6 Tips for a Flawless Wedding Reception

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Photo by Two Irises

What can happen when 200 of your closest family and friends are in a room together for your wedding reception? Well, just about anything. But let’s make sure it’s all smiles and laughs here!

While striving for the perfect wedding reception, just remember the best you can do is let the professionals do their job. Your wedding day may be perfect or it may have a few hiccups, but the best advice I was given is that if there’s something wrong, keep it to yourself. No one else will know but you!

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help make sure your wedding reception goes off without a hitch after you get hitched. Here’s 6 tips to keep in mind:

1. The Master of Ceremonies Knows All

Be it your band leader, DJ, best man or maid of honor, the master of ceremonies should be the one letting guests know when to stand up, when to sit down and when to get themselves on the dance floor. This ensures the sequence of events will keep moving (without you worrying when to let people know their salad course is served). Plus, they’ll be the one announcing speeches and toasts, so you can just sit back, relax and have a sip of champagne when speeches are being read.

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2. Keep the Food Flowing

We know you’re worried about making sure everyone has a drink in their hands. But, in order to make sure guests stay in the “I’m having so much fun and a, not at all over-toxicated” stage, you’ll want to make sure there’s plenty of food around. Though this starts with the cocktail hour, at your wedding reception we recommend letting the first course be served as soon as possible so guests stay full and happy.

3. Let the Music Do its Thing

Your wedding band and DJ are professionals – and they know when to get guests on the dance floor. Most bands will go off of the vibe of the guests. If people are starting to wander off, they’ll play a favorite oldie to get them right back on. To make sure this isn’t a problem at your reception, make sure to check with the band or DJ in advance on how they handle these situations, should they happen. And try not to micro-manage the playlist TOO much.

4. Timing is Key

There are typically two sequence of events at a wedding reception. Either the entire meal is served upfront, and then the dancing starts. Or, courses are served intermittently, allowing for dance sets in between. It’s completely your choice. If you choose the latter, you’ll allow for breathing room in between significant dances, like your first dance, father-daughter dance and mother-son dance. And don’t forget the speeches! Breathing room is important in retaining the attention of your guests. 

Plan your wedding timeline with these helpful tips.

5. The “Just Right” Factor

We’re going to quote a little Goldilocks here, but everything should be “just right.” Meaning the temperature shouldn’t be too cold or too hot, the music shouldn’t be too soft or too loud, and the lights shouldn’t be too dark or too bright. However, not to worry. These things are all topics you’ll discuss with your vendors before your wedding day – so you won’t have to be dealing with any temperature, sound or light issues at the wedding reception.

6. Check in With Your Venue the Week of the Event

If possible, we recommend meeting with your event manager at your venue the week of the wedding. You’ll be able to talk over final numbers and any other day-of logistics, like special dietary restrictions for certain guests, table placements and timing of events. Another helpful tip? Keep a running list of questions you have for your event manager, so you can get them all answered in one productive meeting. You’ll also be able to drop off any miscellaneous items necessary for the event, like programs, place cards, champagne glasses, etc.
Overall, the most important ingredients for a flawless wedding reception are lots of love and laughter…don’t forget that in the days leading up to yours!

15 Comments

  • Dave Anderson says:

    I agree that one of the most important things to get right when planning your wedding is the food. I have been to multiple weddings where the food came out close to an hour late and everyone was complaining. Because so many people go to weddings it is important to make sure that the venue is big enough and that the food catering company is prepared for the crowd.

  • Jesse Jamison says:

    I just wanted to add one thing to your list of last minute things to check at your venue. Make sure you have planned for a way to dispose of trash. It will probably only be an issue when you have an outdoor reception, and is probably the last thing on your mind, but it is good to make sure you have a plan for taking care of it.

  • Scott says:

    I am currently helping my brother and his fiance look for a venue that they can have their wedding reception at. We have made a list of all the things they want. Like you say, I agree that all the lights, temperature, and music should be at appropriate levels. I’ll have to bring this up when I meet with them again tonight.

  • Tiffany Locke says:

    Meeting with your event manager at your venue the week of the wedding is an excellent idea. It is probably the perfect place to go over the final details about your wedding day and making sure that everything is working out with the venue as well. Checking in with the venue to make sure that they’ll have everything ready for the day of the event would be helpful in making sure everything is ready.

  • Deedee Lewis says:

    I really like your tip about checking with the DJ and band about how they handle the wedding music and not micro-managing the playlist. The dancing was fun at my brother’s wedding reception last summer because they did their research on finding a DJ that had the style they were looking for. I will have to keep these wedding reception tips in mind when the day comes that I will be planning my own wedding.

  • Jessica says:

    Number 6 is a must! Making sure everyone is on the same page is key and especially right before the event when there are so many moving parts and parties involved. I feel like over-communication is never a bad thing. If money is tight, even hiring an event planner the day of just to make everything runs smoothly is worth the stress on the bride.

  • This is some really good information about wedding receptions. I am getting married in a few months and I had been really stressful trying to plan it. So, I like that you talked about writing down all of your questions for the venue. That does seem like it would make things a little easier.

  • Sarah Smith says:

    I’m trying to help my sister find a wedding reception. I appreciate the information about how you should check the venue the week of the event and keep a list of running questions. Something else to consider is to get a reception venue that will help you clean things up afterwards.

  • Troy Blackburn says:

    I agree wholeheartedly about meeting with your event planner the week of the wedding. Like you said, you’ll be able to talk final numbers and details and could iron out any issues. I’ve heard that wedding planners really appreciate when you communicate with them, and meet with them regularly. I can imagine that makes their job a little easier! I’ll have to keep these great tips in mind as we begin planning my daughter’s wedding!

  • Simon Brooks says:

    These are great tips; after all, planning a wedding reception can be a huge task to handle, so it’s great to have some advice on how to keep it all on track. It’s also great that you recommend that you visit the manager of your venue the week of the wedding. Doing so really does allow you to hammer out any last minute details and make absolutely sure that the venue will be ready for you and your guests when the time comes.

  • Dennis Sanchez says:

    Thank you for the marvelous read. You advised checking in with the venue of the reception the week of the event as this allows you to talk over any details you may have questions about. My old roommate is finally getting married and he’s been stressed about making his reception fun for everyone. I’ll make sure that once he finds a great venue, to talk with them thoroughly about what he expects.

  • Danni Black says:

    I really like your tip about checking in with your venue the week of the event! That is something that we will have to keep in mind while we are planning out our wedding. We are going to be getting married in the next few months so we are going to be looking for a wedding hall. Thanks for the tips!

  • Cindy Tesler says:

    I agree that you should have a master of ceremonies that understands and knows when everything in your wedding and when it’s supposed to happen. You also mentioned that it’s a good idea to keep the food flowing. I think it’s a good idea to choose a wedding venue that comfortably accommodates all of your guests.

  • Allison Farley says:

    Love, Love, LOVE #1 as I am a Master of Ceremonies based in the Midwest. 🙂 It’s SO important to ensure the ring leader of your event is capable of handling everything your Big Day may throw at you.

    Loved this article. I share all of my Woman Getting Married e-mails onto my company’s Facebook Page (and give you recognition as well!) 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

  • Tyler Meredith says:

    I like what this article mentions about keeping a list of questions to make sure you get everything you need to know from the venue. I think this could be a great way to make sure specific things are handled without too many problems. I’ll have to keep this in mind when looking at different venues as communication is a big factor in planning.

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