Today is the time to think of descending from a long line of “traditional” wedding receptions which are limited to only dancing, eating and drinking. Now couples are looking for the ways to go beyond these traditional setups and considering to have some additional flavor to their reception. After all, their wedding is once in a lifetime event and they don’t want to leave any stone unturned at their wedding.
Luckily, we are in the era where everything including weddings have evolved. Of course, they’re still about the sacred union between the two, but they’re also about having a real good time with your loved ones. Regardless of how grand or low-key, yet elegant a reception is, one needs something more and unique than the old dance and music performances. Moreover, it is important that the whole affair suit a bride-to-be’s and her significant other’s likes, preferences, and personalities.
If you also want to host simple yet elegant reception for everyone and want your guests to have fun at your special event, read this article till end. In this post of mine, I will share with you some gorgeous, yet simple wedding reception ideas that will ‘wow’ everyone nonetheless. Here we go…
1. Type of wedding reception
First things first, to host a wonderful wedding reception it is crucial that you know what exactly you are looking in a wedding reception. It is crucial to figure out the type of wedding reception. Yes, you need to know the type of wedding reception you are going to host. If you are not clear with the type of wedding then later it will be a chaos to arrange things accordingly. Or else you will be disappointed with everything later, there is no point in that. So, before starting any wedding reception planning know whether it is going to be an intimate wedding with just few near and dear ones or is it going to be a big fat wedding with 1500 people.
2. Season of your wedding reception
Season of your wedding reception will matter a lot. For instance, if your wedding reception is happening in beautiful winters than nothing can be better than taking advantage of beautiful weather and the gorgeous outdoor venue simply by kicking off your wedding reception celebration with wedding lawn games. According to the season of your wedding you can decide the theme of the reception, wedding colors, décor, wedding fun games etc., which can help you tell your story in a better and subtle way. Or if your wedding is in summers then you can plan a beachy reception.
3. Your wedding reception budget
Another important pointer is to decide the budget for your wedding reception. Once you know the type of reception, setting budget becomes easier. It is crucial, whether your wedding reception is a destination wedding reception or the regular wedding reception in your hometown deciding your wedding budget is crucial. It helps you have your wedding celebrations in your budget. So, before planning for a stunning reception set-up your budget, accordingly you can do all the bookings and invite your guests as well.
4. The location
You need to know the location wherein you want to host your wedding reception. Whether it is in town you are planning to host it or it is a destination wedding in some far-flung land you want to go to host your wedding reception.
5. Your wedding reception venue
Well, it is always advised to select a venue that is close to the wedding ceremony location. That way, you can save a lot of money and trouble on transportation, not just for yourself but also for your guests. Moreover, you can keep your guests entertained while you two spend some alone time before the reception party begins. So, decide on the venue: barn wedding reception venue, garden wedding reception venue, or beach wedding reception venue etc. Once you know the venue arrangements become easy.
6. Is your location easily accessible?
Once you know your location, the other parameters which you need to look into are: Is the location easily accessible, is everything available in and around there. Assuming, you are planning a destination beach wedding reception, you need to see whether the place is easily accessible or not, of course that may not be a problem for you but the oldies you have invited and you want them to be present in your wedding like your grandparents, how they will manage especially if they have some health issues. So, you need to check the accessibility well in advance. Needless to say your wedding reception should be a comfortable event for your guests too.
7. Is your location easily reachable?
You need to know in advance whether your wedding reception venue is easily reachable or not. If your wedding reception venue is in some remote place or out of the city then you will have to see the transportation of your guests’ as well.
8. Book your wedding reception venue in advance
Once you have finalized the wedding reception venue, book them early. I am sure you know that you are not the only couples getting married during that time. There are many like you who are getting wed-locked and they are also looking for the best wedding reception venue for their wedding. So have no preconceived notion that you can get booking at any point of time, it’s better to book well in advance. Also, if there are some out station guests, book for their accommodation as well. Check with your hotel or resort if they provide accommodation also, if not, then you will have to arrange for your guests’ accommodation in some nearby location.
9. Theme of your wedding reception
After deciding the location and other aspects of your wedding reception, you need to decide theme of the ceremony. You can go for any theme as long as it represents you two perfectly. If you have problem finalizing the theme but you hired a wedding planner then you can speak to the person and finalize your wedding theme or else work out with people close to you.
10. Prepare your guest list
Now this is a harrowing job for any couple, especially if yours is going to be an intimate wedding and reception. Your wedding reception budget be it local or outstation, will be analogous to your guest list. Your budget will surely go high with every guest you increase in your wedding guest list. Also, there will be clashes, your parents may want to include some of their close friends but yours is an intimate event due to which adding too many people will add to the cost. So, the best you can do is make your guests list with your family, and your partner and his/her family. So that all your people who you want at your wedding are invited.
11. Hire a professional
For that stunning wedding reception and if your budget also allows, hiring a professional is a great choice. Everyone wants to have their wedding reception unique and gorgeous by all ways. If you also want to have a unique wedding reception, good to go with a professional. They are quite talented to make your dream a real on. Though hiring a professional will add to the cost, but trust hiring a professional will not only help you in managing your wedding reception impeccably but also the pain which you will go through otherwise will be reduced to minimum.
12. Book your vendors
If you are not considering a professional wedding planner for your wedding reception than it becomes very important that you book all your vendors early. As told earlier, there are many couples who will be getting hitched at the same time. So, it is crucial you start researching for vendors’ online, taking details from them, and meeting with them. And if it is in some other location then set up virtual meetings with your vendors. Whosoever you find best amongst all, hire him immediately. Make sure you meet and interview them personally (if in the same town) online maybe over skype (if some other location).
13. Do purchase your air tickets early
If yours is going to be a destination wedding reception then it is always good to book your tickets (flight or rail) in advance. Just imagine you have booked everything and you just missed on your air tickets for your wedding reception, what will be the situation?? On top of it, it will just add to the cost. So, make sure you book yours and your families’ tickets well in advance. Booking in advance may even help you get early bird discounts. There is no point to wait for the last moment, when you already know, airfare shoots.
14. See if you can manage an off season wedding reception
If your wedding is an off season wedding then saving on cost is no problem. In fact, you will be able to host a lavish reception party for your guests in an off-season wedding. Because in peak season you end up paying large amount. However, an off season wedding give you a chance to throw a party in better rates in your budget. You can even get best deals in an off-season wedding reception.
15. Wedding reception venue décor
If budget is a constraint or you are wise about money then picking a venue that doesn’t require a lot of additional décor elements and already has a chic ambiance is best choice. For this, you can always choose a barn, a restaurant, or a resort with an outdoor seating area or a garden, or the beach for dinner; all you will need is to arrange for some handful of décor items. Such as, flowers in wooden crates reception décor, lanterns and lots of lighting reception décor, hanging candle reception décor, chandelier reception décor etc.
16. Place cards on reception table
Though some brides love to add extra elements (favors, knick-knacks, signature drinks, etc.) with the table cards, but if you do not want to spend too much on your wedding reception, even a simple place card on the table will suffice. Similarly, at the entrance just place a table with escort cards to let your guests know where they’ll be seated in the reception. You can go creative while you design your cards for reception tables, you can have floral place card on reception table, or maybe place card with heart etc. can add to the beauty. If the reception is really very, very intimate then having cards with your guests’ pictures will be a great idea. They can use it as a keepsake later.
17. Use beautiful table centerpieces
If you have hired a professional then he/she will take care of everything, but you haven’t then also there is no problem. All you need to do for organizing a spectacular reception party is make best use of centerpieces. For decorating the tables you can take inspiration from pinterest or other online platforms. Use elements which will add to your wedding reception all in all.
18. Be creative while you assign table numbers
The table numbers which you will assign should go with the venue, décor, and ambiance, for that you need to be creative. You can use floral vase or empty beer bottles or some other decorating piece for table numbers just to make it look a bit unique.
19. Drinks & Beverages
Champagne for reception is a must. Well, it is absolutely up to you which all drinks you want to serve or have and open bar option for your guests. Whatever be the case, but wine, champagne, and beer are signature drinks and works wonders.
20. Type of dinner
Of course, it matters which type of dinner you are planning a sit-down dinner with just few people or a buffet for a big fat wedding reception. Accordingly you will decide on the menu also. A sit-down dinner is always a popular choice. However, the other ways to go about it are; serve heavy appetizers where guests can mingle, chat, dance, and have a great time, or serve a family-style dinner, or have a family cooking instead.
21. Wedding reception delicacies
When it comes to the food items, there are a few options you can choose from. You can keep your menu limited but make sure the items you add are all great. Remember that most of your guests will come for the sumptuous meal only.
22. Wedding reception cake
There are many bakeries that can help you create an out of the world wedding cake. But, your guests will be interested in what’s inside than the outer beauty. So make sure that the cake is yummy enough to savor your guests. Some options can be: Ombre rose frosting reception cake, White reception cake with flowers frosting, Ombre tiered reception cake with floral topping, or White tiered reception cake with flowers topping etc.
Also, if you want, you can chuck pricey tiered cakes altogether and instead, serve desserts like brownies, macarons, donuts, lemon squares, and S’mores. You can ask your bakery to provide you a variety of their most popular or favorite treats to be placed on your very own dessert table in place of tiered cake.
23. Parking arrangements at your wedding
If your wedding guests are many or if your reception is taking place at your home only, it is crucial to see the parking arrangements as well. The availability of parking is undoubtedly a serious issue even if you have enough space for that at your home. Of course when your guests will make for your wedding reception, they will surely come by their own vehicles and safe parking of their vehicles is a mandate. Make sure you have parking arrangements checked or else you can consider hiring valet services for your ease and comfort.
24. Mention your address clearly in your wedding invites
Your wedding invites are the crucial part of your wedding as that is the first thing which goes to your guests and has all the details in it. While getting your wedding invite ready make sure your wedding reception address is clearly mentioned in it along with the other details like time and date. Also, you mentioning a landmark in the card will be greatly helpful to your guests. Adding a route map at the back of your wedding card will be a great help for everyone and the number of (best man or the maid of honor) will be great, as they can coordinate with your guests while your guests will be coming for your wedding reception.
25. Check weather conditions
Wherever you have planned your wedding reception, do check the weather conditions. If you are planning for a destination wedding reception especially in a beachy location, it is crucial that you check weather situation in the location before making any decision. Also, don’t forget to check the seasonality of rain in that area especially if your reception is planned outdoor. Accordingly you can plan the measures as well.
26. Your passports and travel visas
If you are planning to host your wedding reception is some other or international location then check your and your partner to-be and other family members’ passport and travel visas. It is very, really very important before you plan your wedding journey to see that your spouse to-be and other family member do have their passports. Because not every country let you in with permit. Make sure that you have your passports and travel visas ready, if not then start the application process ASAP, before your dream of stunning wedding reception in an International location get shattered.
Also, do check the validity of your passport because some countries require that your passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months prior to the ceremony. Additionally, it can take months to process!
27. Add some fun games
To make your wedding reception an ultra-stunning celebration add some wedding games in it. There are many wedding reception games which you can add to your party as well. Wedding reception games not only keep your guests engaged, but also add to the fun element at the party. Some options are: Dart the balloon, poker station, photo booth, tic-tac-toe, giant piñata etc.
28. Arrange for a live performance
Arranging for a live performance will add to your wedding reception. If you love music and your wedding is also an intimate celebration then you have enough reason to arrange for some live musical performance. Your guests will also enjoy your reception night. All you need to do is arrange for the floor seating (use lots of cushions, lights, candles, and lanterns) and let your guests enjoy the performance with a glass of wine.
29. Wedding reception favors
There are myriads of options to choose from. But giving something which represents your wedding guests can use as keepsake later is a great choice. Otherwise, homemade items like cookies, brownies, candles, etc., make for wonderful wedding favors. Or, you can even give your guests a nice live plant. These are basically less fussy favor options that almost everyone will adore.
30. Don’t miss to enjoy the day
Enjoying the day is of utmost importance, as your wedding is once in a lifetime event. Do not take any stress.. Simply enjoy and have lot of fun, this day is not going to come again. Trust me!!
To pan out…
I hope you like the advises mentioned above. Finally, do a lot of research and take your time in planning and organizing every aspect of your wedding ceremony and reception party. This is the biggest day of your life, leave no stone unturned to make it special. Leave every bit of it!!
Thanks for reading!!