Wedding Reception Planning Tips

Weddings require so many details to stay focused on.

It’s perhaps the most important yet stressful event in life.  Hopefully these hints will help you successfully plan a wedding reception:

Budget Considerations
Traditionally, a wedding reception accounts for 30 to 50 percent of the entire cost of the wedding.  However, according to wedding etiquette, a reception only requires two elements:  a wedding cake and toasts to the bride and groom.  Everything else is optional and can be left up to bride and grooms sense of adventure and creativity.

Reception Sites
There are basically two general types of locations.  The first, on-site, is a place that can provide services such as food, drinks, wait staff, tables, linens, china, maybe even flower, music and wedding cake.  Some popular choices are:

  • Hotels and Restaurants
  • Country Club and Catering Halls
  • Inns or Bed-and-Breakfast Establishments

The other type is off-site, where you typically own or rent the space and are required to bring in much of the supplies yourself.  Examples are:

  • Mansions
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Wineries
  • Museums
  • College Campuses
  • Someone’s home

Another popular choice is to combine the wedding/reception and honeymoon in one location such as Hawaii.

Whatever is chosen, remember to book the site well in advance.  Sample the food, inspect the kitchen and check the restrooms.

Food and Beverages
If trying to save money on food and beverages, consider the time of day that your reception is held.  The least expensive would be a mid-morning or mid-afternoon menu of light finger foods and a wedding cake.  The most expensive will be a sit-down lunch or dinner.

If the reception site allows, you can save money by enlisting friends and family to help prepare and serve the food.

Regardless of the menu, you will need a wedding cake and a beverage for the toast, usually champagne, either alcoholic or nonalcoholic.  This toast would be just perfect in our plastic champagne glasses that look just like glass.

Themes and Decorations
Theme weddings have gone from the basic chapel to exotic destinations and beyond.  You may decide to use a special theme, such as a travel destination, where you first met, your hobbies, or anything of significance to both the bride and groom.  You must also consider is to continue the color scheme.  Here are some decorating ideas:

  • Place bouquets of Mylar balloons around the site.  They are one of the most economical and colorful ways to decorate a large room.
  • Drape, swag and swirl tulle netting over trellises, archways, doorways, and windows.  Attach tulle netting to the corners of the main table and serving tables.
  • To transform an ordinary site into a magical wonderland, string white lights over doorways, along tabletops, on the cake table, around plants, etc.
  • For a romantic glow, use dozens of tall white candles on tables and around the room.
  • Use napkins, table covers, balloons and flowers to continue the color theme.

Party Favors
Presenting a little gift of thanks to your wedding guests and participants is a tradition that dates back to a royal wedding of the 1500’s.  Here are some suggestions for a fun and practical favor:

  • Use tiny picture frames in place of cards for guests to take home
  • Give a tree seedling or a flower bulb that guests can plant in their gardens.
  • Distribute bottles or splits (6 oz.) of champagne or wine with customized labels announcing the big day.
  • Choose a small gift that reflects a hobby or interest – bookmark for a couple who met in a bookstore, decorative golf balls for a golfing couple, etc.
  • Edible favors such as beautifully wrapped chocolates with customized labels featuring names and date.

Send out invitations about 6-8 weeks ahead for out-of-town guests and about four weeks ahead for local guests.  Or send out Save the Date notes.  Invitations can match the tableware, theme or can be customized on a computer or ordered from our selection of custom invitations.

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