Good wedding party planning requires giving as much attention to the wedding reception as one would to the actual marriage ceremony. The reception should be as beautiful and special as the ceremony itself. It should be a time after the ceremony when the wedding party and all invited guests can relax and gather together to eat, dance and celebrate with the newlyweds.
Though planning a wedding party isn’t hard, often due to how busy the couple is planning the wedding itself, not surprisingly some important wedding reception details are neglected. If you want to have a smashing wedding reception, consider these wedding party planning tips:
Start early. Weddings, including the reception, should be planned months before the big day. The very first thing you need to do is choose the location. If you don’t choose early, you may find the place you want isn’t available. Many popular sites are booked months, even a year or more, in advance. Also, consider the distance your guests will need to travel from the wedding site; consider the space needed for your number of guests, and of course the amount you are willing to spend. Make sure you have room for all the needed guest tables, a good location for any entertainers, and adequate spacing for dancing, plus room for everyone to mingle comfortably.
Go with the motif. Weddings typically have motifs that include a dominant color, such as matching colors of the table cloths, seat covers, napkins, flowers, centerpieces, and other decorations. Planning this carefully can really add a special touch.
Plan the menu. Plan well in advance a list of what food you want to serve. To the extent possible consider the dietary restrictions of older guests, thus include low fat/low sugar food. You can hire a caterer or self-cater with the help of family and friends. For beverages, you can hire a bartender, or just set up a drink/wine station, budget permitting. Your facility may also provide food choices as part of an overall wedding package. If they offer different main dishes for the same event you can request your guests to RVSP their choice in your wedding invitations.
Plan entertainment. Make a list of songs you want for dances and background music. Certainly you will want to select your favorite love songs. Make sure your MC or DJ plays your songs, not his! (Oh yes, part of wedding party planning is arranging for an MC or DJ, but to save on expense this can be a gregarious family member.) Ready a microphone for the MC and guests who want to give well-wishes, as well as thank you expressions you’d like to make yourself. Bring your own sound equipment, unless you’ve tested the equipment at the site and confirmed it is in very good working order. You may be disappointed if you don’t. Have you, like me, been to a reception where the sound snaps, crackles and pops?
Be organized. Not only should you prepare an orderly program for your MC to follow, but make sure that your guests know where to sit. Be sure to organize the seating arrangement. Group together your wedding party, close family members, and then arrange for your other guests to sit with those with whom they will be comfortable. Don’t put Aunt Molly and your Uncle Stew who haven’t spoken in years at the same table. It will also help if you can provide little name cards on a table near the entrance that tell each guest their assigned table.
Seek professional help. Planning your wedding can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. If you don’t know where to begin, a professional wedding planner can help. Years of industry experience give them good knowledge of the best vendors (e.g. wedding cakes, wines, catering services) in the market. They know not only the best venues for a wedding location, but also the best ways to satisfy your vision for your wedding reception.
Wedding receptions are traditionally held as hospitality to the guests. This act is symbolic of the acceptance into society of the newlyweds as a “couple.” It is also a celebration held in their honor. Therefore, make it special! What I said at the outset bears repeating: Give its planning as much thought and effort as the wedding itself.