Work the Room

Work the room

Face time for everyone on
your special day

Story by Tosha Kelly

Your wedding day is a personal, yet very social day. Are you worried about those awkward moments? Will Aunt Nancy hold you captive, talking for hours? Or might you forget someone altogether? Here are a few tips from the experts on how to work the room, while reveling in your moment.

The receiving line is an old tradition, and if you want to be sure to greet everyone, it isn’t a bad idea, says Heather Siegel-Carter, owner of Beginning 2 End. “Just be sure it’s only the two of you in the line. Family and wedding party can say hello to guests during the reception. This will help speed things up.”

If you’re open to non-traditional ideas, try a cocktail hour instead, says Donna Turner-Love of Donna’s Corner. “I almost always insist on not having a receiving line.”

Couples should focus on letting their guests know their love and friendship is priceless, says Siegel-Carter. If you have a program, add a little note on the bottom that tells your guest how much you appreciate their love and support. “People have gone through a lot to be at a wedding,” she says, “with traveling, shopping for an outfit and buying a present. Be sure to take the time to say ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You.’”

After the ceremony, have the bride’s and groom’s parents excuse the guests instead of having ushers, says wedding planner Karla DeLong. “This ensures that each person is getting a personal ‘Thank You’ for coming.”

Save time by having the seating cards double as thank-you cards, DeLong suggests. “Write a small note to each guest on the inside of a tent card, and their name on the outside for the seating arrangement.”

To stay clear of those long conversations while making your rounds, DeLong suggests designating a friend to rescue you. “Have a signal worked out beforehand and when you feel yourself being sucked in, send the signal. It can be a simple wipe of the forehead, applying lip gloss or a boisterous laugh with multiple leg-slaps.”

Have the photographer follow you while you mingle to take photos of you and your guests. This aids in keeping conversations short. “Everyone wants a picture with the happy newlyweds,” says Siegel-Carter. “Then you can use the photos for your thank-you cards.”

Megan Killoran of A Special Touch says that if you’re a spunky bride and groom and willing to get out there and dance, grab the people who are sitting down and get them on the dance floor. “They can chat with the guest during that time as well,” Killoran says. It’s a good way to keep conversations short but meaningful. “You have to remember that everyone is there for you both and there are a lot of people to talk with,” she says. “Keep to small talk and ask questions like, ‘Did you enjoy the food?’ If you ask about specific things in their lives, your guests can go on forever. Keep the day your day and ask about what they thought of the ceremony or the decorations. It is okay to keep the focus on you, just do it in a respectable manner.”

Post-reception it’s hard for any bride or groom to remember with whom they spoke. Send emails or postcards to the entire guest list — whether they attended or not — thanking them. “Use a picture from your honeymoon as the focus,” Killoran says. Another option is to use a program or web site to make custom postcards.

If you find that you’ve left someone out, don’t fret. Prepare by taking a wedding or honeymoon photo with a “Thank You” sign. Get creative by tying in your honeymoon destination. For example, write “Thank You” in the sand. “Send the picture to all of your guests with a little note,” says DeLong. “This way no one will be missed or feel left out.”