How To Have Your Dream Reception

Wedding Reception

Your Dream Wedding Reception

A Wedding Reception should be a fun event for everyone.  It’s important for the guests to enjoy themselves.  As you are planning the reception, think in terms of “What would the guests expect?”.  Of course your budget will determine the type of services you include in the reception.  Many wedding venues provide a number of the services in their package.  Taking advantage of what the venue offers can be a huge time saver for you during the planning process.

Everyone has a style all their own.  You certainly want to showcase yours at your wedding reception. Be sure the venue is able to accommodate what it will take for you to create that style, be sure you have the time built into your package the day of the wedding for decorating, and be sure and have enough people available to help.  Based upon experience, here are a few tips and things to consider when planning your reception.  Tips that will ensure you have the Wedding Reception of your Dreams.

Wedding Coordinator/Announcer:  This is an important part of the reception.  I’ve seen too many times where the couple is on a budget and rely on a family member to facilitate the traditional ceremonies.  The Introduction into the Hall, the Toast, Cake Cutting, Special Dances, Bouquet & Garter Toss, and ending up with the “Send-Off.  If your venue doesn’t provide a Wedding Coordinator that is trained to facilitate these ceremonies, hire a professional. The entire event will flow much smoother.

Music:  Music is an important part of the reception.  If you have the budget, hire a professional DJ or Band that is experienced with wedding receptions. Not all of them are.  A “true” professional DJ that is experienced with wedding receptions will be able to facilitate the entire event for you.  This could possibly eliminate the need for a Wedding Coordinator.  Ask them to describe the role they played at prior receptions.  This should let you know whether they are a Facilitator and Announcer, or if their expertise is in operating the equipment and playing the music.

Food:  We get asked questions regularly about what types of food is appropriate to offer.  Due to budget constraints more couples are asking about “cake & punch” receptions.  A “cake & punch” reception is absolutely appropriate at the right time of day.  Typically mid-afternoon.  A Sunday afternoon works best.  But, if the reception is being held around a meal time, the guests expect to be served food that is appropriate for the time of day.  Finger foods are fine for a mid-day and afternoon reception.  But you should plan on offering your guests a full meal in the evenings.

Alcohol:  If alcohol is being offered during the reception, food must be served. You can’t do a “cake & punch” reception and offer alcohol to the guests.  If children are going to be in attendance, you might consider assigning someone in your group to ensure that the children are being supervised.  What tends to happen is that people who don’t drink alcohol very often may feel the effects of the alcohol pretty quickly.  If they have children, the “smart youngsters” notice that mom & dad are having a good time and not paying attention to what they are doing.  Leaving the potential for injury or property damage.

Amount of Time:  Many wedding venues offer access to their facility for a specific amount of time.  Their basic package may be enough time for a simple reception but not enough time for what you are planning.  Be sure the venue understands the type of reception you envision.  Ask them if their basic package includes a sufficient amount of time. They will know.  If there is any question, add an additional hour or 2 to your package.  Don’t wait until a month before the reception to find out that they are no longer able to accommodate additional time.  With all the planning effort and expense that is going into your reception, the last thing you want is to feel rushed for time.

Help from Family & Friends or “Day of’ Coordination Support:  Make sure you have the help needed for delivering supplies, for decorating, and cleaning up at the end of the event.  You DON’T want to be the person loading your personal items at the end of the reception.  Family & friends want to participate in the reception.  Take that into consideration and don’t overwhelm any one person so that they aren’t able to enjoy themselves.  If the venue doesn’t provide the support for coordinating outside vendors and deliveries, consider hiring a Professional Wedding Coordinator.  You may only need “Day of” Coordination support.  This support would allow your family and friends to enjoy the event as they would take care of all the details for you.

With all of the wedding receptions we’ve experienced over the past years, my profession advice is that you understand the following before you book your reception venue:

  • Is the staff friendly and enthusiastic about your upcoming wedding & reception?
  • Do they respond to your phone calls and emails within a few hours – not days, but hours?
  • Does the venue offer the type of package and services that you need?  Can they provide a list of the items included in their package?  Do they offer upgrades to their basic package?
  • Is the price of their package within your budget?  Have you taken into consideration whether sales tax and/or a service charge will be added to the total cost?  Do they charge a cake cutting fee?
  • Does the facility have guidelines on decorating?
  • Will the venue coordinate with vendors that you may hire?  Photographer, Caterer, DJ, etc.  Do they have specific guidelines or requirements for outside vendors?
  • What type of facilities do they have available for outside caterers?
  • Do you understand exactly when you and your vendors have access to the facility for the rehearsal and the day of the wedding?
  • Will there be other events happening on the day of your rehearsal and/or reception?
  • Can the facility accommodate the maximum number of guests you would expect?  How many guests can they accommodate for “table seating” and how many guests can they accommodate for a “cocktail and/or cake & punch” reception?
  • What type of electronic equipment is available?  Stereo system, microphones, projectors, etc.  If not available, can they accommodate these items being brought in?

Keep in mind that everyone wants you to have your “Dream Reception”.  No one wins if there are mis-communications that keep your dream from becoming a reality.  Communication is key.  Remember, it is a bad reflection on the facility if anyone including the guests leave unhappy.  They will not intentionally misrepresent what they can accommodate.  Both you and the facility should gather enough information before writing that contract to ensure you are a good “fit” for each other.

Article Submitted By:

Carolyn Brister
Special Moments Chapel
a place for Weddings, Receptions, Special Occasions in Lewisville, TX

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