Planning a wedding is stressful, but it should also be fun! It’s easy to become overwhelmed when planning which can put a damper on this exciting time. When you are planning the perfect wedding reception, it helps to know the most important details so you aren’t disappointed on your wedding day.
So what exactly does planning the perfect wedding reception entail? We’ve gathered up all the things we’ve learned over the years to create the ultimate insider list of helpful tips for the ideal wedding reception.
List Those Guests
Everything begins with a guest list. You can’t plan the important things without having a good idea of how many people to expect.
Choose a Date Wisely
Do some research to find the ideal date for your wedding. For example, if you’re planning to choose a reception hall in Toronto, many events can make a mess of the city, like charity runs, or something like Caribana.
Know what weekends are chock full of events that can either a) take away from your guest list or b) make getting to and from your ceremony and reception a nightmare. Anyway, don’t be afraid to go against convention. A Friday night wedding or a Sunday afternoon event can reduce conflicts while also saving you money big time.
Look, nowadays anything goes when it comes to weddings, and that includes holding it any time of year: the idea of the glowing June bride as the ultimate goal is dead. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider the weather.
Every season has its drawbacks, from the dead heat and humidity of the deep summer to snow and slush in winter, and unpredictable winds of the fall to the scary idea of downpours in the spring. Choose the weather that suits your plans and your idea of comfort. This goes without saying if you’re planning an outdoor affair!
Apply for a Wedding Credit Card
No, this is not a type of wedding credit card. Shop around for the best credit card rewards program to make your financing more manageable. For example, can you get a free honeymoon? Can you get money back on your wedding purchases? If you have a dedicated credit card for wedding expenses you can accumulate points to offset other costs. Just don’t build up too much debt on the card!
Work with a reception hall that can lead you to other vendors like florists, wedding planners, photographers and entertainment. This saves time, and often money.
Choose someone or a few people you can trust to help with the heavy lifting. Mom, sis, BFF, your partner in crime etc., can all help lessen the load of planning.
Budget from Day 1
Don’t let money stand in your way of the perfect wedding reception. Consider the things that are the most important to you and put them in priority order. Look at ways you can save in one area to get a better option in the things that count.
For example, do you need 400 guests? Is a world tour honeymoon more important than your meal plan? Prioritizing helps you budget smart and avoid overspending. A typical breakdown of wedding expenses looks something like this:
- 50 percent for the reception
- 10 percent for flowers
- 10 percent for attire
- 10 percent for entertainment/music
- 10percent for photo/video
- 2 percent for invites
- 2 percent for gifts
That leaves about 5 percent for unexpected expenses.
Create a Binder
Just like Monica in Friends, create a binder for everything related to the wedding. List your vendors so you can add meeting dates, have an overall to-do list you can update every day, have a list of items you’ve delegated, keep a plan B page should anything fall through, have pictures of dresses, floral arrangements etc. to share with vendors, keep tabs on your invites and more. You can also do it online or use an app.
Wedding meals are no longer just about a five-course dinner. Consider all aspects of your reception and what kind of food you want to serve. Sit down or buffet? Cocktail hour or just wine at dinner? Champagne toast? Wedding cake or dessert table?
Have a B List
Your guest list should have an A list for the people you can’t imagine the day without and a B list so you have an ongoing group of people you can invite should you receive rejections. Remember not to take rejections personally, as not everyone will be available for your big day. Just be sure you keep tabs and don’t overextend or worse, end up with an empty reception hall.
Make Reception “Policies”
This might sound a little regimental, but you need to have some policies in place to avoid misunderstandings. Some things to consider:
- Kids: welcome or not?
- Is the full bar paid for, partial bar paid for or cash bar?
- Plus ones, or no plus ones for singles?
- Accommodate special diets, or fend for yourself?
Map It Out
Make sure you provide a clear map with directions on how to get to the reception hall Toronto visitors can understand. You don’t want guests to lose their way and miss out on some of the fun.
Make sure you discuss any restrictions your reception hall might have like no confetti or rice, or no balloons. Some halls have eco-friendly rules or don’t want to worry about certain types of clean-ups. You might even have a pet you want to bring along and this might not be allowed in many cases.
Make Sure Everyone Is Involved
Since weddings tend to be a mixed bag of people, make sure your plans include everyone. For example, if you are using a lot of technology, make sure your grandparents understand what’s going on. Or, if you have a live band, have them throw in some oldies to get the older generations’ feet tapping. Although it’s your day, you want everyone to have a good time.
Don’t try to pack too much into the day just to make a point you’re creative. Instead, look at quality over quantity and choose the most meaningful and engaging activities that speak to who you are as a couple.