It's Party Time!

When you arrive at the reception, you'll be expected to take charge and welcome the guests. This is often the most enjoyable part of the entire day — everyone's more relaxed by this point and looking to have some fun — so dive in and get the party going.

ESSENTIAL

Thank people for coming, tell them how nice it is to see them, point out the location of the bar and the appetizers. You'll be surprised how easy it is to bounce yourself all over the room once you get started.

Work the Room

While the bride and groom will stand in a receiving line to greet the guests as they arrive, you are not required to join them. In fact, it's preferable if you don't. You can much better serve as host if you're actually at the party, which means that the minute you enter the reception hall, you're on. You need to be talking, shaking hands, greeting guests as they walk into the facility. Don't get caught up in an hourlong conversation with your business partner — the one you see every day — until you've had a chance to move about the room and say hello to everyone.

To the Bride and Groom

If you're going to give a toast before dinner, make sure it's appropriate to the occasion. While you want to obviously acknowledge your beautiful daughter, you have to say something nice about her husband, too. A nice touch might include a word of thanks to anyone who helped out with the planning, such as the groom's parents; you might also want to acknowledge the merging of the two families.

ALERT!

Have some notes at the ready if there's even the slightest chance you might forget part of your speech. Nothing's more troubling than realizing too late that you forgot to acknowledge a major player or two (like the newlyweds).

The best toasts are short, sincere, and not adlibbed. Know what you want to say, say it in as few words as possible, and make sure it doesn't sound false. (Don't tell the groom's dad that you really love and admire him when the two of you haven't had two words to say to each other — ever.)

Good Times

After your toast, after dinner, after the cake has been cut, there's still an entire evening ahead of you. You'll probably have a dance with the bride, and one with your wife, before the throngs of well-wishers hit the dance floor. While the hip-hop playlist may not score any points with you or your two boogie-impaired left feet, the band or DJ will eventually slow things down. Seize the opportunity to dance with your wife, or your mother, or your daughter(s). Invite the groom's mother to trip the light fantastic.

FACT

If dancing just isn't your thing, make sure you're socializing with the guests. Now's the time to have a good, long chat with your former neighbor, or to introduce folks to each other.

You want to avoid sneaking out for a long, two-hour smoke or seating yourself in the back of the reception hall where no one will find you. This might be the usual stunt you pull at family gatherings, and it may surprise no one that you're missing in action…but this is a special day, and you shouldn't don your Invisible Man mask. Besides, no matter how many years you've spent avoiding the family, it's still rude.

Winding the Party Down

Your daughter and her new husband are hitting the road, and they'd rather leave the particulars of closing down the reception machine to someone else — you. While the bills have most likely been settled in the days before the wedding, you may still have some business to attend to.

If something was not to the bride's liking (for example, tables were still being assembled as the guests arrived, or the food was cold), don't be shy about voicing your displeasure to the banquet manager and negotiating a price adjustment, especially if the issue at hand is stated in the contract. The head honchos in reputable facilities will usually be very apologetic and do their best to make things right (by, say, taking ten dinners off of the bill).

  1. Home
  2. Father of the Bride
  3. Wedding Day and Beyond
  4. It's Party Time!
Visit other About.com sites: