Planning a wedding reception is exciting and daunting at the same time. This is the event that your guests look forward to, which demands you plan it well. When done right, wedding receptions are very memorable, and you do want your guests to remember yours fondly.
If you are a creative person, there is plenty you can do at your wedding reception. People remember unique wedding reception themes best. However, the cost climbs quickly with each idea you implement. Nonetheless, there are certain essentials for a reception that you shouldn’t overlook. Let us look at these wedding reception essentials that you must have to guarantee a good day.
Table of Contents
An Original Theme
There are plenty of original ideas you can adopt for your wedding day. Nonetheless, as a couple, you should be able to identify with the theme you choose. If you think of it, specific pieces are more trendy than others in each season. Every year, from the Great Gatsby theme in 2015 to vintage glamour in 2017, it introduces us to new and exciting pieces. While there is no harm in picking one of these for your wedding, ensure you do something special with it. In other ways, you should ensure you make it your own. Although you will find inspiration in magazines, on the internet or even at other weddings, try to add your unique touches to the theme you choose.
Avoid a cookie-cutter wedding by adding a personal flavour to the theme, whether with the colour palette, patterns or details. Or better still, stay away from the trends and find a theme that reflects who you are as a couple. It could be based on your hobbies, what you like to do together or even on your love story.
The Perfect Venue
The term “perfect” is subjective, for different factors appeal to other couples. However, let us concern ourselves with the wedding guests for now. In their eyes, the perfect venue will be easy to find, comfortable to settle into and welcoming with its ambiance and décor. This venue should also have enough space to accommodate your entire guest list. It shouldn’t be too cramped but should have enough room for lounging, dancing and relaxing.
Apart from these factors, the venue must match the theme of your wedding. Only then will it become the perfect backdrop for your event. Since the choicest media tend to get booked quickly, this should be one of your priority wedding planning tasks. Therefore, start looking at potential venues as soon as you decide on your wedding theme. For more tips on choosing the right platform for your reception, visit this post on the Brides website.
A few signature appetizers are all it takes to nail that first impression. After all, the entrees give your guests a heads-up of what to expect in the food and drink department. Even while the rest of the meal is standard fare, interesting appetizers can pep up the menu. Small, bite-sized food items make a strong impression. It is also the best way to serve your favourite dishes if they aren’t suitable as the main course.
Don’t forget to make the presentation of your entrees impressive. This will add to its appeal, and your guests will be amazed by the attention to detail. Make the entire set-up festive and fun by adding a few unique drinks to the mix. If you want some inspiration to get the ball rolling, here are some ideas on the Brides website.
Your wedding reception décor creates the first impression of the event that follows. So, don’t hesitate to pull all stops to make it striking. Of course, depending on your budget, there are different ways to bring your theme alive. The good news is that you will come across numerous options with unique personalities and flavours with a bit of research and planning.
While there is no harm in DIY-ing most details, it can tax your time and effort. In all-inclusive wedding packages, the décor is usually taken care of. However, you can always add small signature touches to this and ensure your wedding has its elements. If you have hired a wedding planner, you have the right person on board to guide you with the right décor that works within your budget and has the desired impact. One important thing to remember is that it is easy to go overboard or become overwhelmed by the many options available. Stop when you find the right balance, and don’t add too many details that will be lost in the clutter.
Centrepieces are an essential element in wedding décor. However, these are also more important than most of the other items in your décor. This is because your guests will be seeing the centrepieces up close for a significant part of the evening. So, the better you execute it, the more impressive it will be. While your centrepieces should follow the theme, you can add unique touches to give it a signature effect.
Exercise your creativity and vary the designs across the tables for more appeal. Whether you choose towering centrepieces or ones that spread out, make sure the arrangement is neat and give each item its space. The centrepieces should also be high up or below eye level, not obstruct the view. Finally, don’t overdo the details. Since your guests will sit close to it, it can look cluttered if there are too many details.
A Great Menu
Just as with signature appetizers, a good menu will make the wedding memorable. Food is one of the things that your guests will look forward to most. So, don’t disappoint. Find a caterer who consistently delivers and has the equipment, resources, and knowledge to perfect your chosen menu. Don’t forget to match the food to the theme in terms of colours, flavour or choice of dishes. This will tie it to the wedding beautifully. Also, pay attention to the presentation. It doesn’t matter how tasty an item is; if it doesn’t look good, it will fail to create the right impression.
Don’t forget to find the right drink mix for your plan meal. Since drinks complement the meal, choose them carefully. Remember that your guests will have different palates and varying preferences. Keep this in mind and choose a variety of dishes and drinks so there is something to please everyone.
The entertainment for the evening can make or break your wedding reception. So, don’t skimp on this part. Whether you hire a band or a DJ, make sure you check reviews and watch a CD or attend one of their actual performances. It would be best if you were confident that they would keep the group entertained all evening long.
When hiring entertainment, remember that your guests will be from different age groups with varying likes and dislikes. So, plan your playlist in such a way that there is something for everyone. For example, mix new and fast numbers with classics so that everyone can join in the fun. Also, remember that the bandleader or DJ will primarily handle the announcements of the different events like cutting the cake and the first dance. So, coordinate with this person to make sure your reception progresses as per schedule. Also, discuss your specific do’s and don’ts and ensure that the guests have a good time with no unexpected issues.
Games are a great way to break the ice and to help your guests enjoy the evening. It is also a way to get bored guests involved keep themselves busy between events. Please make a list of games that will appeal to all, whether they are young or old. Consider space constraints when making your choice. While certain games like musical chairs can be played indoors and outdoors, it requires plenty of space.
You will also have to coordinate with the wedding party in advance to make sure the games progress smoothly. Brief them on what to arrange, where to be and what to do, so they know their roles. This will help the event to proceed without hitches and your guests to have fun.
You may have good food and a beautiful presentation, but the service matters too. Unless catering arrangements at your wedding progress smoothly and on time, your guests may end up dissatisfied. Make sure you discuss this factor with the team in action.
If your guests pick their food from a pre-defined menu, ensure everything is recorded and done correctly. There may be guests with specific dietary requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure their needs are adhered to. So, cross-check this with the catering manager. Prompt and cordial service and pleasant staff will ensure your event progresses smoothly and your guests are happy with how the day turns out to be.
After your wedding day is long gone, the photos will remind you of the fun day that it was. Have your special day documented in full style by hiring the services of an efficient and talented wedding photographer. He should make it a point to cover all the guests at the event. This will serve as a reminder of all those who attended this momentous occasion in your life.
While the photography should be fun, it shouldn’t compete for time with the rest of the events. No guest will like to attend an event where they barely get to chat with the couple. Discuss this with your photographer in advance. Set up specific slots of time during the day that you can dedicate to taking photographs. Also, discuss how you want your photos to look, and your photographer can plan his shots to reflect your taste. For more ideas on what to look for in a wedding photographer, look at this article on The Knot.
Interaction With The Guests
Although it is your special day, you must acknowledge all those who participate in it. Irrespective of whether a guest flew in from a distant location for your wedding or just stepped in from next door, what matters is that they made it to your wedding. It is only suitable that you spare a few minutes to chat with each of them and thank them for their time and effort.
You and your spouse can pop by at each reception table and engage in small talk with the guests. Say your thanks, give a few compliments and be courteous. Keep it brief and move on to the following table after few minutes. You can then cover the entire lot in a minimum time. Your guests will appreciate this small dose of attention.
Planning a wedding is a detail-oriented, time-consuming and laborious task. Several details can make or break an entire wedding planning event. Nevertheless, with proper planning and execution, a wedding can progress smoothly from start to end.
At Best for Bride, we try to relieve the bride’s stress to a great extent by giving her all she needs for her wedding under one roof. From bridal dress collections to bridesmaids’ dresses, mother of the bride dresses, bridal accessories, emergency kits and more, we have all you need for your special day. So take a look at our website and see what we have to offer.
Summary for the Perfect Wedding: Tips for a Memorable Theme, Venue, Décor, Menu and More
- An Original Theme
- Identify with the theme as a couple
- Add personal touches to the theme
- Base theme on hobbies, interests, or love story
- Avoid cookie-cutter weddings
- The Perfect Venue
- Easy to find, comfortable, and welcoming
- Enough space for guests
- Matches wedding theme
- Book quickly as popular venues get booked fast
- Garden Themed Wedding
- Delicious Appetizers
- Bite-sized food items
- Impress with presentation and unique drinks
- Delicious Appetizers
- Impressive Décor
- Creates first impression of event
- Plenty of options with research and planning
- Hire wedding planner for guidance
- Avoid clutter and overdoing details
- Beautiful Centerpieces
- Essential part of wedding décor
- Up close view for guests
- Vary designs across tables
- Avoid overdoing details and obstructing view
- A Great Menu
- Memorable food for guests
- Choose caterer who consistently delivers
- Match food to theme in colour, flavour, and presentation
- Choose drinks to complement the meal
FAQ – Wedding Reception
What is the difference between a wedding ceremony and a wedding reception?
The objective of each function is the most significant distinction between the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception. The objective of the wedding ceremony is to legally and officially marry the couple. The wedding reception, on the other hand, is a gathering to commemorate the couple’s union.
When it comes to wedding receptions, what is the standard order?
The best man usually speaks first, followed by the maid of honour and parents of either spouse (traditionally, the father of the bride speaks first, although any parent/host can speak).
Is a wedding reception lasting 4 hours long enough?
Cocktails, food, toasts, and, of course, dancing are all part of a normal wedding reception, which lasts around 4-5 hours.
Is it a party at the reception?
A wedding reception is a gathering conducted after a wedding ceremony as hospitality for people who have attended the wedding, thus the term reception: the couple receives society for the first time as a married couple in the form of family and friends.
What exactly is a reception gown?
A reception dress is a separate gown worn by the bride for the reception. This is a great wedding trend since it allows you to wear a comfy, beautiful outfit while yet maintaining a more formal appearance for the ceremony (and your photos).