From Start To Finish – A Complete Guide To The Perfect Wedding Reception

Planning a wedding is not, all things considered, likely to be the most relaxing few months you spend as a couple. Let’s get that out of the way right now. There are going to be lows along the way, but just bear in mind there will also be highs. At the end of it all is the biggest high of

all, as you join together with the one you love the most. It’s going to be important to remember that because, from time to time, you’ll wonder why you’re doing it all.Image Credit – PixaBay

The ceremony itself is something that can be sorted out with a bit of communication and forward planning. You need a date first – or at least an idea of when it will be. You may not want to set it in stone because the venue you want might not be available then. So you should pick a date and a venue at roughly the same time. Then you need to figure out your guest list to fit that site.
In picking a venue, it’s worth bearing in mind that the done thing these days is to not invite everyone to the ceremony. Pick a certain number of people who have reason to want to be there for the whole caboodle. Then add to that list the people who you want to be at the reception even if they can’t be at the wedding. And often, it’s the reception that takes most work to get off the ground.
Greeting Your Guests – Hospitality Counts
We’ve all seen TV shows which lead us through a happy couple’s wedding, planned to a theme. In these, it is never enough just to have the guests walk into the venue and find their seats. No, they must be greeted. Depending on the theme, you could have a carnival barker welcoming them, or a mime. More conventionally, an usher to greet them and show them to the room and their seats will work just fine.
It’s up to you how much you elaborate on this process. People can be welcomed with glasses of champagne, canapes or with a drinks waiter ready to take their order. Either way, by the time they sit down they should be happy that they have been met with affection and style.
The Meal – Gather Information Well In Advance
Have you ever tried to feed several hundred people at once? Maybe, maybe not. If you haven’t, have you ever worked as a waiter or kitchen staff? The reason for asking is because that’s the best way to get an idea for what planning a sit-down meal is like. Say there’re a few hundred people there. That means there will be on average at least six vegetarians. There will be some who cannot eat gluten, too.
In point of fact, there will be numerous people there with dietary preferences or requirements. Collect this information as you invite the guests, because sitting down to a medium rare steak will delight some and horrify others. And you can’t just say the salmon en croute is gluten-free. People with a food intolerance will know if it’s a lie. These things have a way of demonstrating themselves.
Also, you need to pay attention to table settings. The simplest decision is to make sure they fit the venue. If your aesthetic is “barn dance“, something rustic with long tables and woven cloths will work. If it’s smoother and cleaner, crisp linen cloths and napkins are better. The good news is that the experts know what to provide, and there are many options on table napkins for weddings to consider.
Your wedding needs a dance floor; that much is non-negotiable. People haven’t got all dressed up and booked the next day off work to sit quietly for the evening. You do need to decide if you’ll hire a wedding band, or a DJ, or both. And here’s a word of advice: although “Every Breath You Take” is a popular wedding song, read the lyrics. It’s not a happy love song. Or “When A Man Loves A Woman“. Just no.
You need to decide whether you are going to have a free bar at the reception – at a small intimate wedding this will cost a bit, but be appreciated. At a larger wedding, it could well require a small mortgage. You can compromise by including the bar in the cost of the venue, and/or by having it be free for two or three drinks per guest. Consider also the fact that the more free drinks there are, the more the event could be sullied by childish behavior.
Gift Bags
There has been something of a fashion in recent years for handing out gift bags at the end of an event. This is something you can choose to continue or not. Some people feel that having fed, entertained and plied their guests with drinks, that’s enough. You’ve got the hospitality bit covered, surely? But if you feel the need to add gift bags to the mix, then you can do them, and go many ways with them.
Again, think volume in deciding what to hand out. And in deciding when to hand them out, consider what you’re putting in there. A lot of people, for example, like to put disposable cameras in so that everyone can take photos. And if you’ve got a few hundred attendees, miniatures of champagne for everyone will take the cost into the stratosphere. Make the gifts sweet but inexpensive.

At the end of the day this is a ceremony, and an event, to celebrate you both. It should ideally not leave you facing bankruptcy, or sat in your honeymoon suite totting up credit card bills. By all means, go big on it – particularly if someone else has offered to foot the bill for a huge reception. Don’t feel you have the need to put on a ceremony to rival royalty, though. They have bottomless bank accounts and don’t have to pay for anything anyway.
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