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How To Plan Your Wedding Reception

Not Prioritizing Your Budget On Whats Important To You

Wedding reception planning – How to plan a wedding reception

The banquet is over, and now the party begins. When planning a wedding reception, it is important to remember the majority of your reception time will be spent listening to music and dancing, so it makes sense to allocate a proportionate amount of your budget to the vendor responsible for your entertainment. Whether its a band or a DJ, the key idea here is QUALITY.

Prepping The Setup & Keeping Guests Engaged

If you can, try to take your guests into consideration when planning the flow of your reception timeline.

If you have a lot of elderly guests that may not be staying until the very end, for example, you can schedule the cake cutting at a relatively early time so that they can be a part of it.

Chat with your coordinator about how you can plan your reception in a way that will keep guests engaged and moving all night!

Also, plan your centerpieces, welcome table, etc., well before the wedding date and show your coordinator how youd like to set them up so that you arent even thinking about those things the day of.

Choose Your Suppliers Carefully

Your suppliers will have a massive impact on the successful of your wedding reception so choose them carefully. Ask your venue for recommendations and do you research to make sure that everyone you book suits your style and understands what you want from your day.

Image courtesy of Daffodil Waves Photography taken at Mythe Barn

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Pick Out Your Reception Dress / Wedding Attire

What will you wear for your wedding reception? Some brides decide to forego the traditional gown, partially because they wont be wearing it down the aisle, the reception is usually less formal, and because of the cost. On the other hand, many brides DO still want to go big and a traditional wedding gown is definitely acceptable for a reception only wedding. The style you choose for the gown is completely up to you. It helps to pick out attire that complements the tone and theme of your wedding, so if youre planning a big ballroom reception with elegance, go with a formal ballgown.

Another popular choice is a two-piece wedding dress with an elegant top and full ballgown skirt.

If your wedding is being held in a backyard setting or outdoors i.e. a barn reception, farm, field, etc., plan for a wedding dress like this to suit this style. Boho wedding dresses are especially fitting for weddings like this. And dont forget the boots!

Planning a reception on the beach? Go with a maxi dress or convertible wedding dress like this and dont forget to choose the most comfortable wedding shoes you can.

If your wedding reception is taking place at a traditional venue such as a banquet hall, choose any kind of dress youd like, from a formal gown to a more casual bridal jumpsuit or boho dress. I love this wedding gown by Barzelai.

by barzelai

The bottom line is to choose ANY wedding dress you like best. Its your wedding, so make sure its everything YOU want it to be.

Take It One Step At A Time

Rose Gold Mirror Seating Plan

Put together a wedding planning schedule and do things one by one, in a logical order, so you don’t take on too much too fast and end up with everything snowballing around you. Don’t hire any vendors before you’ve confirmed your date don’t design your cake before you’ve envisioned your flowers and don’t book a band before you’ve settled on a space.

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Visit The Reception Venue As Many Times As You Need

When you visit the reception space, you get a sense of the room so you can visualize the décor. Walk through the floor plan. Ask to visit when the venue is decorated for another wedding and view photos from past weddings. See what has worked well in the past. Take note of areas to highlight, such as entryways and staircases. You may want to consider accenting these areas with flowers, lighting, or other wedding decorations.

Give Speeches And Toasts Before Dinner

You want your guests total attention during these special moments. The best way to ensure this is by giving all speeches and toasts back-to-back, and immediately before dinner. Traditionally, if the father of the bride is going to speak, he goes first, followed by other parents. Next, the Best Man gives his toast, followed by the Maid/Matron of Honor. If you, as bride and groom, plan on speaking, youre next. Grace is said last. There is no rule as to how many people should speak. However, if you have more than three speeches or toasts, ask each presenter to keep it under two minutes.

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Wedding Reception Table Layouts & Ceremony Seating Ideas

Once you have the event tech in place using Allseated for virtual wedding table design, its time to think about how you want to arrange the wedding floorplan in terms of the table layout and seating. There are many ways to design a wedding floorplan but knowing where to start is key. Before you begin to consider how to design a wedding floorplan, keep in mind that having an accurate guest count is critical to setting up the layout. While you may loosely have a wedding floorplan in mind at the start of the planning process, guest count will factor largely into creating the final wedding layout.

Treat your wedding floorplan like a jigsaw puzzle.

A wedding floorplan is really quite similar to a jigsaw puzzle. You just need a place to start and then things start to fall into place! While some may be overwhelmed by the process of creating a wedding floorplan, so long as you go into the task of arranging the seating chart focused and organized with a starting point, designing the floorplan will be simple.

Implement Social Distancing Using Allseateds Physical Distance Tool

Allseated makes it really easy to work with social distancing guidelines as we transition back to events.

With Allseateds Physical Distancing Tool for the wedding seating layout, you can:

  • Create a wedding layout that meets distancing guidelines to run a safe distance event.
  • Visualize the wedding floorplan with distancing in place.
  • Better understand how new guidelines will affect capacity.

Ask Your Wedding Party:

Evening Wedding Reception (HOW TO PLAN IT)

You can definitely ask your friends and family to be part of your wedding party well before this point, but it can also be helpful to wait. As excited as your crew will be to stand beside you on your wedding day, their number one question will be, When are you getting married? In order to make this an easy yes for your bridesmaids and groomsmen, its helpful to be able to answer that question before they ask it. Your bridal party will need to be kept in the loop of your plans as well as your expectations for their involvement on the big day. Its also a nice idea to do something special to propose to your best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids and groomsmen, but dont feel like you have to go overboard!

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Stay In Communication With Your Pros

Louis Photography

Consider this the golden rule of wedding planning: There’s no such thing as over-communicating with your vendors, according to the pros themselves. “Be sure to have a clear idea of what you want and communicate to everyone,” Thornton recommends. It’s for this reason that having a planner or coordinator can be a major benefit, especially when you need to streamline dialogue between everyone in the final weeks before the wedding. “Wedding planners know exactly what you need, and they can relieve the pressure of back and forth with vendors,” Holloway advises.

Whether you’ve enlisted a planner or you’re handling it yourself, aim to have regular communication with your professional team. This will keep everyone aligned on timing, logistics, and expectations, and it’ll eliminate miscommunication and confusion. When it comes to your wedding day, there’s no such thing as being too organized.

Shop For Wedding Attire


Finding the perfect wedding dress is a process all its own. We recommend starting your search right after you pick your venue and complete the purchase nine months before the big day as this will give you enough time for fittings and alterations. Shopping for wedding party ensembles should begin about seven to eight months before the wedding date, whereas groom and groomsmen attire can be scheduled around the five month mark. Don’t forget that you will also need outfits for any pre-wedding events like brunches, showers, and rehearsals.

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Pick Invitations And Save The Dates

Erich McVey Event Planning by Paper Diamonds Paper Products by Kartoe & Veronica Halim Calligraphy

Start planning your wedding stationary as soon as you know your wedding style and have confirmed the venue. Save-the-date cards typically go out nine months before the wedding date for a destination wedding and four to six months prior for local nuptials. Invitation suites follow at six to eight weeks before the big day. You should request that RSVPs be returned no later than one month before the celebration so there are no last-minute hiccups.

Juan Manuel Núñez Méndez Photography

Finding the right officiant to preside over your nuptials can be a deeply personal journey for couples. Whomever you choose will not only dictate the event but also usher you into your union, setting the tone for the rest of your lives together. If booking a clergy member or justice of the peace , it’s important to thoroughly do your research, obtain reviews or recommendations, and ask the right questions like if personalizations are allowed, how disruptions would be handled, and if they are involved in obtaining a marriage license.

Check The Vendor Restrictions

How to Plan Your Wedding Reception Floor Plan

Just because a wedding venue is great, that doesnt always mean their small list of vendors is. Sometimes venues will charge an additional fee if you stray from the preferred list or not allow you to stray from the list at all. Make sure you know what youre dealing with. Look into the vendors, read their reviews, meet with them, and taste test the catering all before signing on with the venue.

For exceptional catering services and a selection of menus perfect for weddings of all sizes, contact The Christy!

7. When You Want Two VenuesIf youre scouting two different venues, one for the ceremony and one for the reception, try to make the transition from point A to point B as seamless as possible. Be sure to note the travel time between locations in order to plan a day-of schedule with realistic start times. Also, keep in mind which location youll be using for photos.

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Secrets For A Successful Wedding Reception

Throw an unforgettable wedding reception with these top tips!

After your wedding ceremony, its time to celebrate your marriage with a fabulous reception. This once-in-a-lifetime party needs to be something special and youll want your guests to remember it for all the right reasons. Weve put together this guide, packed full of wedding reception ideas, that tells you how to plan the perfect party. Its time for us to share the secrets for a successful wedding reception

Make A Mission Statement

Once your two-week reprieve is over, its time to work out a mission statement. For that, youll need to figure out your values. Remember, nothing in a wedding is required, other than some kind of ceremony and maybe some food. Everything else a dress, the bouquet toss, the cake cutting is optional.


  • What are your top three priorities? The cake, a mentalist, former President Barack Obama as an officiant?
  • What are your core emotional needs? Do you want to include loving messages from your friends? Have a religious ceremony to cement your commitment to each other and God? Have your parents walk you down the aisle? Invite your dog to witness your marriage?
  • Do you have a motto? Here are a few examples:

“This will be a great day, but we’ll have better ones”

“As long as we keep fun at the heart of this, everything else is gravy”

“All that matters is that this makes us happy right now

No one cares about flowers. Not even us”

Write it all down. Youll need it later.

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How To Plan A Wedding Reception

This article was co-authored by Carole Grogan. Carole Grogan is the Owner and Head Event Designer for Bright Blue Events, an event planning company that specializes in weddings. Her team has planned beautiful, detailed weddings, as well as social and corporate events for over 10 years, taking care of details such as floral design, décor, staffing, and catering.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 353,148 times.

Planning your wedding reception can take a lot of effort and it all begins with deciding on the location of the reception and the type of reception. Fear not, it’s a fairly methodical process provided you’re aware of which things need to be covered and what’s more, you can have a lot of fun with it too!

Build Your Guest List


First things first, commit to keeping this process as stress-free as possible. Pick a relaxed time on a weekend when you dont have other demands and sit down with your partner. Keep your approximate wedding size in mind building a guest list for a small wedding is going to be different than choosing who to invite to a large one. Here are some tips to keep the process smooth:

  • Write down all of the names of people youd like to attend even if they live across the world or your partner doesnt know them that well.

  • Track your guest names in a wedding planning app or a spreadsheet.

  • Manage guest requests from family. Its okay to invite some people your parents would love to share your wedding day with, but try to keep the number reasonable.

  • Create two categories for your guest list. A is for the names of family and friends who you absolutely want and/or need to have at your wedding. B is for the extended family, friends, and work colleagues youd like to share your day with, but it wouldnt devastate you if they couldnt attend. Take a break and come back to list B. Narrow it down together until the list fits wedding size.

Pro tip: A good way to start sorting who you want to invite is by going through the contact list in your phone, as well as who youre following/interact with on your most-used social media platforms. Chances are, if you want them at your wedding, youll at least have their phone number or Instagram handle.

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