In 2020, there were around 1,267,877 weddings in the U.S which shows that despite a global pandemic, we still want to tie the knot.
Half of the excitement is planning the big day, whether it’s finding the ultimate flower bouquet to organizing the guest list. Perhaps you’re planning a wedding reception, but you’re worried about missing out on an important element.
Sounds familiar? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know.
Set a Date
The first step on your “wedding reception planning checklist” is to choose the date. Discuss with your partner whether they’d prefer to tie the knot under cherry blossoms, in a snowy landscape, or on a balmy summer evening.
Further, the time of year affects the availability of venues so plan to avoid disappointment.
Outline Your Budget
Second on your wedding reception timeline is figuring out a budget. You’ll also need a deposit for your venue, so be prepared for upfront costs.
And you mustn’t forget the essentials like catering, entertainment, and decor. The last thing you want is to plan your dream wedding, only to find that it’s out of your budget, so consider your finances in advance.
Buy Your Wedding Attire
One of the most exciting steps to planning a wedding reception is choosing your get-up for the big day. Note, if you want a custom-made design then book this six months prior so there’s time for amendments.
Aside from your dream wedding dress, you must also sort out the groom’s attire and bridesmaid dresses that complement one another.
Find the Ultimate Venue
Not sure how to plan a wedding reception? Start by choosing the perfect venue for your big day.
This will determine the location, guest numbers, and whether it aligns with your style. For instance, those after a fairytale wedding should book a church whereas others after a low-key day can choose a smaller venue.
If you need inspiration, browse Pinterest or Instagram so you can decide on a theme for your wedding.
Plan Your Guest List
Once you’ve finished browsing wedding reception ideas, work with your partner to create a guest list.
It’s important to have a mix of both of your loved ones, but know not everyone will arrive so consider this when you’re meeting with vendors.
You should also create a gift list so guests know what to buy you for your big day. Many couples prefer a contribution to their honeymoon fund or items from an online wishlist, so decide which best suits you.
Send Out Invites
There’s no greater way to invite guests than with handmade “save-the-date” invites.
As a general rule, send wedding invites around eight weeks before the big day, and remind loved ones that the RSVP deadline is three weeks in advance. Then, once you have your final numbers you can contact vendors.
Choose Your Wedding Suppliers
Finding the right suppliers can make or break your wedding, so make a list of everything you need. You must hire a wedding photographer, work out catering, and even a wedding planner if you’re struggling. Plus, makeup, a wedding cake maker, and florists are crucial for your big day.
As you set meetings, decide whether they align with your style then compare with other vendors. Although it’s overwhelming, shopping around may give you more leeway with your budget.
Food and drink are the lifeblood of any wedding, so structure your menu to keep everyone watered and fed. While you send out invites, ask guests whether they have any dietary restrictions so you can inform your caterer.
If you’re not having a sit-down dinner, then have designated food stations so guests can graze when they please. For drinks, hire a bartender with an open bar so everyone stays hydrated.
Get a Marriage License
One of the most important elements is getting a marriage license so it’s a legal communion. Note, marriage license laws vary between states so factor this in when you’re planning your big day. Plus, you’ll need this if the bride wants to change her name after the wedding.
Make Seating Arrangements
Those having a sit-down wedding must create a table plan. Choose whether you want to sit at your own table, facing the guests, or with your bridal party.
Parents and close relatives should sit together, and consider the elderly so they’re not next to a massive speaker or in an inconvenient location. Once you’ve drawn a plan, place cards so guests can easily find their seats.
Entertainment is a great way to add pizzazz to the reception, so choose wisely. Decide whether you’d prefer live bands to pump out classics or a DJ with a huge selection of tracks. And aside from music, set up a photo booth or hire a magician to walk around the room and wow guests.
But make sure you don’t force everyone to dance as guests may want to catch up with friends or family, so keep it optional.
End on a High
End your big day with a bang, whether it’s a giant firework show or a special song for your last dance. The goal is that your guests leave happy. You should also check that everyone has taxis or transportation so you have your dream wedding reception, from start to finish.
Our Planning a Wedding Reception Tips
Hopefully, our tips on planning a wedding reception will help you on your big day.
Start by figuring out your budget, venue, and date to help you plan. Make sure you send out invites in advance and choose entertainment that everyone will love.
But, most importantly, enjoy the planning process and have a wonderful day. Good luck!
Did you enjoy reading this article? If yes, check out the rest of our blog for similar content.