Wedding receptions are the heart and soul of a wedding day. A reception is the peanut butter in a PB&J. Without a reception; your wedding is just a sad, jelly and bread sandwich. Receptions are the celebration of a new beginning and the joy of two people coming together. The wedding reception is also the time to relax and let your hair down, enjoy good food, drinks, and music, and spend time with your favorite people in the world. It’s important to get the wedding reception just right, as this is the part of the day that everyone will remember.
Choose the right venue
The venue for your wedding reception is one of the most important decisions you’ll make regarding your big day.
The first step in selecting a venue is to determine the desired location. This could be in a specific city, countryside, or beach, depending on your preferences. If you want a beach location, it is also crucial to make sure that the venue is accessible and practical for all guests to reach.
The number of guests attending the reception is also a key factor in selecting a venue. A venue must have enough space to comfortably accommodate all guests while also ensuring that there is enough room for dancing, dining, and other activities.
The style of the venue should also align with the overall theme and vision of the wedding. A beach-themed wedding, for example, would be best suited to a venue with a beach setting, while a traditional, elegant wedding may require a more formal venue, such as a country club, with a classic feel.
Don’t forget about the venue cost, and make sure it fits into your wedding budget. You should also be mindful of other venue costs, such as decorations, catering, and audio-visual equipment, and determine if these are included in the cost of the venue or if they are add-ons.
Plan the menu
Budget, budget, budget, that’s all you probably hear these days while planning a wedding. But it is important when you’re planning out your wedding reception and especially the menu. Will your budget allow for filet mignon, or are you more in the range of chicken and shrimp?
Don’t forget to be mindful of any dietary restrictions, such as food allergies or vegetarianism, and offer suitable options for all guests.
When deciding on the style of cuisine, you can choose from traditional dishes to more exotic or gourmet options, depending on your personal preferences. The style of service, such as a sit-down dinner, buffet, or cocktail reception, must also be considered. For example, if you’re having a formal event, a buffet may not be the best option.
Decide on the music
Music plays a crucial role in setting the mood and atmosphere of a wedding reception, and choosing the right music can make (or break) the vibe. You and your boo’s musical taste should be the starting point in deciding on the music for the reception.
One option for the music is to have a live band or DJ perform. A live band can bring energy and excitement to the dance floor, while a DJ can play a wide range of music and take requests from the guests.
Don’t forget about timing and flow. For example, slow, romantic music during dinner and upbeat dance music during the dancing portion of the reception. Consider the special moments, like speeches or toasts, when music should be stopped, too.
Hire a professional photographer
Looking back on your wedding day photos will be something you do for many, many years to come. Hiring a professional can not only take beautiful, high-quality photos, but they also bring expertise and experience to the event to ensure they capture the love and joy from the day, as well.
It may be daunting to know where to start looking for a photographer, but you can try getting recommendations from friends and family and doing some searching on social media and Google.
Look at the photographer’s portfolio and previous work to get a sense of their quality and style. It is also important to schedule a meeting with the photographer to discuss their approach and vision for the wedding photos.
Make sure you ask about the photographer’s availability and pricing, as well as any extra services they may offer, such as photo editing or printing. You may also want to understand what their policy is for delivering the photos after the wedding and how many photos they typically take during a wedding reception.
Set up a photo booth
Photo booths are an awesome way to add some fun to the wedding reception. Your guests will love taking silly photos, and you’ll have a lot of fun memories to look back on.
You can set up an open-air photo booth with a backdrop or bring in a traditional enclosed photo booth. Either way is sure to get your guests engaged and having fun!
Decorate the venue
Decorating is the fun part for many people! Maybe you want to be hands-on with this, or maybe you want to hire someone. Either way, you should choose decorations that reflect your style and the theme of the wedding.
What’s popular these days with wedding decor? Well, florals are a great way to incorporate romance and give off a whimsical vibe. They also provide an opportunity to add color and life to the space.
Don’t forget those pretty lights. Lighting can also play a crucial role in setting the mood for the reception. You might consider using fairy lights, candles, or lanterns to create an inviting and warm atmosphere or opt for colorful lighting to create a fun and energetic vibe.
Have a signature cocktail
Let’s face it: having a signature cocktail at your reception is downright fun. You can choose a cocktail that reflects your go-to drink and share a little piece of you with all of your guests.
When deciding on the signature cocktail, whether it’s as simple as a jack and coke or as elaborate as a negroni sbagliato with a splash of prosecco in it, it is important to think about the ingredients, cost, and complexity of making the drink. If you do have something super complex, you may want to make sure you hire bartenders that can handle it!
Plan the seating arrangement
The seating arrangement at your wedding reception is important, as it helps to create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. You should plan the seating arrangement so that your guests can chat and mingle and so that everyone has a good view of the dance floor.
When planning the seating arrangement, consider the following factors:
- The number of guests
- The number of guests at each table
- The sizes of the tables (large tables for larger weddings may be better)
- Who should sit by who (you probably want to seat people by the people they know)
- Floor plan obstacles and any venue-related issues that may arrive
- Comfortability for guests in the seat they are assigned (airflow, air conditioning, etc.)
Entertainment is an integral part of making a wedding reception memorable, fun, and engaging for all the guests. When planning the entertainment, it is important to consider several factors to make sure it fits in with the wedding theme and vibe. Budget, audience, schedule, type of entertainment, and theme are all important considerations when planning the entertainment for a wedding reception.
For example, you could have a live band or DJ, which is the more traditional type of entertainment, but you could also do something a little less common, such as a magician, an impressionist, a caricaturist, or a dance performer.
Dance the night away
Last but not least, make sure you and your guests can get your groove on. The dance floor is the center of attention at the wedding reception, and it’s essential to get it right. You should choose music that will keep your guests entertained and dancing all night long.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about wedding receptions
Still have some questions about what your wedding reception should be like? See some commonly asked Q’s below.
Q: What type of venue is best for a wedding reception?
A: Here are some examples of venues that may make for a great reception area.
- Banquet halls: Banquet halls are large venues that can accommodate a ton of guests and provide a traditional atmosphere for a wedding reception.
- Country clubs: Country clubs offer a beautiful and upscale setting for a wedding reception, complete with golf courses, swimming pools, and other fun stuff to enjoy.
- Hotels: Hotels are a common choice for wedding receptions as they often have multiple event spaces and can provide a one-stop shop for the couple and their guests, including overnight accommodations
- Estate or garden venues: Estate or garden venues provide a unique and intimate setting for a wedding reception because of the surrounding lush greenery and beautiful gardens.
- Beach or waterfront venues: Beach or waterfront venues offer a stunning and relaxed vibe for a wedding reception, with the sound of the water and the sea air adding to the ambiance.
Q: What is the purpose of a wedding reception?
A: The purpose of a wedding reception is to celebrate the union of the bride and groom with their families and friends in a more relaxed setting after the wedding ceremony.
Q: How long does a wedding reception typically last?
A: A wedding reception can last anywhere from three to six hours, depending on your preferences and the schedule of the events.
Q: What type of food should be served at a wedding reception?
A: The type of food served at a wedding reception should reflect your personal tastes, as well as the time of day and the number of guests. For an evening reception, a full dinner is typically served, while a lighter lunch or brunch may be more appropriate during the day.
In conclusion, the wedding reception is the most important part of the day (what’s a PB&J without the P), and it’s essential to get it just right. With the right venue, menu, music, decorations, and entertainment, we’re sure that your wedding reception will be a party to remember.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]