As wedding photographer, I can say with confidence that your wedding reception will likely require as much or even more planning than your ceremony, but it is also the part of your wedding that will most allow you to express yourself and provide your guests with a time to have fun. Your ceremony usually only requires you to think about the things you want as a couple, while your wedding reception requires you to think about what will make your guests happy. The earlier you start planning, the less stressful the experience will be and the more chances you will have to include details that will make it as memorable for your guests as it is for you.
The first thing you will need to consider is what type of reception you want to have. Many couples choose to have a reception that coordinates with the theme of their wedding which will help determine the location and style of the wedding reception. Depending on the complexity of the theme you choose, you may have additional planning to do in order to accommodate your ideas. If you decide not to pick a specific theme, you will often have more options for locations, decorations, food, music and other important choices.
Selecting a venue for your wedding reception can be a fun part of planning your big day. If you have decided on a theme, you should look for a reception location that goes with the theme you are thinking of. Choices for wedding reception venues range from restaurants and banquet halls to art galleries and barns, depending on what you are looking for. Remember that being creative can pay off big time, not only in cost savings but also by making your reception particularly memorable. And it is also important to make sure that you hire wedding photographer that will be able to capture the essence of your wedding reception without getting in the way.
Once you have selected a location for your wedding reception, you will want to start choosing vendors. Doing your planning as early as possible is a smart idea, because many of the best vendors are booked months in advance. As you talk to vendors, let them know what type of theme or feeling you want for your reception and see if they are able to accommodate you. Your choice of theme will also influence your vendor selection- for example, a country style wedding might benefit from a western band and catering by a barbecue business while a more elegant reception may include an orchestra and dining at an upscale eatery. There are no right or wrong choices, but each vendor should work well with you and be excited about helping you create the perfect wedding reception.
As you work out the details of your reception, be sure to stay in touch with vendors who can help you decide what will make your event special. Be sure to mention any special requests as soon as possible, but also be open to suggestions from vendors about what will make your event go smoothly. And don’t forget to ask your wedding photographer for their advice on the best shots to take during the reception. Remember that your wedding reception should be both very personal and exciting for your guests. Of course, the most important tip is to have fun. After all, this is a once in a lifetime event that you will remember forever!