How To Plan The Perfect Wedding Reception

The ceremony is the focus of your wedding day, but the wedding reception is the fun part. Finally, after all your planning, you can relax, eat, drink, and dance the night away!

But the reception requires just as much—if not more planning as the ceremony itself. That’s why we’ve put together a few tips for planning the perfect wedding reception of your dreams.

Keep it simple for your perfect wedding reception

Pinterest is full of ideas for entertaining your guests at the wedding reception—board games, activities, snack bars. Any of these ideas can be fun, but don’t overload your reception with too many things. After all, you still want people to get up and dance! Giving people too much to do means fewer people will be out on the dance floor or be there to watch as you cut the cake. Pick just one or two activities, especially ones that will keep young children entertained.

black and white shot of groomsmen enjoying the reception for a perfect wedding reception

Don’t make your guests wait.

Nothing makes people grumpier than having to wait for food. Make sure your ceremony starts on time and that you have plenty of time for formal photos. You may even talk to your wedding party and immediate family about preparing for the formal images immediately following the ceremony. This is a great way to prevent a long wait for everyone else at the reception.

Give them something to do.

It also helps to give your guests at the wedding reception something to do. Whether that’s a classy cocktail hour, a candy or snack bar, or even just some fun games to play while they wait. No one wants to sit in a beautifully decorated room twiddling their thumbs.

outside treehouse style as as one of the unique fun wedding ideas

Wide image of reception at Union Trust Philadelphia

Avoid micromanaging.

Yes, it’s your day, but you can’t plan out every single detail. It’s a great idea to pick some of your must-have songs for the dancing and give them to the DJ or band. Your DJ will be able to read the room and pick the perfect song to keep people on the dance floor. This celebration is for you, so enjoy it and don’t worry so much about the little things.

Bride dancing at her Claridge Hotel

Have a plan for little ones.

Chances are you’ll have kids at your wedding, and they will probably be bored out of their minds. Plan something to keep them entertained—and to give their parents a chance to enjoy the party. Even simple activities like coloring sheets or small toys can keep children entertained. You can even have a few songs just for kids to dance to. A little time on the dance floor will allow them to work off some energy and let their parents have fun too.

have a plan for kids for a perfect wedding reception

Make sure everyone is comfortable, including you.

You don’t want your reception venue to get too warm or leave everyone shivering. Be sure to talk to the venue manager about setting the temperature to a comfortable level, especially if it’s regulated by computer.

It’s also important that you are comfortable. For some brides, that means changing into a reception dress. Especially if their wedding dress is long or will keep them from dancing. Or you can just change your shoes. Go for something fun like flats or even sneakers that won’t leave your feet aching at the end of the night.

Make it fun!

Surprise your guests with awesome wedding favors. For instance, a tasty treat to take home, or even unexpected entertainment that will make their jaw drop! You can even go out with a literal bang by having fireworks end your reception. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to have fun and give your guests something they won’t get at every wedding. Something they can keep talking about and remembering!

Just like your ceremony, your wedding reception should reflect you, your fiancé’s personalities, and your love for each other. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun and think outside the box to create a truly memorable event.

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"We cannot say enough good things about Ralph Deal!
I had met with a handful of photographers before a friend recommended Ralph to us. From the moment we met him, I could tell that he was the right person to capture such an important time for us. I was really looking for somebody who connected with my husband and me and we found that in Ralph. His approach to our wedding was for it to be as natural as possible, I barely noticed him during the party but was beyond thrilled with how our story came together!"

-Arielle Ran

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