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While the wedding ceremony is when you and your groom become husband and wife, the wedding reception is a celebration of you as a married couple. It is during the reception that you will be able to mingle with your guests.

The wedding reception is usually the most expensive part of a wedding, with most people spending about one third of their wedding budget on it. It is, therefore, important that you shop around a lot before committing to anything.

Consider the following when planning your wedding reception:

The Reception Venue
You must book the reception venue early, especially if there is a particular venue that you just "have to have". Some reception venues are very popular and have to be booked up to a year in advance, especially hotels and restaurants, which are the most common venues for receptions.

Other places where you could have your wedding reception include:

  • at home (inside or outside in your garden)
  • in a community hall
  • in a park

If you are going to have an outside wedding reception you must make sure that:

  • it will not be difficult to walk with high heels
  • there are enough seats
  • there are enough toilets
  • there is enough parking
  • you have a back-up plan in case it rains!

If you are going to have your wedding reception at a hotel or restaurant you have to decide whether you are going to use their "in-house" chefs and waiters/waitresses or hire a catering firm. Some hotels and restaurants, however, won't allow you to hire outside caterers, so be sure to ask before you decide anything.

If you're not going to have a hotel or restaurant reception you must decide if you are going to have caterers or cook yourself. Cooking yourself, even with help from friends and relatives, will obviously be more difficult than hiring a catering firm. But it will probably be much cheaper. Click on Reception Venues for more information.

Food and Drinks
You must provide your guests with something to eat and drink.
Food can be served in many different ways:

  • buffet
  • family style
  • food stations
  • French service
  • Russian service
  • plated service
  • tray/butlered service (for hors d'oeuvres and drinks)

Drinks can also be served in a variety of ways:

  • open bar
  • limited bar
  • consumption bar
  • cash bar
  • tray service
  • open bar for the first hour or so, and then a cash bar for the rest of the reception
  • BYO service

Don't forget soft drinks and juices for children and those who don't want to drink alcohol.
Click on Catering for more information about food and drinks.

Music and Dancing
A wedding reception would not be complete without music. You need either a DJ or an orchestra to play the music for you. You should probably have a variety of types of music, for the old and the young. You also need to choose the song you are going to have for your first dance with your new husband. Click on Music and Entertainment for more information.

The MC
You need an MC to take care of the events of the wedding reception. She or he will tell your guests when certain events will occur, such as meals, dancing, and speeches and toasts. Click on The MC for more information.

Entertainment
Having both your guests and yourselves entertained and relaxed is very important. You could, for example, hire a couple of ballroom dancers to perform. Click on Music and Entertainment for more information.

Speeches and Toasts
Every wedding includes speeches and toasts. It is usually the groom, the fathers of the bride and groom, the best man, and the maid of honour who make speeches. Click on Speeches and Toasts for more information.

Weddding Decorations
A reception venue has to be appropriately decorated for it to be a wedding reception venue. You can, for example, have flowers and candles placed tastefully around the room. You should also have centrepieces on the tables. Click on Decorating the Reception Venue for more information.

Photos and Videos
Make sure to tell your photographer and/or videographer of what and where they have to take photos and tape before the wedding. Click on Photography and Videography for more information.

More information:

  • Reception Venues
    This is the place where you can mingle with guests, eat and thank people for coming. Click here for more info.

  • Catering
    Whatever type of wedding reception you have you have to choose a good wedding caterer who is able to provide everything food-related you require. Click here for more info.

  • The Receiving Line
    A receiving line, which occurs at the beginning of the wedding reception, gives everyone a chance to congratulate and speak to the bridal party. Click here for more info.

  • Order of Events
    Typically, there is a set timeline of what should take place at the reception. Click here for more info.

  • Speeches and Toasts
    Speeches and toasts give the wedding party a chance to congratulate the bride and groom, while the groom (and sometimes the bride) thanks everyone. Click here for more info.

  • Music and Entertainment
    Whether you have a DJ or 6-piece orchestra music is crucial to a successful and entertaining wedding reception. Wedding entertainment other than music could include ballroom dancers or a comedian. Click here for more info.
  • The MC
    The Master of Ceremonies is like the director in a movie. He or she performs tasks such as introducing the wedding party and announcing various events at the reception, such as speeches and cake cutting. Click here for more info.

  • Decorating the Reception Venue
    Decorations play a large role in setting the mood for any function. Weddings are no exception. With the right decorations a simple function site can be transformed into the most elegant venue for a wedding reception. Click here for more info.


  • Find Wedding Reception suppliers in the Wedding Directory
    Click here for more info.

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