When planning a reception, you can follow a few simple steps and you can stress a little less. The ceremony is the “pomp and circumstance” of a wedding day. The reception is the party of the wedding day. Here is an easy guide to follow while planning a wedding reception.
Wedding Reception Made Easy
When selecting a room for your wedding reception, take a look at the decor of the room. You will not be able to change wall colors or chandeliers. However, this is also a good thing if the decor matches your wedding style as less decorations will be needed. In addition, most rented rooms include a day-of-the-wedding coordinator do verify all vendors and you stay on schedule. You may not be the only wedding at the facility the day of your wedding so you will be forced to stick to your schedule or face the consequences. Be sure to discuss the selected tables, chairs, linens, chair covers, location of dance floor, and location of needed vendor tables and required tables.
If you are looking for an outdoor wedding but want to keep all guests to a designated area, then an outdoor tent is your remedy. Outdoor tents offer you the advantage of selecting your own vendors, if not in the back lawn of a hotel or other business that may require you to use their vendors with the rented space. The best part of an outdoor tent is that you are outdoors without the worry of weather. You can always add heater lamps if a bit chilly or air conditioners if too hot. However, you must consider the location of the restrooms. How far will guests have to walk or will you have to rent port-a-potties? Outdoor tents are best when weather is not temperamental.
If you are looking for a blank slate to make your own, then renting a loft is the way to go. If you want to have a location be its own ambiance, then a wine vineyard or brewery is the right choice. Keep you options open and most location are available with any budget.
Get a map of the reception room as to where every table is located with seating arrangements and vendors’ stations. This way you will know if any close family could be upset as to their location in relation to the wedding party’s table or sweetheart table. In addition, you will know that the music entertainment will be close to the electricity and you will know where the head table is so you can be sure to say hello to all of your guests. The best locations for eating tables is to surround the dance floor with the music entertainment on one end. It is also suggested to keep the eldest in attendance furthest from the music.
When it comes to food, you must decide the desired style of the reception. Food can be buffet, potluck, family style, and plated with designated number of courses. Potluck is the least formal but offers the most homemade family recipes. Family style offers a chance for both sides to get to know each other better in a more casual affair. Buffets also offer a variety of foods and can be catered to you and your guests’ eating favorites. Plated food is the least customizable with typical limits to three different main course choices for guests.
When selecting flowers for your reception, we recommend to stick with flowers that are in season at the time of your reception. In addition, keeping money in the local economy with local growers is a great option too! Keep in mind that make may not necessarily mean less money. Flowers are also a way of keeping the reception unique to you by making each table with its own flower settings. A great suggestion is to use flowers where you want guests to focus, like the entrance, rather than trying to cover the window to a brick wall.
Many music entertainers offer the service of uplighting. Why? Because lighting more than any other reception venue feature will set the desired mood more than lighting. Do you want to have a more romantic setting with lit candles? Do you want to use colored accent lighting of your wedding colors like purple uplighting onto white sheer or ice blue colored flood lamps for the winter wedding? Outdoor weddings can be beautifully decorated with white string lights (can be purchased on after Christmas sales). Walkways can be accented with lanterns. Don’t forget to light the dance floor during party time!
Music entertainment is one of the most important selections made in the planning process. Do you want to have a band or DJ. Will you require a master of ceremonies? What kind of music style will be played during cocktails, dinner and dancing? Choose wisely and be sure they have your desired and dislikes in styles of music with a bit a freedom to read the crowd.
When choosing the drinks offered during the reception, you first must consider your budget. If you have a small budget designated for drinks, an open bar would not be a choice. However, you could have an open bar with two drink tickets given to each guest. If you have a wedding in which no alcohol will be servers, you can consider an all non-alcoholic bar with virgin Pina Coladas or Margaritas and O’Doul’s. You can also choose to have a beer and wine only bar. Another trend to think about is to offer signature cocktails. If you or your spouse has a specific alcoholic drink you like best, why not just have it brought to the wedding reception in a secret cooler?
Another offering for guests that reflect your personality is the dessert table. Is the desert table only going to contain the wedding cake? What will be the style of the wedding cake? Will you offer other sweet offerings like chocolate fountain, individual candies, dessert shots, and/or peti fours? You are only limited by your imagination.
It’s the end of the evening after a night of dancing and drinking the night away. Now what? Will you offer a late night snack? Are there other locations for your partygoers to go to to continue to celebrate like a private room at a restaurant or nightclub? Is there an offering for guests to get back to their sleeping headquarters safely?
Matt loves listening to any music style he can understand the words. He lives in the wedding capital of the world, Las Vegas, with his wife Sharon. Matt's other likes include craft beer, baseball, and traveling.