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  • Writer's pictureSongbird

A Guide to How to Have the Perfect Wedding Reception

As wedding planners, we know that planning a wedding reception can be both exciting and overwhelming. From choosing the perfect venue to selecting decor,, there's a lot to consider. So we’ve decided to share some of our knowledge from our many years of planning weddings and create the ultimate reception checklist to ensure your special day goes smoothly!


Your wedding venue sets the tone for the entire celebration. Make sure you've covered the following:

  • Venue Rental: Make sure to secure a space that accommodates your guest count as well as fits your wedding aesthetic.

  • Rental: Not always does a venue come equipped with all your celebration needs, such as Chairs, tables, linens, plates, utensils, glassware, ect so make sure you understand all costs associated with the venue rental. 

  • Lighting Equipment: Be aware that some venues may require you to book lighting options from an third party, especially if it is an outdoor venue.

  • Sound System or DJ Equipment: Some venues may have built-in sound systems while others may not, so make sure you check with your venue and ensure your DJ understands your needs.


Pay attention to these details for a memorable meal:

  • Caterer: Select a reputable caterer with experience in wedding receptions.

  • Food: Choose a menu that caters to your preferences while also considering your guests' dietary preferences.

  • Beverages: Offer a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

  • Waitstaff: Good timing is so important in order for a wedding to go smoothly, so ensure there's enough staff to serve guests efficiently.

  • Cake or Dessert Options: Decide on a wedding cake or alternative dessert selections. When considering more food options, maybe also consider late-night snacks as well.

  • Cake Cutting Utensils: Don't forget to include any special untensils for cutting the cake.


Keep your guests entertained throughout the evening with these entertainment options:

  • DJ or Live Band: Choose a music expert who understands you and your partner's taste.

  • Photo Booth: Capture fun memories with a photo booth for guests to enjoy.

  • Games or Activities: Keep guests engaged with games or activities, for example, lawn games at cocktail hour, or you can ask your MC to come up with some interactive activities during dinner.


Transform your venue into a stunning setting with these décor elements:

  • Flowers: From bouquets to boutonnieres, flowers add beauty to your celebration.

  • Centerpieces: Centerpieces do not always have to be floral. You can get creative and incorporate centerpieces that complement your theme to match your personal style.

  • Mood Lighting: Set the mood with candles, string lights, fairy light,  ect…

  • Extras: Decor can be big like draping the walls of a hall or it can be small like a votive candle so don't forget to account for all those small decor items that make your wedding personal!

Photography and Videography:

Capture every special moment with professional photography and videography services:

  • Photographer: Hire a skilled photographer to document your wedding day.

  • Videographer: Capture the magic on video to relive for years to come.


Ensure your guests are informed and organized with these stationery items:

  • Invitations: Send out invitations well in advance to give guests time to RSVP.

  • Menu: With one paper, you can tell your guests what they'll eat and enhance your tablescape. 

  • Place Cards and Table Numbers: Organize seating arrangements for your guests.

  • Signage: Guide guests with welcome signs, seating charts, and other informative signage.

Attire and Beauty:

Look and feel your best on your special day with these attire and beauty essentials:

  • Wedding Dress: Find the perfect gown that makes you feel like a bride.

  • Groom's Tuxedo: Choose a tuxedo or suit that fits your style.

  • Bridesmaid Dresses: Coordinate dresses for your bridal party.

  • Groomsmen Attire: Ensure groomsmen are dressed to match the wedding theme.

  • Hair & Makeup Artist: Hire a hair & makeup artist to create your desired wedding look for you and your bridal party. 

  • Accessories: Complete your look with accessories like veils, jewelry, and shoes.


Arrange transportation to ensure everyone gets to the venue on time:

  • Wedding Car or Transportation: Arrive in style with a wedding car or transportation service.

  • Guest Transportation: Consider providing transportation for guests if needed.

With careful attention to detail and thoughtful preparation, you'll create a celebration that you and your guests will cherish for a lifetime. Congratulations on the engagement, your wedding will be amazing! 

If you are still feeling a bit overwhelmed and need some help planning your wedding Our team of expert wedding planners brings creativity, professionalism, and unmatched expertise to every wedding we plan.Whether you're saying "I do" in a local california venue or a picturesque vineyard or a tropical paradise, our wedding planning and destination wedding planning services ensure a seamless and unforgettable experience.

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