This is my first post, but I've been reading for awhile. I was hoping you could give me some feedback to make sure my day will go well and be a good time for all. Since I haven't posted before, this is a little about my day. I'll probably have quite a few questions as my planning goes along (my apologies if this gets really long).
We are getting married on the rooftop of our town farmers market, looking out over the harbour (with a beautiful rain/bad weather backup inside). Ceremony is pretty straight forward - short and sweet.
Our reception is a little out of the ordinary. We are hosting it in the event space of a downtown pub that is near and dear to both our hearts. The pub is in a historic building right on the water. The event space is in three parts, one area with some tables, a dance floor and the bar. A second large room (adjacent to the first and through an open doorway (no door) would have more seating and tables and has a beautiful view of the water. A third space up a set of steps is kind of like a mezzanine. It is open, wraps around the entire space and looks down onto the dance floor. There will also be some seating up here. I recognize this is kind of an unusual set up. The event coordinator for the space says that it encourages mingling and movement of guests. I want to host well, so here are my thoughts:
-We are doing heavy passed apps (~12 pieces per person at least), mostly meat or protein based like chicken, seafood and some hearty appetizer items. We are also going to have a different type of food station in each different section of the space and a dessert bar. It's really important to me that people feel really well fed and enjoy their food, even though it's not a sit down meal. (There will be food circulating the entire length of the reception 8-12PM, heavier at 8 when people will be hungrier). The coordinator has assured me that they release 3 trays of each type at the same time with one server heading to each area, so there has never been an issue with people 'stalking the kitchen' or one space feeling they aren't getting food.
-There will be a seat for every person, between the three spaces. This is where I'm the most concerned. Because of the way we are planning it, I wasn't going to assign these seats but instead let people sit as they please, assuming that people will move around the venue throughout the night. Would it be better to actually have too many seats in this situation so one space doesn't get cramped? There are a few people (grandparents, etc) that we know would prefer to have a space and probably won't move throughout. Is it bad etiquette to reserve a space for them? The event will be private with a door person, so people will hopefully feel as comfortable putting their purses and things down to dance as they would at any other event, despite not having an assigned seat.
-Everyone can fit in the dance area, but because not everyone could have a seat at the same time, we thought it would be best to forego spotlight dances or anything that people would have to gather for. We picked songs special to us for a parent dance that we will know about, and we will announce a bride and groom dance and ask anyone who would like to join us on the dance floor. People would also be able to see from above, if they'd like. It also means no toasts, bouquet toss, cake cutting etc. Would you miss these things at a wedding? Personally I'd rather get dessert from the dessert table when I feel like dessert.
- Finally because the space is divided I just want to clarify that there will be NO head table/sweet heart table. We will have nowhere any more set than any other guest and plan to mingle and check out all the spaces/dance/hit the bar and visit with all our guests. Hopefully this means no one feels like they aren't 'in the main area' because we really don't want one space to feel like the main one.
Wow - that was crazy long. Just looking for thoughts on my event from a hosting perspective as I know it's a little different than usual. Thank you if you just got to the end of this!