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15 Standout Reception Ideas


Tiers of iced cupcakes, each with miniature bride-and-groom picks.  

13. Make dessert as important a course as the rest.
Pass mini-desserts on trays during late-night dance sets, or have a mini sweets buffet. Caterer Abigail Kirsch does one with pistachio French meringues, lemon raspberry tarts, carrot-cake towers, layered parfaits, hand-dipped chocolate strawberries, and custom-colored cotton candy (from $15 per head; 212-696-4076). In other news, the cupcake-tower trend is not going anywhere soon. Decorate each cupcake with mini bride-and-groom picks (from sugarcraft.com). One way to personalize the typical tiered wedding cake? Custom-design your cake topper. Says one New York bride: “We sent this company, Patch NYC, a picture of us and my dress, and it turned out fantastic. We keep it under a glass cloche at home” (from $500; 212-807-1042).

14. Don’t let guests go home hungry.
The caterer might have done a great job, but if you have an awesome band, there’s a good chance your guests are going to be famished by night’s end. Offer late-night snacks as they exit: Set up a scoop-and-serve candy station, or a custom cookie bar by One Girl Cookies (from $1,200; 212-675-4996). Some prepackaged options that double as favors include caramel apples (from caramelapplegifts.com) or New York-themed cookies from Eleni’s or Zaro’s New York Bakery in takeout boxes. Or, rent a street-food cart for pretzels or hot dogs (from $995: National Food Cart Rentals; 800-891-0223). As a last resort, there’s nothing wrong with putting on a show for Saturday night revelers and stopping into your favorite 24/7 takeout fully gowned and tuxedoed.

15. Have an after-hours plan.
Transform the area you used for cocktail hour into a nightclub with dramatic lighting, lounge furniture, and a D.J. Or, roll to a new venue. Planner Karen Bussen recommends the Hotel on Rivington’s 105 Riv Bar, a snug, sexy, 50-person lounge, or an elegant party room at the St. Regis Hotel.

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