For many reasons, more and more couples these days are opting to host their own wedding reception. Whether it be budget constraints, a frugal lifestyle, or the size of the wedding, the reason for creating your own reception are irrelevant. What is important is planning ahead of time and making the experience as stress-free as possible.
First of all, consider the size of the wedding. Is the ceremony for family and close friends only? Or, is it a huge affair with several hundred guests? The smaller the affair, the easier to manage the reception. Hosting a reception for hundreds of people can be daunting at best and will definitely require the aid of others, whether they be family or hired help. A smaller number of guests is more manageable and easier to host alone.
Secondly, consider the time of the ceremony. Will the ceremony coincide with a mealtime? Will guests expect to be fed? Or, is a mid-afternoon/evening time available, lending itself well to a simple cake/punch/nuts/mints-style of reception? Will there be ample time to set up the reception area well before the ceremony? Will there be individuals to help with clean up afterward?
Next, enlist the help of at least a few people. These can be family members or friends, and should they choose, accept their help as their wedding gift. These should be people that will not override any decisions that have been made. They should be willing to do what is asked and not try to change plans (or at least try not to change plans before discussing it!). They should be available from a few days before the wedding until after the reception for clean up.
Also, consider the location of the reception. Will it be on the same premises as the ceremony, be it a church, a hall, or another rented area? Or, will it be at another location. What are the guidelines set forth by that location in regards to time allotment, food/beverages allowed on premises, and on-site staff? A number of places will require the use of their own staff for functions, so check into this ahead of time.
Once these considerations have been made, it is time to make definite plans as to decor, food and beverages, and a time line of events at the reception.