How to plan the perfect wedding reception

You have to take a lot of practical things into consideration, like choosing the number of guests, booking the venue, and co-coordinating the arrival of the flowers, cake, and other necessary items. But there’s another side to wedding reception planning as well: the creative side. It differs greatly from person to person, but that’s the beauty of the occasion. You want a celebration that reflects you, your partner, your tastes, and your relationship.


One of the first things to do when planning a wedding reception is to decide who will be invited. The number of guests you are inviting to your wedding reception will affect many other decisions you make in your planning process. Your budget, of course, plays a big role in this decision, so you, your fiancé, and anyone else helping to pay for the wedding will have to determine a workable number. 


Now that you know how many guests you’re having, you can figure out the location of your reception. You’ll have to first decide whether the wedding ceremony and reception will be held in the same place, or whether they will take place at separate venues. When choosing a venue, you should ask a lot of questions. Does the place have in-house catering? Does it have a sound system for the band or DJ or will you have to rent one? Is there adequate parking? What is their cancellation policy?

Then there are the aesthetic factors. Does the venue look clean and stylish, and does it suit your wedding’s theme? Is there anywhere attractive (like a staircase or park) to take your photos? If in-house catering is offered, be sure to taste the food, as even a beautiful venue can produce less than ideal food options.


Wedding receptions can range from very basic to over-the-top glamorous and everywhere in between. Many venues and vendors bundle their services into convenient packages that include many of the basic items most couples want at their reception—a beer and wine bar, DJ, food, basic table linens, etc.—and they will often offer additions and upgrades. You just have to decide which extras you want and which you can afford. This will have a lot to do with your personal preferences. Are you a flower-lover? A foodie? There may be an area or two where you want to go big. 


Choosing the right date is important, as is planning in advance. Generally, a small, casual wedding will take less time to put together, but if you’re planning a medium to large event, a destination wedding, or any wedding during “wedding season” (typically May through October), you’ll want to secure your venue and wedding services far enough in advance so that you’re not shut out. 

You may have heard that having your wedding on a Friday evening or Sunday afternoon, late in the fall or during the winter months (with the exception of December, which is pretty popular for throwing holiday-themed wedding bashes) will save you a pretty penny, and this is true! The demand for wedding services drops drastically during these times, so why not use them to your advantage? By going against the grain, you will discover that you have more options and flexibility when it comes to dates and rates for venues and wedding services.  


Dreaming of the perfect wedding reception is easy; executing all that needs to be done to make it happen is another matter entirely. A good wedding plan is essential to help your day go as smoothly as possibly. The reception is usually the part of the event that requires the most planning, preparation and expense, so being organized is essential.

You can make a detailed list of the things you’ll need to purchase, book, and plan for your big day. It’s usually best to plan a year in advance, if possible, so you can spread the preparations out over a reasonable period of time and not feel rushed.

Some brides prefer to hire a wedding planner to help organize the event. The best part is you can decide how involved they will be. Do you have a flair for interior design, but would rather not deal with negotiating rates for wedding services? If this is the case, you can decide to take charge of the décor, while your wedding planner uses their know-how and connections to find you the best deals in town.  


Because you love each other, of course! But the “why” in this context refers to the “meaning” you want to express through your reception. This gathering is the heart and soul of your relationship, and you want it to reflect that. You should take into consideration any religious, cultural, or family significance you’d like to weave into your reception plan. Think hard about the décor, music, and food. Listen to your intuition on these matters, but be sure to include your fiancé in the decision-making process! 

Regardless of how you choose to arrange the celebration, a wedding reception celebrates the pledge you made to one another at the marriage ceremony. It’s a great way to start your new life together with joy and positive energy from all of your loved ones.