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Planning Your Reception

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Your reception will be the first social function you attend together as man and wife – so it should be a special occasion, both for you, the guests of honour, and your guests.

Firstly, remember that receptions don’t have to be built around lavish three course dinners. They can also be breakfasts, brunches, lunches, and afternoon teas. Or perhaps you’d prefer the sophistication of a glam cocktail party.

Your reception venue should reflect your own personal style. Start looking around for premises that you think might fit the bill and ask friends if they have any recommendations. Once you’ve short listed several venues, visit them to inspect their facilities, discuss menu options (if they offer catering) and get a quote that itemises all the services you’d like them to provide. When you make these preliminary visits, investigate specifics such as whether a private dressing room is available for the bridal party, the size and shape of the tables, whether any special needs your guests may have can be catered for (wheelchair access for example), if there is a fully equipped kitchen for food preparation, and whether there are any hidden charges such as gratuities or plate charges.

Your venue should be large enough to seat your guests comfortably, with sufficient room for your entertainers and their equipment, as well as a dance floor. And ask whether the venue has a lounge or similar area for your guests to gather while you are having your photographs taken.

If your reception is to be a more intimate affair, make sure the venue you choose has a suitably sized room. Restaurants can be an excellent option. Many cater for smaller wedding groups and offer menu choices suitable for wedding breakfasts, brunches, lunches or dinners. Could be that your favourite venue is perfect except for one apparently fatal flaw. But before giving up on it – think laterally. See that unsightly ceiling? Could it be covered with hundreds of white fairy lights, draped fabric, or swags of greenery? A little creativity and you could turn a minus into a fabulous feature.

Once you’ve found the venue, make a booking – and of course, get everything in writing including the date, time, cost, guest numbers, and menu selection. Then make an appointment to revisit the site with your wedding co-ordinator (if you have one) and your florist. Both will need to assess the space so they can determine the decorations and colour scheme that will match the mood and theme of your wedding, and the venue itself.

When you have finalised all your reception arrangements, draw up a running sheet for the event and give a copy to your caterer, entertainers and/or musicians, your MC, the reception venue manager, and to each member of the bridal party.

With some careful planning, you can create your dream reception – one that will be personal, intimate and enjoyed by every last one of your guests.


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