Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wedding Q&A Thursday - Wedding Reception Send-Off

Q: Are formal exits from the reception necessary? Is it tacky if we just stay 'til our guests leave, or do we have to do some grand send-off where people throw something at us as we exit? [Our venue] will not allow you to throw anything like rose petals or lavender so I am stuck on how to exit if I do one. Help!

A: I think it's clear from your tone that you know the answer....right? Just in case - No, of course you don't have to have a formal exit. I think that it's a lovely way to, if you will, complete the circle. I also think it's best to keep it simple. Whether or not you have a coordinator, it can be difficult to smoothly position your tired (maybe intoxicated) guests into some sort of complicated position, hand out props (flower petals, sparklers, etc.) and coordinate a complicated send-off. And, as you mentioned, your venue may put restrictions on where you can have the send-off and what you can and can't toss, pop, or ignite.

Based on your toss restrictions, and the fact that I know that you are staying at the hotel where you reception is - thereby negating a send-off using a car - why not keep it super simple and combine it with another component of your reception, like the bouquet toss?

Martha Stewart Weddings

About 15 minutes before your reception is set to end (or earlier if you're tired) have the band leader or DJ announce that the bride and groom have asked all of their guests to join them on the dance floor. Once the guests are gathered, thank everyone for coming and then have the MC bring all of the single ladies to the center for the bouquet toss. You and your husband (yay!) can then turn so your backs are to the ladies (and hopefully your fronts are facing the exit). Throw. Go! Everyone will be there, paying attention, but you won't have to go around hugging everyone good-bye and finding yourself stuck on long, drawn-out goodbyes. (It's not that you don't appreciate everyone enough for a personal good-bye, but you are tired!)

I think that, back-in-the-day, the bouquet toss was actually a part of the send-off. So it's simple and it makes sense! If your wedding reception venue has some sort of staircase or balcony, that would be just perfect...


  1. What would you recommend for a bride whose reception is at the Marshall House and is staying there overnight in the suite. How do we exit? Up the stairs?

  2. Hi Ashley,

    We have many couples face this issue! Usually what we do is we have them still do a formal send off and actually arrange to have the hotel car, a Savannah PediCab, a rented car and one couple did a taxi and they just drove them around for 10-15 minutes while the guests cleared out and then they were dropped back off.

    It is a great time for you two to escape and to get a few minutes alone and you still get the formal send off.