how to plan a wedding reception

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  • How to Plan A Wedding Reception

  • How to Plan a Wedding


    Planning your wedding reception can take a lot of effort and it

    all begins with deciding on the location of the reception and

    the type of reception. Fear not, it's a fairly methodical process

    provided you're aware of which things need to be covered and

    what's more, you can have a lot of fun with it too!

  • 1 Set the date for your wedding before you actually start

    looking for locations for the reception. Keep in mind that

    many sites are booked a year or even two in advance, so you

    may need to fine tune the date decision dependent on the

    availability of your desired reception location, or be ready to

    change to a different reception venue.

    Budgeting for the reception

  • 1 Set down your budget. This is the next big thing, since

    planning your wedding reception will bring forth the biggest

    expense. When you go to rent the reception hall, you'll have

    to give a rounded figure of approximately how

    many guests you're likely to have. Therefore, an important

    part of any planning of the wedding reception involves pruning

    down your reception list; this will also bring about an

  • estimation of the costs per head, according to the size of the

    room and your requirements too.

    Deciding on key elements of a reception

    1 Decide whether you will have an indoor or an outdoor

    reception. Obviously, if want an outdoor event, you'll have to

  • consider the possibility of rain ruining your plan, therefore,

    keep a hidden ace up your sleeve just in case.

    The season is crucial, particularly if you're on a tight budget.

    Planning your wedding reception in winter, at the end of

    January for instance, will save money or earn you a discount.

    In some cases, planning your wedding reception requires you

    choose between Saturday and Sunday as the most

    convenient days of the week; sometimes Sunday is less


  • 2 Decide on the type of reception you'd like to

    have. Nowadays the two main types of reception are sit-down

    meal or cocktail party, but other variants such as picnics, a

    simple cake-cutting, or a beach reception might also appeal.

    Here are some things to consider in relation to different

    reception types:

    Sit-down: It's traditional, guests tend to really appreciate it and

    it works well for speeches. On the downside, it can feel stuffy

    and over-planned. It can also be the most expensive option.

    Cocktail reception: It's hip and modern, and it's also enjoyed a

    lot by guests. It may cost a lot less than a sit-down, but it can

    suffer from feeling a bit disorganized and hard to gain the

    attention of guests for cake cutting and toasts.

    Picnic: Great for nature-loving couples, and easy to arrange

    catering can be done using your local favorite sandwich place.

    Since it's outdoors, there can be a risk of rain and some

    people might find this too informal for a wedding.

    Simple cake cutting: For those leaving the registry office, a

    simple affair of cutting a cake in the foyer, or in a local cafe or

    even at home might be enough to finish up the occasion with

  • friends who have attended it. This tends to be suitable for very

    small parties and for people who really didn't want to have

    any reception fuss at all. Have tea, coffee, and few cookies or

    cupcakes as well.

    Beach or yacht reception: Like a picnic, this is outdoors and

    risks a change of weather but it can be a lot of fun and make

    for beautiful photos. Again, it may be too informal for some

    and sand or water may definitely get everywhere!

  • 3 Consider whether or not you'll have a receiving line. On

    the positive side, this can provide an opportunity to greet all

    guests and allows everyone to feel they've had the chance to

    congratulate you. On the downside, it can take a lot of time

    and it can begin to feel tiring for those on it. Some guests may

    also detest the formality of this and having to wait in line.

    Having divorced parents can also make this an awkward

    decision for some.

    If you do have one, this is the order: Bride's mother or

    parents, groom's mother or parents, bride, groom, maid of

    honor, then bridesmaids.

  • 4 Consider whether you'd like to be announced as you

    enter the reception. This can be a lot of fun and can be done

    simply and easily by the DJ or bandleader, saying something

    like "Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the newlyweds

    Bob and Billie (or Mr and Mrs)", and you can then take your

    places for dinner.

  • 5 Decide when to have the toasts and plan to keep

    them short. While these are both traditional and wonderful,

    they're a pain when they're too long, too maudlin, rude, or just

    plain dull. Make the toasts during or between dinner courses,

    with two or three people speaking each time.

    Ask all toasters to keep it short and have someone in the

    wedding party time keep - and be strict about it too.

  • The bride and groom can speak just before cutting the cake.

    6 Decide when dancing will occur. Nowadays most weddings

    tend to leave the dancing until all courses are finished rather

    than having dances between courses. Besides your special

    song, be sure to have songs people will really want to dance

    to, not strange songs that only suit the taste of a few.

  • Does the bride wish to dance with her father? You could have

    a father and daughter dance session included.

    7 Organize the photography of the reception. You will want

    reception photos as much as the ceremony photos. Organize

    pictures with family and friends, in special groups or at certain


    Do you want guests to take photos too? They could each be

    asked to email digital photos of the evening that they've

    taken; give them a central wedding photo email set up just for

    this purpose.

    8 Consider whether you wish to have any other ceremonial

    aspects. For example, you might wish to have the garter belt

    removal tradition in front of the guests. And you might wish to

    throw the flowers at your reception, as per tradition.

  • Sorting out the seating

    1 Work out seating. If you're planning a sit-down dinner,

    seating can grow to be a bit of headache so it pays to focus

    on it early enough.

    The bride and groom can sit at the dais or raised platform at

    whatever goes for being the "front" of the room. The bridal

    party sits with them and they all face the rest of the room. This

    is not as popular as it once was, as placing the table amid the

  • guests is beginning to take on a more acceptable and modern


    Parents tend to be seated with other, or they can have

    respective family and friends at their tables.

    Elderly people shouldn't be seated too near anything that

    makes noise.

    Consider using place cards to help people know where they're

    going to sit. It's not essential but it can be very helpful. In

    doing this, take great pains to avoid seating people who don't

    get along next to one another

    Planning the food

  • 1 Choose the food. There will always be some people with

    dietary restrictions, so be prepared to provide vegetarian,

    gluten-free, and other variants as needed. It's a good idea to

    have asked guests in advance for advice concerning allergies.

    A cocktail reception will usually on have nibbles and finger

    foods but still have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian

  • options available. Decide how many courses you want for a

    sit-down dinner and be sure to check this against your budget.

    Sit-down dinners usually have menus printed up for them.

    The method of food service needs to be decided - buffet style

    (help yourself) or serving at a table? There are also variants

    such as placing larger servings on the table for guests to help

    themselves from (family - or Russian service if the waiter

    holds the food), or plated (arrives at table already done), or

    French (waiters serve at the table), etc.

    2 Choose where the wedding cake will be placed during the

    reception. Decide when it will be cut.

    Do you want guests to share the cake as part of dessert or to

    take a piece home instead? Perhaps both?

    Ensure that the photographer is organized to take a photo of

    you cutting the cake.

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