We Know: How to Plan a Wedding Reception

What is a wedding reception?

A wedding reception is a party held after the wedding ceremony where friends and family of the bride and groom gather to dance, play games and socialize. There is typically lots of food and drink involved and is a great way to come down from the stresses of the actual ceremony.

What happens at a wedding reception?

  • Dancing: Many receptions include a dance with a live band of recorded music. The First Dance is reserved for the married couple. The song is usually personal and reflects the newlyweds relationship.

  • Food: Whether you choose to have a buffet style lunch reception or a full on dinner one, the food is often a main attraction at a wedding reception. Choose foods that are delectable and easy to eat.

  • Bouquet Toss: The bride turns her back to the female guests and throws the bouquet behind her. Whoever catches it is supposedly the next to get married. A fun tradition that is still a part of most wedding ceremonies.

  • Garter Toss: After the groom removes the garter from the bride's leg, it is tossed to the single male attendants of the reception. Campy music is often played during this part of the reception and typically gets a good laugh out of the guests.
  • Toasts/Speeches: Often the Best Man and Maid of Honor give a short speech or toast at the reception. Other members of the bridal party and family man also give toasts. At many weddings, guests are also invited to propose toasts or say something about the couple.

How can I plan a wedding reception?

Planning a wedding reception can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be torture. Start early with your plans and coordinate the schedules of all of the wedding vendors to ensure the reception runs smoothly. Get important information ahead of time, such as the songs the bride and groom want to be played during poignant parts of the reception and if they wish to nix certain traditions. Also, asks guests about food allergies.

Typical arrangements that must be considered are:

  • Venue--where will the reception be held, how many people are you having, what activities must it accomodate.
  • Music--what kind of music do you want, live or recorded, DJ or none?
  • Food--how elaborate or simple, buffet or table service, full mean or just munchies, kinds of dishes etc.?
  • Beverages--many receptions provide alcohol, many do not.
  • Set up--chairs, tables, head table
  • Decor--both for the room and for the tables

How much does a wedding reception cost?

Wedding receptions, just like weddings, are a widely varied event when it comes to cost. The price of a wedding reception largely depends on the number of guests you have. A small, private gathering could cost as little as a few hundred dollars. But lavishly decorated and large receptions can cost anywhere from $8000 and up! Deciding on your budget early will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

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