A couple’s wedding day will always seem to go by in the blink of an eye, regardless if the time taken to plan the big day (most weddings are planned between six months and two years in advance). Because it can be such a quick blur you will want to be sure that you will be able to enjoy as much of it as you can. Oftentimes that moment will begin after you say your I Do’s and you can then focus on the celebration at your reception venue with your spouse and loved ones. In order to make that happen, here are some excellent tips on having a great wedding reception that you and your guests will not soon forget!
Tip 1: Plan, Plan and PLAN
Planning effectively is THE most important tip of all when it comes to your reception as well as every aspect of your wedding. During the months before your wedding you will likely be taking up much of your time planning like a crazy person. It is very easy to let yourself get caught up in all the wedding reception details prior to the big day but when that day arrives there is nothing you can do but watch and enjoy the moment as everything unfolds. Since this entire event is a celebration of your love for your new spouse, try not to get upset about the little things that might go wrong and instead focus on enjoying the moment with your loved ones as you embark on your new life together! Besides, if something unexpected does happen, your maid of honor or wedding planner will likely be more than able to address it.
Tip 2: Don’t Keep People Waiting
I’m sure that most of us have been to more than a few weddings where the guests were kept waiting for what seemed like forever before they could enter the reception site. This is bad etiquette for a variety of reasons, not the least being your guests having to endure adverse weather conditions such as oppressive heat, cold, humidity, rain, and more. You can include a cocktail hour to prior to the reception for your guests to mingle and be entertained while you are taking pictures.
You can easily ensure that your guests will be in a festive mood during your arrival by providing the reception venue staff with a solid timeline for the arrival of both your guests and the wedding party. Unless you do this and stick to the timeline, then you risk having your guests brooding as they wait in their fancy clothing and possibly painful shoes!
Tip 3: Do Not Overdo Reception Elements
Every wedding reception will contain one or more traditional elements for everyone in attendance to enjoy. However, it is important to have an idea of which of those elements you want included (and which you don’t) so everyone will have a good time without feeling rushed. Some events (such as the optional cocktail hour) will take longer than others (the introductions of the bridal party), so be sure that everyone responsible for the night going smoothly (such as the wedding planner, dj/emcee, maid of honor, etc) understands what the timing will be for everything. While there are certain events that are a must, do not add too many as that will cut into the dancing, eating and mingling time. So go ahead and cut your cake, throw the garter and bouquet, make the toasts and have your first dance, but aside from those things just say no! Let this be a time where your guests feel spontaneous enjoyment, and don’t feel like everything is being scheduled to fit a time frame.
Tip 4: Too Hot, Too Cold, Just Right
Maybe you decided that it would be beautiful to have an outdoor reception under twinkling lights and stars, but didn’t understand that the temperature would drop twenty degrees or it would be unseasonably hot and humid. Maybe you picked the perfect indoor venue but forgot that when there is a room packed with dancing people things can get a bit warm in the temperature department. Think ahead and rent those fans, heaters, or cooling units for your garden wedding, and for indoor venues make sure that the thermostat is working properly and can be easily turned up or down as the party rages on. Finally, be sure that you and the rest of the wedding party will be dressed comfortably for the party!
Tip 5: Check Your Shoes Right Here
Regardless of whether you’ll be having a live band or DJ entertaining your guests, think of those who want to be able to dance without killing their feet (this goes for the happy couple and the wedding party as well) by having a shoe check area! Think of a coat check but with your shoes. Dancing can be much easier (and much more fun) when your feet are happy and comfortable, so allow your guests to kick off their shoes so they can really boogie down!
After sharing your vows at your ceremony, it is time for everyone to celebrate together! Regardless of what type of venue the reception will take place or what your theme is, you want everyone in attendance to have the best time possible. Keep in mind that your guests will be taking cues from you, so if you look like you are not having a good time they are not likely to enjoy themselves either. The suggestions above are just some methods to ensure that everyone will have a good time, but feel free to use your imagination to come up with more…everyone will appreciate it and remember how great everything was!