Every year, around 2.2 million couples in the US get married.
While each wedding is different, there’s one thing they all have in common. They all require a huge amount of planning!
It takes a whole lot of planning and preparation to pull off a great wedding. If you don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll give you 10 things that you need to have on your wedding reception checklist.
The Ultimate Wedding Reception Checklist
Make wedding planning easy by following these simple steps.
1. Hire Wedding Planner
Planning a wedding is a huge responsibility.
There are so many things to think about, and it can be hard to keep on top of it all. You can spend hours poring over endless choices of venues, entertainers, decorations and other options. Why do that when a wedding planner could take care of it for you?
They already have the experience, knowledge, and connections to put the perfect wedding reception together.
Before you jump in and start planning, find out more about what a wedding planner could do for you.
2. Define Your Budget
The very first thing your wedding planner will ask you is “what’s your budget?”
Don’t do anything until you’ve decided how much you can afford to spend on your wedding reception. That’s one of the biggest wedding planning mistakes you can make.
Once you have an idea of how much you want to spend, you can go from there. Your planner will keep everything in check, advising you of what does and doesn’t fit into your budget along the way.
3. Create Your Guest List
This is one of the most difficult parts of wedding planning.
First, think about how many guests you’re going to have. Do you want a small, intimate reception or a huge affair with lots of people?
Then, you’ll need to decide who you’re going to invite. This is always tricky, as you run the risk of offending people if you invite one person but not the other. Just make sure the amount of guests you have correlates with your budget.
4. Pick a Venue
At the top of any simply wedding checklist should be a venue.
Where do you want to have your reception? Some of the most popular venue types include hotels, country clubs, restaurants, beaches, and gardens. However, those aren’t your only choices.
If you want to go for something a little different, you could have it at a historical building, a museum, or even on a boat!
Then, you’ll have to see if your chosen venue is available on the date you need.
If you want a summer wedding, you’ll have to book further in advance. This is the most popular time of the year! You’ll also have to pay a higher fee.
Talk to each venue about their prices and availability at different times of the year.
5. Choose Your Reception Menu
Most venues will have catering included, although you may choose to hire your own.
Either way, you’ll have to make some decisions about the type of food and beverages that will be served. First of all, do you want to have a buffet, set meals or, la carte?
Then, think about any special dietary requirements. Do you need to include vegetarian or vegan options?
Are you going to provide an open bar or let people buy their own drinks? Wedding planners and caterers can advise you on the best choices to go for.
6. Hire Entertainment
You can’t have a wedding without entertainment.
Do you want a DJ, a live band, or something completely different? Whichever you choose, get a preview first to see what they have to offer.
7. Find Someone to Do Hair and Makeup
You need to look your best on your special day, and so do your bridesmaids.
That’s why you should a stylist do to make you all look gorgeous. Make an event out of it by turning it into a fun wedding hair and makeup brunch.
8. Make a Seating Plan
How many tables are you going to have? Who will sit next to who? These are things you need to think about when making your DIY wedding checklist.
First, separate your guest list into groups. Your parents can help you categorize their friends as well as wider family members.
Some weddings have a singles table, where all the single guests get lumped together. Skip that idea and have singles sit with the couples and people they already know. Otherwise, it could be slightly awkward for them.
However, you might want to consider having a separate kids table.
You could also make a wedding seating chart to put at the entrance. That way, guests will easily be able to find their tables, and you can avoid the chaos of people walking around looking for their names.
9. Create an Agenda
You’ll need to write a rough agenda, planning out the events of your day and when they’ll happen.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What time should guests arrive at the reception?
- When will food be served?
- Will there be toasts and speeches? Who will do them and at what time?
- When will you cut the cake?
- Are you doing a bouquet toss? Where will that fit in?
- What time will you have the first dance?
10. Hire a Photographer
You’ll need a photographer to capture all the best moments of your special day. That’s why they’ll be one of the most important items on your wedding reception checklist.
Shop around for the best one for you, making sure you check out their portfolios.
When you hire one, make sure they know your agenda so that they are ready to capture everything when it happens.
Start Planning Today
Now that you have a wedding reception checklist, you’re ready to start planning your day.
It’s a huge task, and it can be stressful. Thankfully, there are some ways you can make it easier.
There are plenty of apps and websites designed specifically for this purpose. To find out more, read our post on the 5 best event planning tools.