In today’s frugal world, more and more people are taking control of their own celebrations, and a wedding reception is no exception. Whether you are the bride, groom, family member or friend, realize that a wedding reception can be special, affordable and doable. The key ingredients are time and effort!
The easiest type of reception is a cake-and-punch style. This type of reception can be easily held at the same location as the ceremony, and it usually involves a receiving line, an area to serve cake, punch, nuts and/or mints, a table for the guest book and perhaps one for gifts that might be brought to the ceremony, and a few chairs for those that need to sit. Centerpieces and decorations are at a minimum, and the time frame for such a reception is fairly short.
A step up from the cake-and-punch-style reception is a buffet reception. Depending on the time of day of the ceremony will determine if more substantial food, such as a meal, is in order. Appetizers and finger foods are typically the fare, and the food is organized along long tables where guests serve themselves. Tables and chairs for eating need to be set up, and typically the wedding party is given a “head table”.
The more extravagant receptions are sit-down dinners. This involves a great deal of planning and preparation, so depending on the number of guests that are being served, this may or may not work out best as a do-it-yourself reception. Guests need to be served food, so a considerable number of people are needed behind the scenes to prepare and serve the food.
In all three types of receptions, there are other options to consider. Will there be music and will it be recorded or live? Will the bride and groom dance? How many people are attending? How many cakes are needed? Will alcohol be served and how will that be handled? Who will be in charge of photography? Will guests be given a token of appreciation and remembrance of the wedding? How will the happy couple be sent off?
The important thing to remember is to keep it simple. Plan well in advance of the event, and triple-check any contracts or contacts that are needed to pull off a great reception. And, try to assemble a backup plan, just in case things start to take a turn and help is needed. Have fun and enjoy the reception, too!