities are well under way, people take the opportunity to leave the party after the cake is served and enjoyed. If the bride and groom want their guests to stay after the cake is eaten, it will take some extra effort to build some cute and memorable activities into the cake-cutting event so people will stick around longer. Sure you can try just telling people not to leave but what is the fun in that?
Instead, let’s instruct our catering servers to hand each person a slip of paper with his or her cake. These slips of paper have been prepared ahead and can be placed on each plate with the cake. The paper could detail the agenda for the rest of the evening or might ask each recipient to perform something special like a little dance or to head over to give the groom or bride a kiss or might instruct them to take the flower girl out on the dance floor for a spin. The unknown will quickly have all the guests reinvigorated with curiosity. Everyone’s interests will be peaked to see what the others will be asked to do. Think up some fun instruction to provide extra entertainment as well as some great memorable photo opportunities.
There’s a very charming South Philadelphia Wedding Cake tradition of having charms baked into the wedding cake. Small charms or tiny toys (but usually charms)are baked inside the cake. Those who get one of the charms are said to have good luck. A unique version is to have bracelet charms baked into the cake, which are later retrieved then made into a charm bracelet for the bride.
Not everyone enjoys cake. So, consider an activity for those who won't be eating cake? They can be required to do the "Macarena" or the chicken dance during the time when everyone else is eating cake. If they manage to do the dance continuously while the other guests enjoy cake, they win a prize. Or they simply get to sit down, since they are now quite tired! This too should provide some great wedding photos!
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