Five Tips for a Great Wedding Reception

A few simple tips can spell the difference between a fiesta and a fiasco.

Help! You’re planning your wedding reception and worried that it won’t be everything you dreamed. How can you make sure your reception is success and not a flop? Here are a few tips, based on years of helping couples host the perfect wedding reception.

1. Anticipate your guests’ needs.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make or break a wedding reception. Will they have something to nibble on while you’re having your pictures taken? Do any of your guests have special dietary needs? If so, let your hosts know ahead of time--vegetarians, vegans, and people with food allergies deserve to enjoy the reception as much as everyone else. Even without advance notice, a good wedding site should be able to handle your guests needs, but alerting them ahead of time will allow them to prepare special meals or snacks and prevent anyone from feeling left out. 

It’s often helpful to have a basket with basic necessities available in the restrooms—Band Aids, mouthwash, and maybe a mini-sewing kit for when Aunt Mary’s hem comes undone.  

2. Have a budget. 

Knowing what you have to spend will make planning your reception much easier. These days, most reception sites have their menus and fees available on-line so you can decide ahead of time what it might cost to hold your reception there. Your budget should include not just food, but the facility fees, equipment (such as a microphone for toasts), and any special items you want—piñatas over each table? Pineapples? Pirates serving drinks? Anything’s possible, you’ve just got to budget for it.

If money is tight, keep in mind that being flexible can save you some money. Since Saturdays are the most popular days for weddings, you might save money if you plan yours for a Friday evening or Sunday.

3. Visit the reception site. 

The Internet is great for getting a general feel for a location, but you can’t be positive it’s what you are looking for until you see it. Is the room they’ve reserved for you the right size for your needs? Has the carpeting been replaced since the Johnson administration? What’s the lighting like?

When you do visit the site, ask a lot of questions and communicate your expectations—believe me, your hosts would rather answer your questions than have to guess about what you really want. If you are clear about what you have in mind, it’s much easier for them to make it happen.

4. Trust the site staff.

Assuming that you’ve chosen your site carefully (any reputable facility should be willing to give you references), then sit back and let the staff do their work. It won’t help if you stress out over every detail. Do your best to plan ahead, then let go and let someone else do the worrying. Trusting the professionals will take the stress off of you.

5. Enjoy yourself.

Try to relax and enjoy your reception. Sure, things may go wrong, but you won’t make them better by stressing out. If yours is a multi-day affair, make time to have a little fun. Depending on what the facility has available, organize some group activities for your guests and take the time to participate yourself. This could be as simple as a hike or a game night, or as involved as a golf tournament. Think creatively.

Having a great wedding reception doesn’t have to be stressful. If you go into it with positive expectations, you’ll be surprised at how positive the results are.

Waterville Weddings