Wedding Reception Checklist

Given the scope of the event, planning your wedding can feel a little intimidating to say the least. Preparing for your wedding reception is one of the most tedious parts of wedding planning. Of course your family and friends will love watching the ceremony and witnessing two become one. But let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy a good party and celebration?

Your wedding reception will most likely be the highlight of your big day! This is the time when you and your new spouse can cut loose and unwind alongside your guests. If making the reception fun & memorable seems like a heavy task, just use this wedding reception checklist to make sure that your guests have the time of their lives and feel as though they are truly appreciated for taking the time to celebrate this huge moment in your life.

What Happens During a Wedding Reception?

Before you start considering the small details of your wedding reception, you need to have a checklist of the actual things you will be planning around. So what all exactly takes place at a reception and would should you plan for?

  • Bride and Groom Entrance: Once your ceremony is over, the guests are usually escorted to the reception area before the Bride and Groom and the wedding party. This is to prepare for the moment that the entire wedding party gets to make their grand entrance and signify that the celebration is about to get started!
  • Announcements: The Bride and/Or Groom should give a small speech thanking their guests for coming and signal them to get the reception started. Either the one giving the speech or the D.J. can instruct the guests that it’s time to eat, and give them direction of how the process will work. Sometimes it’s “Get in line, first come first serve!” Other times they D.J. may direct one table of guests at a time to get their food. And other occasions will be food being brought out to the guests by the caterers and hired waiters. It will all depend on your plans when it comes to feeding your guests. Just make sure someone is there to instruct them to keep everything going smoothly.
  • First Dances: Another thing that will take place during your reception is the first dances. This will include the Bride and Groom’s first dance, Father/Daughter dance, Son/Mother dance, or any other dances that you would like to incorporate in your wedding reception. Check this article out if you need tips to prepare you for the First Wedding Dance.
  • Cutting of the Cake: You need to allot time for the cake cutting between the Bride and Groom.
  • Wedding Party Speeches: This will be the time when the Best Man, Father of the Bride, Maid of Honor, etc. can give any speeches they have planned.
  • Lots of Dancing: The reception is all about letting the guests have fun and celebrate this big day with you. Make sure to include time to allow the D.J. to play music to let everyone just let loose and enjoy themselves.

None of the above wedding reception events have to happen in any particular order. There will be many factors that play into the timing of each of these events. Venue size, allotted time, number of guests, catering choices, etc. all play a factor when creating your wedding reception timeline. But, the above checklist should help ensure that you don’t accidentally forget to include these traditional events that tend to be included in wedding receptions.


Wedding Reception Decoration Checklist

Now that you have a pretty decent checklist to prepare for the actual events that will take place at your wedding reception, you need to plan for the decor and accessories that you will need to prepare. All wedding receptions are unique based on many factors. Personal taste, religious beliefs, traditions, budget, etc. all will play a factor in determining exactly what necessities you will need. Hopefully, this wedding reception decoration checklist should give you a general idea of what to consider adding to your list.

  • Place Cards: These will help your guests know where they should be seated to prevent everyone scrambling to find a spot.
  • Menus: Chances are that your guests have already placed their order prior to the wedding, but having a pretty menu laid out to remind them of just what they will be eating is a great way to get them excited and prepare for them. Plus, it’s also an elegant touch!
  • Table Linens/Cloths: These may be included in your package with the venue that you choose. If not, you need to prepare to have them on hand because they are an essential for any reception.
  • Centerpieces/Arrangements: Floral centerpieces and arrangements that match your theme and colors will add the perfect touch for your wedding reception. No need to go overboard, but placing beautiful matching arrangements throughout the reception area can make a huge impact.
  • Candles: Many people do not prefer a very bright lit room for their wedding reception. The key is for the reception to be fun, but, also for it to be a laid back atmosphere for you and your guests to mingle and relax and in a comfortable relaxing setting. Turning down the lights and placing candles throughout the area will give off the perfect vibe to help everyone unwind.
  • Chair Decorations: Including chair decorations adds a nice touch to any reception. You don’t necessarily need to decorate every chair, but consider adding a special touch for the chair of the Bride and Groom, wedding party, Father/Mother of the Bride and Groom, etc. This will help those most important to you feel special and honored to be celebrating this day with you.
  • Guest Book: This doesn’t even necessarily have to be a book. You can find great ideas online for ways for guests to leave their signatures or little notes for the Bride and Groom.
  • Speakers/Microphones: If you intend on having a D.J., chances are they will have all of the necessary sound equipment you need on hand. If not, you will need to make sure you have these for speeches, toasts, etc.

What it boils down to is that your wedding reception checklist will be based around your personal tastes and many other factors. Wedding planning can be super stressful. But, having checklists can ensure that you do not forget any special details for your wedding day!

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