Weddings are truly wonderful, but they can also be one of the most expensive and stressful events you’ll ever have to organise. However, with careful planning and budgeting, you can ensure your Big Day is one of the most memorable days of your life, rather than one big disaster!
Here are our top 6 wedding reception planning tips.
#1 – Book early
Before you actually start looking for locations for your wedding reception, set the date first in order to take advantage of the discounts that can be obtained from booking in early.
When booking a wedding reception venue, the day and time of year you plan to hold it can actually affect the availability of venues, so try and plan the event outside of peak periods (like in winter) and peak days (like weekends).
Securing a wedding venue early can also give you time to sort out all the necessary logistical requirements, and will ensure your dream wedding reception actually becomes a reality!
#2 – Determine your budget
One of the most obvious wedding reception planning tips is to set your budget, as it will probably be one of the costlier elements you’ll need to consider. Many venues will have a minimum spend requirement, and others will base their pricing on a range of packages, so you’ll need to determine how much you can actually afford to spend. A good first step is to estimate the number of guests you’d like to attend, which can help you estimate a ‘cost per head’ and, after factoring in all that goes along with organising a wedding reception, give you a total figure to work towards.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider a smaller venue like a restaurant. Not only will they do all the cooking, the venue’s décor is already in place, impeccable service is complimentary and there will be no cleaning up to do!
#3 – Decide on the type of reception
When planning the perfect wedding reception, one of the key elements to consider is where you’d like it to occur. Will the celebration be indoors at a catered venue like in a restaurant or conference venue, or at a beach or another outdoor location like in a garden setting? There are also a wide array of options in terms of the type of wedding you’d prefer and how you will celebrate with your guests. Breakfast, brunch or lunch receptions are simple but stylish options, and they can be a great way of reducing your wedding budget. They also allow you to leave for your honeymoon on the same day if that’s a priority!
Afternoon tea receptions can be another budget-friendly alternative allowing you to have an early ceremony with plenty of time for an after-party, and cocktail wedding receptions offer a more casual atmosphere where guests can mingle without having to sit down for a formal meal. A dinner wedding reception is probably the priciest option, however it will allow you to enjoy a more traditional flow of events, and of course enjoy a bigger celebration!
#4 – Factor in entertainment
Everybody loves a wedding because not only do you get the chance to dress up, enjoy a little champagne, and celebrate with loved ones, there is also often plenty of opportunity for entertainment. Professional bands, wedding singers, live musicians and DJ’s alike can all amply set the scene and create a celebratory atmosphere that suits both your musical taste and the mood you’re trying to create. If you’d prefer something a little more left of field, consider hiring a photo booth or a karaoke machine (although just be prepared that it may end up being a looooong night!)
#5 – Hire professional staff
Apart from hiring a professional entertainer for your wedding reception, it’s also wise to think about other assistance you’ll need on the day in order to ensure things run smoothly. Hiring photography and videography services are an integral part of the wedding ceremony itself, however enlisting these professionals to also cover your reception will allow them to capture all the wonderfully intimate moments that can occur when people don’t actually realise they’re being photographed.
In terms of how to organise a wedding reception at a self-catered venue, you’ll also need to think about service staff. A general rule here is to have one bartender for every 75 guests, and one meal server for every 10 guests if you are serving a sit-down meal. For buffets, fewer servers are fine as long as the food tables are overseen by station chefs. And of course if you have the budget, hiring a professional wedding planner is also something to consider. They will organise everything down to the last detail, meaning you can simply sit back, relax and soak up all the wonder and excitement of your Big Day.
#6 – Consider the finer details
Once you’ve confirmed the location and type of wedding reception you’d like, it’s then time to organise the nitty-gritty. If you are opting for a sit-down meal, a seating plan will need to be determined. Traditionally, the bride and groom will either sit at a ‘sweetheart table’ facing their guests, however some couples prefer a more modern approach where they are seated among their guests.
Parents and close family and friends are usually seated together at their respective tables, with place cards nominating where everyone should sit. However, it’s your wedding, so feel free to do this part of planning the perfect wedding reception your way!
Your reception venue should also look inviting, which means either renting items or using your venue’s facilities in terms of flowers, lighting, glassware, tableware and additional décor.
And then of course there’s the food! Whether you serve simple finger food, plated meals, a buffet, or you self-cater, everyone looks forward to a delicious meal at a wedding reception, so make sure your choice is both delicious and ample!
After a wedding reception that’s both stylish and stress-free? Contact the experts at Moda Restaurant today!