The Wedding Reception

Get the Party Started!

The wedding reception begins when the ceremony ends. This is the time to relax and enjoy time with your friends and family.

Before you begin your search for reception sites, be sure to have a good idea of your budget and guest list. This will give you a more accurate idea of the space you need and how much you can spend on food, entertainment, favors, etc.

Again, as with the ceremony, call ahead before you visit sites to check on availability and capacity. Be sure that the capacity is measured according to your needs--guests seated, guests standing, and of course room for dancing.

Wedding receptions range from very simple--cake and punch in the church hall to a sit-down dinner with a full wait staff.

Some venues provide a catering service, some have a list of preferred caterers, and some allow you to hire your own caterers.

Some venues, such as hotels, restaurants, banquet centers, and some country clubs are equipped with everything you need from tables, chairs, and linens to wait staff and food.

Venues that are not typically party spots such as parks, some clubs, some halls, and your backyard may provide just the space, and you bring the rest.

Venues such as museums or historic spots may have many restrictions to deal with. For outside areas be sure to ask about alternate plans in case of inclement weather.

When my Starry Eyed Daughter and her Handsome Fiance announced that they wanted an outside wedding, my first reaction was, "NO--I don't want to worry about the weather for a year!"

But we were fortunate enough to find a nearby park that had a lovely gazebo location for the ceremony and a beautiful lodge with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the woods. Therefore, if it had rained, the ceremony could have taken place in front of the windows with the woods and lake in the background.

A full-service location is definitely easier and more convenient. However, if the location you have your heart set on does not offer all the necessary services, it will be worth your effort to find each component needed for the reception.

These components are usually tables and chairs (if not provided), tablecloths and linens, caterer, sound system, dj, centerpieces and any other decorating that you want. In some venues it may even include a tent and port-a-potties!

As far as expense goes sometimes an all-inclusive package is cheaper than coordinating all the components yourself. And it is definitely easier!!

If you choose to do it yourself, be sure you have enough help to set up and take down!! Have your plans made out and people assigned to set everything up and decorate. The bride (or her mother) will not have time on that day!

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