Things to consider when planning your reception

Receptions are THE fun bit of the wedding – after all, there aren’t wedding crashers for nothing!  Like every part of your wedding they take thinking about and careful planning.  Here are 25 things we think you should consider when planning your reception –

  1. One of the first things to think about is how much you can afford to spend. Whether your budget is £1000 or £100,000, you can be sure that there are wedding venues and services out there that will suit your needs and are within budget.
  2. Venue is key  – is there enough room for everything you need or will you need a marquee or extra space?
  3. An all-white theme won’t work in a hotel papered in floral wallpaper, nor does it make sense to try to transform a rustic lodge into the Crystal Palace – make sure your theme will work this the fabric of your venue.
  4. Enlist help.  If you don’t have an event planner on hand, find a cool-headed relative or close friend to ask guests to be seated for dinner, help organise toasts, and handle any problems.
  5. If you have elderly relatives or friends with disabilities make sure there is clear disabled access.
  6. Toasts and Speeches can be fun or extremely tiresome if they are not kept short.  Often times it is also hard to hear everything if the venue is big and the people are plentiful.  Make sure you plan accordingly, and, above all, choose people to talk whom you know will be respectful of you and your special day.
  7. The menu for your wedding reception can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be, depending on your wedding budget and the style of your party. You might want to stick to simpler dishes for an informal reception, or more gourmet dishes for a formal reception.
  8. Do you want a dress code?
  9. Are you going to have a disco, a wedding singer a band or maybe just create a playlist yourself?
  10. Do you want to have children there?  If you don’t, don’t feel guilty but make it VERY clear in your invites.
  11. What items will you need to hire and what items will be provided by your wedding venue.
  12. What type of seating chart are you going to have?  Seating charts are a good way to remind yourself of everyone you have invited – when planning you can either organise people with those they know, or switch things around a little bit to create some new introductions.
  13. Decide if you are going to have a receiving line:  Some think this makes things too awkward or formal, while others believe it is a nice way to be able to congratulate the new couple without having to interrupt them at another time
  14. Wedding favours –  it is nice to give your guests a little thank you, as well as something to remember to let them keep from your special day.  Think about this ahead of time so you can either order or make them yourself.
  15. Before your reception, get a nice blank book that guests can write a little something in for you to read after your wedding.  Do not forget a nice pen or pens!
  16. Provide a variety of phone chargers:  In the modern world this is a necessity.  Believe us everyone will love you for it.
  17. For later in the evening provide flat shoes/flip flops for dancing or wraps if it’s a winter wedding
  18. Do you want wedding insurance?
  19. Make sure there’s plenty of parking. If parking is a problem, look for other ways to get everyone to the party. Can a shuttle bus or taxis take guests from the ceremony to the reception? Can guests car share?
  20. Timings – Although your wedding reception is a special time for you and your family, many guests will be tired toward the end of the reception. The idea length of time for a reception is four or five hours.
  21. Unexpected entertainment is wonderful when your guests tire of dancing. A photo booth, a magician, or a chill out area can offer a lovely surprise for your guests.
  22. Do you want to have a gift list or have guests bring a gift with them? Decide where any gifts be placed and provide a secure area for cards that may have money in them.
  23. Will any bar bills or reception costs need to be paid at the wedding? Who will take the gifts home from the reception? Will anyone need to cleanup or pack up once the bride and groom leave the wedding reception to start their honeymoon?
  24. Do you want to leave earlier so you can have a formal send off with all your guests saying their goodbyes?  If you do, make sure there is someone to facilitate the timing of this and provide whatever items you want them to use e.g. sparklers.
  25. And finally – all you need to do now is enjoy!

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