With strategy, grace, and a glass of Champagne.
Credit: Shawn Connell / Christian Oth Studio

Remember when you were in college and you'd go back to your hometown the night before Thanksgiving? You'd have plans to meet up with all your childhood friends at the local bar and you'd be pulled into no less than ten conversations, catching up on everyone's new life. Imagine that feeling of being tugged, poked, and prodded by about ten times as many people, some of whom you haven't seen in five plus years and a whole cluster of which you may have never met before.

That's kind of how being at your own wedding feels. Except all eyes are on you and there's a little extra pressure to be glowing, fresh, and energetic. The best way to manage the millions of questions, compliments, and introductions is to go into the reception with a game plan. Here are some of our best tactics for working the room with strategy, grace, and a drink in hand.

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Be on the same team

This should go without saying, but stick with your partner as much as possible during the reception. It's so easy for one of you to get bogged down in a conversation with Aunt Sally while the other person is being dragged onto the dance floor by the army of bridesmaids. Try to stay together so you can help one another gently wrap up conversations when necessary. It's great to have a code phrase to hint to each other that it's time to move on to the next conversation.


Who you want to spend time with and what you want to spend your time doing at your wedding are two things you should probably discuss with your fiancé before the wedding. If it's important to both of you that you spend at least an hour on the dance floor, keep the conversations brief and keep your eye on the prize. If spending time with guests who've traveled from other cities is a priority, make the time for it at the beginning of the reception so you don't forget to check in with them later on.

Make a mental list

If visiting with each person during the wedding is important to you and your fiancé, the best approach is usually to visit each table during dinner. This can also be the quickest way to say hello to every guest, as they're a bit too occupied with the task of eating to take up much of your time. If there's anyone you know you want to circle back with after dinner, make a mental note to seek him or her out after the cake cutting. It's also helpful to keep a mental list of grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other family members to make sure you don't forget to greet anyone.

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Divide and conquer only if absolutely necessary

If you have a fairly large guest count and a limited amount of time to check in with guests, dividing and conquering may be the best bet for greeting everyone. If you decide to take this approach, it's helpful if each of you takes a specific half of the room. You may want to designate a meeting spot for when you've finished your half so you can keep an eye out for each other.

Be at ease

Working the room has much to do with being warm and friendly, and being you. If that means taking a little extra time to catch up with the people you love, go for it. Enjoy the conversations. You only get this night once, so take advantage of it. Yes, it's important to keep conversations light and short so you can make your way around the room, but it's also important to make your guests feel appreciated and that means taking time to thank them and maybe even throw a compliment their way.

Stay hydrated

Our best advice is to have at least one glass of water between each glass of Champagne. If you don't hydrate properly, you'll find yourself tiring out much earlier in the evening than you hoped for. Eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water throughout the day is the best way to keep your energy level high. Some couples find it hard to remember to hydrate when there are so many other things going on, so maybe ask your maid of honor or a bridesmaid to be on hydration duty for both of you throughout the festivities.

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