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Welcome to our Receptions webchat

Hi everyone

Welcome to this week's webchat with wedding cake expert Peggy Porschen, and wedding stationary experts Hello!Lucky - they've got all you need to know about planning the details of your big day!

Also online will be You & Your Wedding's receptions style editor, Vanessa Gore.

If you'd like to ask them a question, simply click "post reply" in this thread and type your question into the box. Their reply will appear in the same thread (but please bear with us if we get busy, your question will be answered as soon as we can!)

Enjoy yourselves



  • Hi

    i could do with some advice. am marrying in italy, on the coast in early sept. we have found wonderful restaurant that we can have all day and night til 3am. it has dining, bar, sun loungers, beach, we can have dancing, great space ..... wonderful views. but if there is a howling gale and rain there is only cover for about 100 people and we are 130. Am I crazy to pursue this idea ?

  • fsm21fsm21 Posts: 471
    Hello, need help with the following:

    Peggy - our wedding cake is a combination of chocolate rum sponge layers with chocolate and fresh creams covered in white chocolate. However, because of the fresh cream ingredient, the patisserie has advised us that it should not be displayed for longer than a couple of hours and that refrigeration is essential before plating because it will be August & therefore warmer. We are having a champagne reception with a wedding breakfast and were initially thinking of having the cake-cutting just before sitting down for the food but its such a beautiful-looking cake that I am now thinking it would be nice to have it out a bit longer for us and our guests to admire, otherwise we will only get to enjoy the sight of it for an hour or maybe even less! We are also confused about when to serve it: with the coffee after speeches or perhaps later during the evening party? Could you advise what would be best, given that the cake cannot be left out for too long?

    HelloLucky/Vanessa - I need some advice on table plans etc. Instead of having circular tables, we will be having 2 long tables for our guests - with approx 23-25 people per table - and top-table for us. Do you think it is still worth having a seating plan displayed in the reception venue? Also, how many menu cards do I need to provide? I do not want the tables to be too cluttered as they are narrower than round ones and think that a menu per person would be far too much & unnecessary. Would it be ok to alternate a few small table arrangements with menu cards in discrete holders?

    Thanks ladies!

  • Fabbride, thank you for your question. Given the small number of tables, a seating plan is likely to be unnecessary - we would opt for place cards instead, one at each place setting. To keep the table from looking too cluttered, you can consider having a menu at each place setting and having it double as a place card, with the guest's name at the top of the card. Alternatively, it would be perfectly fine to alternate a few table arrangements with menu cards in discrete holders as you suggest.
  • Dear Fabbride

    Unfortunately fresh cream cakes are not our speciality. we could suggest having the fresh cream cake as a cutting cake which can be sent to the kitchen and refrigerated. The display cake can then be a dummy cake with a cutting wedge which will certainly withstand the summer heat.
  • Hello Twinkey,

    I don' t think that you're mad to persue the idea. If it really is bad weather (and it is less likely over there than over here) people won't mind huddling together to keep dry. I would warn them on an information sheet that you send with the invitation that there is only cover for 100 and to be prepared for this eventuality.

    Chances are that it will be a glorious evening with the sun setting over the Med and would you not be equally upset if you had a marquee wedding in the UK and it was raining cats and dogs?

  • Hi,

    We are making our own invitations and they will be square with a square vellum overlay. We want to tie this at the side with ribbon that matches our colour scheme. What is the best way to tie it so that it looks neat? We want a stylish but handmade look to the cards and I'm worried they may look messy!

  • nuttyenuttye Posts: 111
    Hiya Peggy,

    My wedding reception is probably going to have approx. 500 guests (typical African large wedding!), and I'm trying to think of the most cost-effective way of providing cake for everyone - the cake will be everyone's dessert.

    I thought maybe we could pre-cut loads of slices of fruit cake into small boxes, and give them out to everyone during the reception. In the meantime, there could be a much smaller - but lovely - cake that h2b and I can cut for photo purposes in a flavour I like (I hate fruit cake!).

    Is this a cost-effective idea, or are there even cheaper - equally nice - ideas? Is it possible to get minature boxes for cake slices, and what price range are they in?

    Ta very much!
  • mrsj2008mrsj2008 Posts: 763

    Could you give me some table decoration ideas please? Our wedding colours will be white (me) gold and chocolate brown. We are marrying this July in a church.

    My dress is a full skirt with crystals on the drapes of material which is a classic design with a modern edge in the detailing. I'm having 3 small bridesmaids in gold and the groom and attendants will be wearing brown/cream/gold.

    We are marrying in a church and having the reception in a boutique hotel which is a 1920's elegant building.

    The hotel wont allow candles to be lit so I don't want to use any form of candle.

    Any inspiration would be wonderful.

  • Thank you very much for your feedback. Really helpful. Its impossible to get hotels here in this region on a Saturday for all day and night, the italians only do a lunch or a dinner. So finding this place has been a bit of luck. We are thinking that after dinner about eight or nine pm we will run a mini bus back to the hotel so that parents can drop off small children to baby sitters and come back. Do you think this would be acceptable to the guests ? There are about 11 children under 3. Should I be worried about any of them dashing off into the sea ? We dont have a life guard

  • Dear Becky08

    The invitations sound lovely! We would recommend using a small hole punch to punch two neat holes on the side of the invitation. Then, use a pliable ribbon (we recommend satin, approximately 1/4" wide) and tie a square knot. Cross the ribbon ends right-over-left and tighten, then cross them left-over-right and tighten. When you pull the ribbon taut, you should wind up with a square-ish knot - adjust the knot to flatten it. Trim the ends at a 45-degree angle with sharp scissors. Best of luck with your invitations!
  • fsm21fsm21 Posts: 471
    HelloLucky - thank you for the reassuring reply. I think I am going to go with the alternating idea - the only other concern I have is that we will be having tea-lights as part of the table decorations and I am concerned about guests reaching over to look at the menu cards with the flame of the lights in between??

    Peggy - as it is a traditional 'cortina' design, the French patisserie cannot do a dummy cake unfortunately! Thanks all the same x

  • Hopes_MammyHopes_Mammy Posts: 5,839
    Hi Peggy,

    Thank you for taking the time to come and talk to us today!

    Im just wondering if its ok to have a wedding cake which is just a single teire?



  • nuttyenuttye Posts: 111
    Hiya helloluckysf,

    I've got hundreds of invitations to prepare, and want suggestions on the most cost-effective way of doing it. I'm a creative person and would have no problem making them usually, but the idea of doing hundreds is daunting even for me!

    Is there a feasible way of making hundreds of invitations yourself that isn't too time-consuming, where they can still look lovely?

    Is it better to purchase them instead, and if so can you make some suggestions on which route to take for bulk-buying of invitations?

    Much appreciated ;\)
  • Thanks hellolucky! I now feel much more confident about making them! I will try out the square knot, sounds good! Thank you again!
  • Hello!Lucky...

    Do you have anything in your range that is specifically for weddings abroad?

    I am getting married in Ibiza and would love to use something different stationary wise.

    I like the idea of having luggage tags style save the date cards but what could I use for invites?

    Any suggestions at all would be fab! x

    [Modified by: MrsJMurphy2b on February 12, 2008 04:31 PM]
  • Dear Fabbride,

    Regarding the tea-lights, I don't think this is much cause for concern. Guests will be able to navigate them so long as they are low, and at the beginning of the reception when they are most likely to look at the menu cards, they are unlikely to be too inebriated! Best of luck with your reception!
  • Hello Mrs J.

    Other than the flowers which can pick-out all the colours of your theme you could also consider printing individual menus and place cards in chocolate brown on a card that picks-up on the colour of your dress. The placecards could then be tied using gold ribbon around the napkins.

    All of these could then be printed in a design that reflects the Art Deco surroundings of the hotel and would be lovely items that guests could take home with them to serve as a keepsakes.
  • mrsj2008mrsj2008 Posts: 763
    Hello Lucky,

    We are already doing something very similar with the place settings - cutting our large label tags out of the same gold card that are invitations are printed on, having the guest name and menu choice on the same card and having the 'tag' tied to the back of the chair in the ribbon we have used on the invitations.

    It is the centrepiece of each table that we are struggling with. I'd like something with a wow factor, something like giant martini glasses with feathers in them or pussy willo twigs with crystals hanging off them. Can you think of any other wow factor ideas?

    Thank you
  • Hi Nuttye

    It is certainly an idea to give all guests a cake slice box to take home as a favour. The cake slice boxes can range in style and price. There are glossy carboard boxes that can be folded with food proof paper as an insert and these start at approx 50p per box or we can have rigid custom made boxes made for you with gold/ silver foil initials on top and these range from about £3.50 each. Lastly we are about to launch a range of our own Peggy Porschen Cakes branded cake slice boxes which may be an option.

    The standard cake slice for a dessert is 1" x 2" x 4". You would thus require approx 6 tiers to feed 500 guests. This could be rather costly if you choose a very eloborate design, however if you choose one of the more simple designs this may work out to be the most cost effective cake for you.

    However if you do like one of the heavily decorated designs i would suggest a smaller 3-4 tier cake made from the sponge/s of you choice and wrapped up cake portions for the guests to take home.

    Another consideration is if the wedding is in the height of summer it may be best to have pre-sliced fruit cake slices as buttercream filling may melt under extreme heat!

    I hope this is of some help to you.

  • Dear Nuttye,

    That is wonderful that you are creative - it's a lovely touch to do invitations yourself. Given the quantity of invitations, we would recommend trying Print Gocco, a Japanese do-it-yourself silk screening machine. It's relatively inexpensive and very easy to use, and allows you to make multiples of an invitation (including printing on envelope flaps) without too much effort. Simply lay out your wording in Microsoft Word and add some clip art, such as the art available in books by Dover Publications or at

    For more information on Print Gocco machines and a list of suppliers, visit Also, US-based chain Paper Source offers many lovely do-it-yourself wedding invitation kits. These are among the best we've seen so we recommend checking them out as well.
  • Hello Twinkley,

    I think as long as you let your guests know that there will be a babysitting service they can then plan around it accordingly. Perhaps you could phone them up to find out what they would like to do and then make your plans around that.

    The Italians are really fantastic with small children and at many weddings the little ones are just absorbed into the proceedings for the duration so it might just be that those with little ones might be happiest to just stay until, say, 10pm and then head back rather than go backwards and forwards.

    I would advise you to speak to those guests with children before making any arrangements that may prove redundant and costly.
  • Hi Paula

    You can certainly have a single tier wedding cake. A single tier can feed up to approx 200 people. A single tier can be decorated elaboratley with hundreds of handcrafted flowers or with a more simple design of a sugar bow etc. However, if you do have a ratherer large wedding I would suggest a few tiers as this is more wedding like and you can play with different flavours etc.

  • Dear Mrs. JMurphytobe,

    Your wedding in Ibiza sounds lovely! Luggage tags sound perfect for the Save the Date. For the invitation two designs spring immediately to mind:

    Mediterranean, which was originally created for a destination wedding in Malaga, Spain: Wedding Invitation Pool, Tangerine, Chocolate

    And Malaga, which has a Spanish Arts & Crafts feel: Wedding Invitation Apple Green, Chocolate

    All of our invitations can be entirely customized with respect to ink colors, paper colors and envelopes, and in many instances a different color way can completely alter the look and feel of a design and make it perfect for a destination wedding.

    We have also done a number of lovely designs featuring hand-drawn maps of the locale (unfortunately not shown on our website just yet). Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we'll be happy to e-mail you samples of additional ideas!
  • JAN29JAN29 Posts: 68
    Dear Vanessa,

    There are 10 children coming to our wedding at 4pm. after the civil ceremony i am just wondering how to entertain the children whilst we wait for the reception to start at 6pm.

    Someone has suggested a treasure hunt but I dont think the venue is big enough to have this.

    I would be grateful of any suggestions you may have.

    Thanks and kind regards

  • Hi Paula

    you can certainly have a single tier wedding cake - this works really well for smaller intimate weddings. a single tier can be decorated as elaborately as a tiered wedding cake.

    a single tier can feed up to about 200 if round or 300 if square. however, if you have a wedding of this size i think a tiered cajke would be great as you can then play with flavours etc.

    Kind Regards

  • mrsj2008mrsj2008 Posts: 763

    Do you have anything in your range that is specifically for weddings abroad?

    I am getting married in Ibiza and would love to use something different stationary wise.

    I like the idea of having luggage tags style save the date cards but what could I use for invites?

    What about making your own style postcards as invitations. If they are too small you could make a flip/waterfall style of fold up cards (as in the movie Grease when they sing the Sandra Dee song) x
  • Hello MrsJ,

    It sounds like you already have some good "Wow" factor ideas! I like the sound of the giant Martini glasses. Maybe they could be filled with Champagne coloured roses and the over-sized swizzle stick could then have a few chandelier drop crystals 'dripping' from the end.You could then use a similar style (but smaller!) for the toasting glasses too.

    I'm guessing that you will be having circular tables so don't forget that it's good if the guests can see across to the other side and it helps cross-table conversation too.
  • Thank you Hello Lucky ! One final question. September flowers. Can you recommend some? I have seen lots of amber, green, yellow but i am a peonie girl myself. Can you get them at that time anywhere ?
  • kimwukkimwuk Posts: 27

    I have lots of questions, but my main one concerns colour themes for my wedding which will be in September next year? I want to keep it seasonal, but I have a fair complexion with blonde hair so I'm not sure about reds and oranges. I was wondering about purples and berry colours but I'm not sure if they'll be too strong for me? I don't want burgundy (much as I love it) because my sister and sister in law both chose that as their theme for their weddings and I want something different. If I did go for say a dark purple what would be complimentary colours for it? Would pinks work?

    I then want to link the theme into my stationery and cake - do you have any suggestions? The cake will be dessert, and I thought sponge, but then I like the idea of little cakes too - what would work best do you think? My reception is only small - 50 or so people. I would like to do the invitations and such like myself - do you have any ideas for what would be a good design to symbolise the September season, or else a bacchanalian theme?
  • Dear Peggy

    Thanks for coming on here to talk to us. My H2B would like a very traditional cake, 3 tiers, either round or square as he doesn't want our photo's to date but he also wants to save the top tier for our first childs christening so it needs to be fruit (also no flowers on the cake). The problem is I'm having trouble visualising this, it just sounds a bit boring and we can't find a photo anywhere and do all the tiers need to be fruit as the top one is. Can you advise me at all on this as i think it's lovely that he's getting involved. We are also having desert after the meal, we have 150 people coming to day & eveing, will 3 tiers be enough cake for everyone and should it go out with the buffet or for people to take home? Any help is gratefully appreciated.
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