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The Ultimate Guide To Having An Amazing Wedding Reception

The reception is what people remember.

Though you might be excited to see your man for the first time as you walk down the aisle, most of your guests are looking forward to the reception that follows the ceremony. The reception sets the tone for your wedding and is going to be how people remember if they had an excellent time. With so many different directions you can take your reception, how can you know that you are doing what is best and most fun for your guests? We have your guide below!

Don’t Make Guests Wait

It can be an awkward lull during your wedding when you want to get your wedding pictures and your guests are heading to your reception to wait for you to arrive. Though they are going to have to wait for you, don’t make them wait on things like food and drinks, and seating. I went to a summer wedding one time where they had light appetizers outside, and almost died. I was so hot, tired from standing for an hour and a half, and getting more irritated by the second. Make sure that you allow the guests to begin to enjoy parts of your reception even when you aren’t there.

Plan Way In Advance

Your reception should be well-thought out way before your wedding day. You need to plan the activities that you want to have at your reception, what food and drinks you are going to have, the music for the event, where people are sitting, etc. We will go through these steps more in detail later, but you should know that a great reception doesn’t come from minimal planning.

Decide If You Want A Bar

Make a decision if you want to have an open bar, a partial bar, a bar where you have to pay, or no bar. That is going to help you as you start budgeting for your wedding. You know your guests and family members better than anyone, you will know if they would be ok with having alcohol flowing at your wedding. If you are stuck in between, you could always have champagne for the toast but not available for the rest of the night. Alcohol is going to affect your guests, both positively and negatively, so choose this decision wisely. For tips on having a dry wedding, click here.

Pick The Food

Are you going to have a buffet? Have it catered? Have cake or cupcakes? All these decisions need to be made way in advance. Make sure that you have options for those that might have a gluten allergy, not eat meat, or are allergic to peanuts. If you want to have a cake-cutting ceremony, it might be a good idea to have a cake. It’s important that you try and taste test all the food that you want to have at your wedding before you purchase it. Believe it or not, bad food can be just as expensive as good food.

Plan the Seating Chart

I know that seating charts are one of the most dreaded tasks of anyone planning their wedding, but it is a small piece that goes into making your reception great. Consider the people you are seating at each table and if you think they will get along together. If a bunch of your college friends are coming back to attend your wedding, seat them together. For more tips, check out our article here. 

Think About Music

Not only about the songs you want to dance to for your father-daughter and mother-son dance, but for the night in general. Consider hiring a DJ or someone who would be able to play the playlist your created on Spotify. Think about the size of your dance floor, and if you want to do cheesy dances everyone knows like The Cha Cha Slide, Electric Slide, and The Wedding Dance Game. Consider the music tastes of your friends and your loved ones and try to play songs you know the whole crowd will enjoy. 

Don’t Plan Too Many Activities

It can be fun when you have all your friends and family around you to want to do every wedding tradition possible, but try to scale back. People enjoy the reception a lot more when they are able to relax, eat, and dance. You don’t have to go out of your way to make the reception over the top; people just want to enjoy celebrating with you.

Have A Choreographed Dance

The trend in recent years has been to do a choreographed dance either with your parent or your new spouse, so why not try it out? The crowd will love it, and you’ll have a lot of fun performing and learning the moves.

Getaway Car

Make sure that you have a car and that it is ready to go when you need to leave the reception. Old and retro, or sleek and new, your getaway car might be relevant to your husband-to-be, so maybe let him choose this one. Either way, make sure that you leave on time to catch any planes or departures for your honeymoon.

Should You Have Two Dresses? 

Think about getting two dresses, or a dress that you can remove the bottom part of for your reception. This could allow you to be more comfortable when you are dancing and interacting with your guests.

Be Appreciative

Even if you are starting to get tired of greeting guests and kissing when someone clinks there glass, fake it until you make it. These people are all here to celebrate you, and they have given to you from their time and pocket book. Make sure that you take time to go around to every table and ask everyone how they are doing. Your guests will appreciate you taking the time to pay attention to them properly.

Keep The Speeches Short 

Whoever is giving your maid of honor and best man speech, make sure that they are aware of keeping it short. It should be heartfelt, funny, and short. No one wants to hear your maid of honor go on and on about every touching moment you’ve had together since you’ve met. When it doubt, shorten it up. For speech tips, click here. 

Spray That Hair Down

Your hair is going to have quite the day at your wedding. You need it to look great, stand the test of photographs, and still look effortless at the reception. Make sure that whoever is doing your hair and makeup sprays it and bobby pins it so that can’t possibly fall out.

Have A Blast

Enjoy your reception. This is a time to celebrate your new life stage and to be around the people you love most. Don’t waste this time being stressed out about how everything is going and all the little details, you have bridesmaids for that. You just make sure that you have the time of your life on one of the best days of your life.


I hope that this guide can help you as you start to plan your reception. Have any additional tips? Feel free to comment below.


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