10 Tips for a Smooth Reception

Planning the perfect reception doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are 10 tips that will help you plan a reception that leaves your guests impressed and keeps your wallet happy.

1. Plan ahead

I can’t stress the importance of pre-planning enough. Venues, DJs and caterers alike appreciate lead time, and they will often reward proactive couples with discounts for early booking.

2. Try to avoid dropping the word “wedding” when shopping for vendors

Keep in mind that vendors may quote a higher rate if you mention that you’re booking for a wedding. Start your conversation with vague questions like, “How much would it be for a two-hour set?” or “What do you normally charge to cater for X number of people?”

3. Consider local photographers and musicians

An affordable alternative for music and photography is local artists. Look for professionals that would be excited by the opportunity to be part of your big day. While not well known, they will add originality to your reception.

4. Make sure you have a backup plan

Mother Nature is unpredictable. If you have plans that take place outside, make sure you have a Plan B in case the weather isn’t agreeable.

5. Get creative with the food

Think outside traditional catering. A buffet-style meal might be a better choice for you. Get a couple of killer entrees, then add some appetizers and snacks. Instead of an open bar, offer a couple of different beers or wine. You’ll cut costs tremendously and keep people satisfied.

6. Create a program and do your best to stick to it

Guests hate playing the guessing game. Print out a stack of programs with an outline of the day’s events to help keep questions at a minimum and keep anxious guests at bay.

7. Plan table games

MadLibs are always a hoot, the triangle peg game never fails to keep people busy and DIY pictures or drawings of the lucky couple are affordable ways to keep guests of all ages entertained.

8. Don’t exhaust your guests

It’s important to let your guests enjoy your reception. Allow for some down time when there aren’t any games, dancing or organized events.

9. Plan your thank-you cards

This technically comes after the reception, but it’s good to start thinking about the thank-you cards. You may be able to negotiate a digital deal with your photographer so you can have the digital files to create a personalized card for your guests.


Don’t worry about everything going perfectly and just enjoy yourself. Your guests want to see you having a great time.

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