7 Tips for planning the perfect wedding reception

There’s plenty that goes into planning the ceremony part of your wedding, from the dress to the venue, flower arrangements, bridesmaids and groomsmen and the rings and everything else in between. But for most of your guests, the reception is the part that everybody is really looking forward to. The wedding reception is the perfect opportunity for everybody important in your lives to be brought together to celebrate the union of you as a couple, and with the right amount of planning, it can easily be the best night of your life and for many of your wedding guests too.

Planning your wedding reception can take a lot of preparation, organisation, and collaboration. There will be vendors to work with, seating arrangements to be made and menus to be planned. We’ve put together a handy guide to everything that you need to know when planning your wedding reception, from finding a suitable venue to making sure that everybody is seated.

Choosing a Wedding Reception Venue

If you’ve not got a venue for your ceremony that includes a hall or other area where you can hold your reception afterwards, you will need to find a suitable venue for the wedding party. Ideally, you will want to find somewhere that is quite close to your ceremony venue; it’s worth considering options for guests who might not be driving; if you need to drive to get to your reception venue, will somebody be able to provide lifts for anybody on foot, or will you book taxis?

You should also consider your guest count, especially if you are planning to invite some guests to the wedding reception who were not at the ceremony. Finally, consider the style of reception that you are going for; do you want a traditional three-course meal followed with dancing, or are you going for a more chilled out vibe, like an outdoor reception with food stations?

Deal with the Big Tasks First

Once you have found the perfect venue for your wedding reception, it’s time to tackle the big tasks, like deciding on a caterer and figuring out how you want your reception venue to be decorated. When it comes to catering, there are plenty of different options available. If you are hiring a venue with a restaurant on-site, they might offer wedding meal packages that you can take advantage of. If you would rather plan it so that guests can interact with each other more and walk around when getting food, a buffet or street food stations can be an ideal option to think about.

Consider Entertainment

While the partying and dancing the night away might be enough to entertain your guests, you might also want to consider offering another form of entertainment like a DJ, a wedding band, or both. Think about how you are going to keep your guests entertained and consider whether the reception space is suitable for the type of entertainment that you want.

A live wedding band can be a great idea; if you are looking for a wedding band for hire, then take a look at the top wedding bands and watch performances to find one that is an ideal fit for your big day. Jam Hot is one of the top UK wedding bands to hire; if you’re looking to hire a wedding band in the UK, they can tailor performances to suit your needs no matter what kind of wedding you’re planning.

Create a Timeline

Just like your ceremony, you’ll need to come up with a rough timeline for your reception and decide what and when you want to happen. For example, you might want guests to be seated first in the hall, where they can listen to the wedding band or watch a slideshow of the pictures and videos of the two of you together, before welcoming the newlyweds and sitting down to enjoy some food before the speeches, cutting the cake and dancing. Remember that the wedding reception is all about putting together a party for your wedding that reflects who you are as a couple and is fun for the two of you, so don’t be afraid to deviate from traditional if that’s what you prefer.

Your Seating Plan

Coming up with a seating plan should be something that you give yourself plenty of time to complete because making sure that everybody is sitting in the places where they’d feel most comfortable can be tricky. Get a whiteboard or a large piece of paper and draw out how you are arranging tables in the venue, then place names of each people at each table to figure out where everybody will sit.

Stationery and Decor

Along with the bigger elements of the decor like flower arrangements and seat covers, you’ll also need to think about table centrepieces and stationery that clearly direct your guests to where they are sat. A napkin ring or a small card at each seat with the guest’s name on it will suffice; you can find companies who will make these for you, but if you are feeling creative, it’s quite easy to do it yourself with some basic crafting supplies. Table centrepieces can be anything that you want from large vases of flowers to arrangements in bowls with pebbles and candles; keep the general theme of your wedding in mind and have some fun with it.

Consider the Lighting

Lighting can really make or break your reception decor, so spend some time thinking about the vibe that you are trying to go for and how you can incorporate lighting into it. String lights make an excellent addition to a reception venue if you’re going for a chilled, bohemian vibe, and candlelight can give off a very romantic touch, but be careful not to pose any health and safety risks if you want to use candles.

Planning your wedding reception can be a huge part of the overall job. Keep these tips in mind, and first and foremost, make sure that everything is about having fun and celebrating your big day with the people who mean the world to you.

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