So you’re engaged – congratulations! Your wedding day will be one of the most important days of your life and your wedding reception will play a central role in your day. Whether you are planning an intimate country summer soiree, or a large party for hundreds of guests, there are a number of steps you need to follow, to ensure you enjoy the wedding reception of your dreams.
Search for the right venue
So you’ve found ‘The One’? But have you found the other ‘one’ – i.e. the right venue? One of the most important aspects of the day is to find the right wedding venue and as you start to plan your wedding, this will be one of the most important considerations. Until you have your venue, then your wedding is a blank canvas, so this needs to be one of the first things you think about. Once the venue has been decided, other aspects like the food and photography will follow.
First think about what sort of party you are after. For larger weddings, you might choose to use an outside space with a bespoke wedding tent, marquee or modular hall or a hotel or for smaller event, a restaurant or small private venue would be ideal. Think about how hands-on you want to be with the planning – if you want to oversee every aspect, then a marquee tent or exclusive venue is a great choice, whereas if you would rather outsource the planning, many hotels have in-house wedding coordinators.
Set the date
Many wedding venues, particularly very popular ones or low-cost options are booked up way in advance, so once you have your desired reception location in place, find out what availability they have and set the date.
There will be other considerations when it comes to what date you choose – the time of year you choose will dictate what sort of wedding you have. If you want to get married in a tent or marquee in the UK, for example, you will need to stick to the warmer, summer months, whereas if your dream wedding involves fir trees and a snowy backdrop, then December will be a winning choice.
Determine your budget
When it comes to wedding budgets, there are many ways that people cover costs but it is important that when planning your reception, you have a clear idea of how much you want to spend on the reception itself. You will need to know how many guests you plan to invite, so you can work out the cost per head – you will need to budget about 25 to 30 percent of your entire wedding budget on catering at your reception.
Choose the food
The food choice will form an important part of your day – no guests like to go hungry! Whether you are hoping for a three-course meal, bowl food and cocktails or a buffet-style hog roast, choose a catering company who will create a delicious menu that fulfills your criteria and requests. Choosing and booking a caterer should be an exciting and fun process.
Set the entertainment
Guests want to have fun and be entertained, so consider your music options, such as a live band or DJ. If you and everyone up and dancing, ensure there is a dancefloor or space available within the venue. This space will need to look inviting, with lighting to create a magical atmosphere and draping to set the scene.
Many people also choose for optional extras, such as photobooths, magicians, karaoke, lawn games or other fun ideas to keep guests smiling.