Decorations The reception buffet table and small tables traditionally are covered with white linen cloths, the table decorations in the same color with garlands of smilax (any florist can order these) and white flowers, or for a summer wedding in the country, mixed bouquets of garden roses. For a second wedding the color scheme may be any favorite colors of the bride. If there is music it should be lively and gay but not so obtrusive that it drowns out conversation.
Tradition calls for a toast to the bride and groom. The punch may occupy the center of interest on the reception buffet table or on a separate table, or on a garlanded, decorated cart (see sketch). The iced bowl in any case should be on a large tray, trimmed with smilax, or orange blossoms, or white flowers and their foliage. Someone, not a member of the wedding party, should be in charge of the punch and serve it to everyone for the toast before guests begin to serve themselves from the dishes on the buffet table. Someone else is hostess at the reception table to see that the bride’s table is served first, and all small tables served immediately afterwards (with help of waitresses) or that the guests help themselves.
If the menu is prepared in the home kitchen and served by the family without trained help, most of the traditional formalities of bridal reception service are not even attempted. But in any case, the bridal table must be served before the wedding guests are served.