For most bridal couples, the setting for the wedding reception is of prime importance. It can be in the lovely hall of the church where the wedding takes place, a beautiful garden covered with white tents, or at a vineyard with a breathtaking view.
When selecting a location for your wedding reception (and maybe for the wedding, as well) there are a number of things to take into consideration before you sign the contract.
Ask About Every Detail
- You might be enthralled by the beautiful view, but find out what their dishes, tablecloths, and silver look like. If you're having a formal wedding, you won't want heavy pottery dishes, styrofoam cups, and cheap stainless flatware. The chairs may be of the folding plastic variety and you envision delicate silver chivari chairs.
The Reception Setting is Beautiful But the Carpet is Horrid
- When inspecting prospective reception sites, be sure to look at every detail. Is the carpet color or pattern complimentary to your color scheme? Are the chairs in keeping with your theme? Will your guests be able to dance on the floor? Is the decor heavy Spanish and your wedding is a light, airy affair?
- Will the site allow you to bring in other, more appropriate chairs, sound equipment for the band, or let you have an alcohol-free reception? If not, you might want to consider other sites that are more appropriate for your needs. If you can think clearly, you'll realize that you can save money by deciding on a site that won't require costly rentals to create the atmosphere you want.
Reserve the Wedding Reception Site For the Whole Day
- You're spending lots of time ([probably months!) and money (lots!) to create your perfect wedding day. Don't be in a hurry to have it over. If it's available and financially feasible, arrange to reserve your site for the whole day. Then you won't have to rush through your festivities to clear out for another party. You'll have time to get everything ready, take pictures, relax, and enjoy your party.
Adding special touches at every turn will contribute to the beautiful memories of your wedding day. Here are some details to arrange ahead.
Arrange the Tables for Ease of Conversation
- At a wedding reception, decorated round tables usually work best for guests. Long banquet tables look impressive, but it's hard for guests to talk with each other. For the wedding party, arrange to have a U-shaped table with the bride and groom at the head. Then guests can approach the happy couple for conversation and the bridal party will still be able to chat easily.
Choose Elegant Table Covers
- Most reception tables are functional banquet style and need to be covered. Choose an elegant floor-length under-tablecloth and top it with a colorful, sheer, or lace over-cloth. You can rent tablecloths for large parties at party rental companies. Some companies work by mail order. The cloths are sent directly to the site and can be shipped back once the party is over. Be sure to include the high cost of tablecloths in your overall budget.
Add Drama and Sparkle to Your Wedding Reception With Candles
- All candles do not burn the same way or time. If you're having a short cocktail reception, small votive candles will work fine. But if you're having a dinner or luncheon, followed by dancing, you'll need tall tapers or large pillar candles. It's a good idea to test the burning time of any candles you're thinking of using to be sure they'll last through your party.
A Beautifully Decorated Tall Wedding Cake
- Even if you're having a small wedding party, you can still enjoy the look of a tall tiered beautifully decorated wedding cake. Have the cake baker make several "fake" layers as a base for the real cake. They'll be frosted like the rest of the cake and no one will know the difference! This is a lot easier and less costly than having a multi-level real cake that won't be eaten. If you don't care about a large cake, order several sheet cakes that will be served from the kitchen. No one will be the wiser!
Welcome Your Guests in Style
- Plan a beautiful receiving area for your guests at the wedding reception site. As they get out of their cars and enter the site, welcome them with floral garlands, candle-lit lanterns, or other decorations. If they'll go from the wedding site to a reception site, provide welcoming decorations along the pathway. Be sure the sidewalk is free of dust and that the whole area is cleared of litter.
Provide a Schedule for Your Guests
- If you or your wedding coordinator have every minute planned out, it would be thoughtful to prepare a printed wedding and reception schedule for your guests so they don't miss any important events. Include the approximate for the arrival of the bride and groom, cake cutting, special toasts to the bride and groom, picture taking, tossing of the bride's bouquet and garter, and the first dance for the happy couple.
Getting everything organized ahead of time for the wedding reception will help the celebration go on without a hitch. Plan the wedding decor, carry it through to the reception, and the rest will take care of itself.
Read about Reception Flowers.