Wedding traditions vary between religions, cultures, and regions. One of the most iconic wedding traditions, only seen in Manitoba is the wedding social.
Traditionally done as a gift for the couple by their families to celebrate their pending nuptials and raise money to help pay for the wedding and a headstart on their new life together, socials are still being put on but with more of the couple's involvement.
If you are recently engaged and considering or planning a social, you may find yourself with questions regarding the logistics of the event itself, but since socials are a very strictly Manitoban affair, you may have difficulty finding the answers to your questions. Here is our guide to planning a wedding social in Manitoba.
There are many different venues to choose from for your social. The most common places are legions and community halls/centers. Many bars also offer their premises for socials. A community center/hall will be a more inexpensive option in regards to the rental of the facility however there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a venue
Liquor Licensing and Services
At a local legion or community center, you will need to purchase and provide the alcohol, soda, and late lunch meal yourself. You also need to find out if they provide the liquor permit or if you need to apply and purchase one on your own. A bar provides liquor and soda, but they also keep all the profit from liquor sales and the drinks will be more expensive for your guests. You also need to know if they provide bartending staff or if you need to supply your own.
We all know that sometimes things can get wild at a good old-fashioned social. Occasionally a rowdy may need to be removed. Does the venue you have in mind provide security services? or will you need to provide your own muscle if something does happen?
Book Your DJ
You have the location, now you need the entertainment. Many people would think that choosing a DJ is a minor detail, but it is not. Nothing ruins a social more than a poorly done DJ set-up and a person who could have been replaced by a Spotify playlist. An Interactive DJ/MC that has experience doing socials will be able to read the crowd, keep the dancefloor going all night, get your guests involved and be able to help you guide and direct the flow of the evening.
Once you have your venue booked, it is time to print and start selling tickets. Social tickets typically sell for $10, or $20 for a New Year’s Eve event (venues cost more on New Year’s Eve). You can create a ticket with a simple template and print them using a printing service. Before purchasing your tickets - check with your DJ, many of them can help you with printing tickets or get you a discount code. Many people also offer “support” tickets for people who live far away or are unable to attend the actual social but want to provide their love and support for the couple.
Types of Prizes and Raffles
A key component of every social is the prizes! There are 5 common types of prizes that you can include in your social.
1. Door Prize - It is common to have a door prize. You can use it as an “Early Bird” draw to get your guests coming through the doors earlier, and staying until the silent auction has been drawn. Make sure you advertise your door prize and what time the draw will happen (ex: 8:30 pm)
2. Silent Auction - silent auction prizes are typically divided into two categories, regular prizes, and grand prizes. Be sure to clearly label the prizes and which tickets are for which. You will always get people putting regular tickets in the grand prizes. Regular prizes are usually a collection of items packaged as a bundle, eg: Girls' night which might include make-up, spa services, etc., or a Kids' prize pack with games and toys or candy. Grand prizes are larger ticket items such as Jets tickets or jerseys, BBQs, or TVs.
Keep in mind that when you are creating your packages, the value of the items cannot be more than $500 if you purchased the item yourself, if they are “donated” it is okay to exceed the $500 value.
3. 50/50 - Often is sold by people walking around with a large pail to put the separated tickets into. Remember that the prize itself cannot exceed the value of $500, so sales must be cut off at $1000.
4. Texas Mickey - typically sold the same way as 50/50 tickets. A fun way to encourage the sales of these tickets is to have a wedding party sell-off. You can do guys vs girls or “Team Groom” vs ‘Team Bride” to see which “team” can sell more. The winning team gets to choose a song that the losing team has to dance to (ex: chicken dance)
5. Golden Ticket - is a more recent trend, and is usually a really “hot ticket” item, such as a travel voucher or Jets box seats. The key is, that the tickets are only available when you purchase a large ticket package. For example, a $100 ticket package may include several regular silent auction tickets, a few grand prize tickets, and one single golden ticket.
How To Get Prizes
You have your venue, music, and what types of prizes you'd like to sell chosen. Now you need to obtain said prizes. You have 2 options, purchasing the prizes yourself or donations. Remember, the value of your prizes cannot exceed $500 IF you purchased the prize yourself. If it is donated to you, eg: Your parents bought a BBQ for $599.97 but they donate it to you to use as a grand prize at your social, that is okay.
Donations: Often a business will be willing to donate prizes to your social if you are a regular shopper, or your friend owns a business. In return, you should always ask for a business card to include with the prize, word of mouth is a great way for a small business to grow.
Purchases: Watch for sales at end of the season, Black Friday, and boxing day.
How to Price Tickets
Drinks: $3.50 or more. We have never heard of someone attending a social and leaving because drinks were $3.50 instead of $3. If you go to a bar, domestic beer is easy $4-5+.
50/50 & Texas Mickey: can be sold per ticket or wingspan. We suggest $2/ticket or 3 for $5. Or $5/arm, $10 per wingspan (arms stretched out measured fingertip to fingertip), or $20 for a 2.5 wingspan.
Silent Auction: Most people sell their silent auction prizes in package deals. An example of a regular and grand prize ticket package is 6 regular sheets, and 4 grand prize tickets sold for $40. You cannot sell an individual ticket for more than $2.
You always want to sell your ticket packages in multiples of $20, because ATM machines only dispense $20 bills.
**If you are using leftover tickets from a friend or bought some from someone who had leftovers, be sure to double-check the numbers so you do not have duplicates.**
Because you are serving alcohol at your social, you will need to provide what is called "late lunch" aka a small meal. Traditionally you would serve buns, cheese, deli meats, and pickles, a lot of couples are opting to order pizza instead. A good rule to know how much pizza to order is about 2-3 slices per person (depending on where you are ordering from). And of course, you cannot forget your classic chips and munchies on the tables.
How Many People Should I Have to Help?
You will need approx 15-18 people to have a smooth social. Mostly pairs work best for any job. If you are doing the wedding party competition selling 50/50 and perfume, make sure you do not schedule them to be at the door during that time. Also, do not schedule yourself! You will be too busy making sure everything is running smoothly, and you should also give yourself a chance to enjoy the night.
Let us know below in the comments below if this blog has been helpful to you!