Two main events happen during a wedding day. First is the ceremony. This is when the bride and groom officially become one as a married couple. The second event is the reception. Wedding receptions typically are a time to bring family and friends together and celebrate. Money is not needed to have a good time. Just make sure the basics are covered.
Must haves for a wedding reception:
- Drinks – Everyone needs to drink. Listed by least expensive first: water, iced tea, coffee, and soda. Beer, wine, and hard liquor are also options but they will cost more.
- Food – A Reception should always include cake. As the saying goes – A party without cake is just a meeting. Food can involve a buffet, pot luck, and four-course meal.
- Location – Where is the reception going to be held? Back yard, park, hotel ballroom, museum?
- Guests – If there is no one there to celebrate you day, then why have a reception?
Everything else not listed above is as we would say icing on the cake. Spend your money wisely and you can have the wedding of your dreams that fits into your budget.
What’s the most important step in planning a wedding reception? Yes, planning it ahead of time and sticking to your agenda. As the saying goes – “Fail to plan and plan to fail”. Keep in mind that the wedding reception will be the majority of your wedding budget and planning effort.
Wedding reception plan of action:
- Pick a date and time of the reception
- Select a location including number of guests. theme, and style. Get it under contract. A location can be all-inclusive, where everything is provided from the food to the tables and chairs, or another option is just renting the facility, like a brewery, where you can cater everything yourself. Lastly is a location that is a combination of the two. Be sure to inspect the facility in person and take pictures.
- Set a budget
- Who is paying for what? Are parents helping pay for expenses?
- Plan a guest list. This will greatly affect the budget.
- Set a floor plan – tables, musicians, cake table, buffet, gift table, guest book table, etc.
- Set a timing guideline for the reception so you know how the night will flow.
- Figure out the best route for guests to find the location of the reception from the ceremony.
Tips of finding the perfect site:
- Plan early as good spots are booked months and sometimes years in advance.
- The most popular day for a wedding is Saturday – afternoons and evenings.
- Know the popular wedding months for your area. Typically May to October.
- You MUST know an estimate number of guests before starting your search. This will drastically affect reception location options.
A last word on the reception. Wedding receptions are to celebrate a marriage with family and friends. The main focus should remain on the bride and groom throughout the reception as the wedding day is their day to shine.
About the Author:
Matt Campbell is the webmaster of WeddingMuseum.com. He and his wife, Sharon, operate WeddingMuseum.com to help wedding planners plan weddings for free.