Time to plan the reception! Although there are a couple of concerns to address before you begin, the details are sugar-sweet. Planning the reception isn't too different from planning a party, so make sure you have fun as you make the arrangements. Use the excuse to go taste some cakes, browse the candle aisle, and linger in a party store or two.
Tally your guests and figure out how much food you can afford to offer and, most importantly, where you can host them. Not all venues will fit your horde of family and friends. Don't create a dream reception only to break your own heart when you realize it's too small!
Do you want a big dance floor for the father-daughter dance, the mother-son dance, and the couple's first dance? Make sure the venue has an appropriate space. Check to make sure music and speakers are allowed, too. Historic venues set in residential neighborhoods may have strict party end times and volume restrictions.
To Booze or Not to Booze?
It may seem silly, but deciding whether or not to serve alcohol at your reception can have a big impact on budget, entertainment, safety precautions, etc. First of all, not all venues allow alcohol, so if that's a deal-breaker, book with caution. You may also have family or religious reasons to limit or avoid alcohol entirely. If you do want champagne toasts and cocktails at your wedding, figure out if you or the venue will provide the drinks, if there is a drink limit, and whether you will provide an open or cash bar.
The hard part of planning is done. Now, it's time to make this reception a party!
Cake Your Way
The reception is all about you and your spouse, so do what you want, even if it isn't traditional. Big white wedding cakes are lovely, but so are cupcake towers. Macarons work, too. So do cinnamon rolls, donuts, or tea cakes. Do it your way!
Engaging Social Media
Your guests will probably post selfies from your wedding on social media. Why not make things more fun with a photo booth? There are plenty of rental services these days, or you can make your own very cheaply. You also might want to come up with a hashtag people can use with their photos.
Give each table a disposable camera and let the chaos unfold. While we can't promise you'll get any good pictures from this activity, you'll have priceless memories of kids, grandparents, and happy couples from your guest list enjoying your big day with you. And who knows? An amateur photographer in the crowd may just snap a dreamy frame of your first dance!
Bring on the Sweets!
Sad as it is to say, cake isn't everyone's cup of tea. Providing a candy or sundae bar is a great alternative or addition to your wedding cake for your reception's sweet side. These can occupy guests while you and your new spouse enjoy a few moments to yourself, finish greeting family, or take some final wedding party pictures.
These days, goodie bags aren't just for kids, and they can really liven up your reception! Add things guests can (and probably will) use right way to add some atmosphere to the event. Gifts like bubbles, glow sticks, novelty accessories, and candy will get the giggles flowing.
DJ vs. Band
What's a party without music? Decide as early as possible whether you want a band, a DJ, or that one talented cousin of yours to handle the music. A band can be great fun, and they're typically the most interactive with your guests, but a good DJ can keep the energy flowing. Although you can request songs from either, a DJ definitely makes it easier to curate your own playlist so you don't offend Grandma.
Reception Venue Specialties
Pick your venue carefully! They may have something special for you and your guests. Couples can hold receptions at amusement parks, skating rinks, and arcades. If you choose a business like any of these to host your party, they might do a lot of the entertaining for you.