Tips for Creating An Amazing Reception

Can you feel it? I sure can and no I am not talking about Christmas. One thing I do love about this time of year are the engagements. Everyone is getting engaged! It brings a new group of planning brides who are eager, excited and just so happy. I love it!

To any brides preparing to plan a wedding I wanted to give you a few easy tips for your reception. Every bride and groom's intentions are different for their reception. Regardless of your overall concept, these tips will help keep your guests happy and make a reception that is unforgettable (in a good sense).

1. Research. Before you can follow any of the steps listed below you have to research. How are you wanting to feed guests? Buffet or plated dinner? Band or DJ? Open bar or just wine and beer? Any DIY projects you are wanting to tackle? Think things through. Imagine your venue and where you want everything to go. Build upon your floor plan. I drew my space (A bad drawing. I am not good at that kind of stuff) and put spots for tables, chairs, dance floor, bar, gift table, welcome area.... Seeing it on paper will help. You can always find tons of inspiration from other wedding blogs, websites and Pinterest (it will suck you in - hey, I warned you).

2. Organization. I cannot stress this tip enough. If you are not good at organization set aside funds to get a professional planner or have a friend who has been married help out. When planning your reception, a majority of your budget and time goes into planning the shindig. At any given time you could be juggling a band/DJ, a florist, a caterer, a baker, the venue staff, a bartender and more. I don't say these things to scare you but the better organized you are the better off your big day will turn out.

3. Timing is everything. When filming a wedding I am always aware of what is next on the agenda. Make sure your timetable is accurate. Yes, you can plan to cut the cake at 6:15 on the dot but you may start a bit earlier or a little later. Be aware of your guests. If you have guests arrive at 5pm for cocktail hour but don't serve dinner until 6:30 pm, your guests will be hungry and bit drink happy. When planning your reception timeline put yourself in the guests shoes. Make key times flow and not seem choppy or like the reception lagging. A steady flow is key to making guests happy and you not stressed.

4. Make a list of importance. When starting to plan your reception, make a list. Yes, at first this list will seem a bit long but slowly over time you will mark each thing off. The list keeps you focused, organized and on a timeline. It also allows you to hand out tasks to people who are willing to help. For a starting place on creating a well rounded list, click here.

5. Now check the things on the list off. Plain and simple. This helps you feel a sense of accomplishment and see how everything is coming together.

6. Make guests feel comfortable. I cannot stress this point enough. Guests have taken time out of their hectic day to spend 1 to 5 hours at your wedding. Yes, a lot of them do not see it that way but you should always show guests a good time. Provide plenty of seating and enough space to comfortably move. At one wedding I attended they had shuttles to transport guests to and from their venue. Guests didn't have to worry about the drive into the woods or how they would get back after drinking. I love photos of brides who provide buckets full of flip flops. Little things like this are so thoughtful and whether you know it or not, guests love that sweet touch. Keep them feed, quench their thirst, get them dancing and have them make life long memories.

7. Make sure there is something for everyone. If you know a lot of kids will be in attendance at the reception, make an area just for them. Set up a table with crayons, paper, bubbles and glow sticks. This helps their parents still have a good time and not worry about little Bridget throwing a temper tantrum because she is bored. If you have a handful of guests who do not drink alcohol make sure there are plenty of other beverage options. You do not have to go over the top but make sure your guests is satisfied.

8. Give them instruction. I cannot count the number of times the bride says that they do not want to serve the buffet until after the first dance but people fix their plate anyway. If you have specific instructions, ask the staff at the venue to kindly enforce them. Guests may be frustrated at first but then once you take the dance floor they won't mind. People need instructions and want them. Sometimes guests feel lost or unsure what to do at your reception. Point them in the right direction.

9. It is your big day! Whether you remember any of the pointers you read above, it is your wedding day. You owe yourself memories. If you are true to yourself, everyone else will love your party. If you are happy and excited, your guests will be too. You can plan the perfect reception. I believe in you!

What other ideas can help make your reception better? Are you planning any unique ideas for your reception i.e. crazy first dance, a fun entrance, a game? Your reception is a time to celebrate so enjoy it! Merry almost Christmas!

Photos via Green Wedding Shoes.

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