A wedding in the family, especially if it is the first, is such an important event that parents are inclined to forget the limits of their finances and to give the bride the kind of wedding she has always dreamed about. If she (or her mother) has decided upon a large formal wedding with a reception afterward for many guests, a caterer should be employed.

Tables and chairs, dishes, linen and silver, as well as food and service and sometimes even table decorations will be supplied for a previously set fee. Champagne or the wedding punch may also be part of the caterer’s responsibilities, or they may be the contribution of the father of the bride. In general, the trend toward informality has extended to wedding parties. We no longer expect elaborate “collations” to follow an afternoon or evening wedding. The items served will be very little different from those offered at a cocktail party, except that champagne or a punch will usually replace the cocktails. It should be offered as soon as guests arrive.

In addition, there will, of course, be a wedding cake which the bride with the aid of the groom will make a ceremony of cutting. A large cake of this type decorated appropriately will usually be purchased even when the sandwiches and canapes are prepared in the home kitchen. A groom’s cake of the dark fruit cake type is seldom served nowadays. Instead, small boxes of fruit cake may be furnished for guests to take with them “to dream on.” It should be cut, boxed and tied a few days before the ceremony. If the group is not too large and if there is extra help in the kitchen, a simple buffet supper may be served.

In this case, there may be a large table for the bridal party and arrangements for serving them, while the other guests will help themselves from the buffet. When the wedding is at noon or late afternoon, either a buffet or a “sit down” meal may be offered. For the latter, there must be space for the arrangement of tables, with place settings of napkins and silver. For either type of service, unless the caterer is employed, the hostess must make certain that she has on hand enough silver and china. Neighbors will be delighted when called upon to supplement the home supply, if this is necessary.

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