Need Help With Wedding Reception Planning? Remember, It’s Not Just Your Day.

When watching any of the wedding planning shows which seem to be everywhere on TV, one phrase seems to be more popular than most from the brides: “It’s MY day!!!” While there is no question that your wedding day is a special day for you (and your spouse) above all people, it is very important to remember that many other people are involved and should be considered in your planning — especially with your wedding reception planning. After all, if you were to invite your friends and family to be guests at any other event, you would no doubt spend time making careful preparations to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable time. Why would you take any other approach to your wedding guests? Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind during your planning to make sure that everybody has a great time at your reception.

Good Taste, Including the Food
Perhaps you’ve had your heart set on serving an extensive sushi and raw bar as your meal, or fantasized about a spread featuring chicken wings in twelve different flavors of sauce. While those ideas are all well and good, you might want to consider the tastes of all of your guests. Beware of selecting a wedding reception menu that is of too specific of a taste, or out-of-this-world exotic as it may not go over well with all palates. Make sure you select at least one or two “safe” dishes that have a broad appeal to many tastes, such as pasta with marinara or alfredo, baked chicken, or many other choices. After all, you want everyone to leave your reception feeling like they were a welcomed guest.

Don’t Be A Scrooge
When planning your wedding reception budget, I always encourage couples to provide as much as they reasonably can for their guests and attendants. Yes, it’s your big day, but you’re inviting these people to celebrate this day with you and you want to be sure to thank them for being there. When selecting your food, there’s no requirement to serve the fanciest gourmet fare, but choose the best you can afford and that is appropriate for the event. In terms of drinks, while it’s certainly fine to host a dry (alcohol-free) reception, should you choose to serve alcohol, it is ALWAYS in good hospitality to at least provide the beer and/or wine for your guests. If you’re just not sure where the money will come from, examine other places in your budget where funds could be redirected, such as choosing silk flowers over fresh. From personal experience, I can tell you as a guest I always appreciated and remembered being served a nice meal and drinks at a reception, but I couldn’t describe a single bouquet from 99% of those same events. Consider what you want your guests to remember as their experiences from your party.

Beware of Option Overload
I can’t stress the importance of this next tip enough: select a theme and stick with it. I once attended a reception that served 15 different appetizers (five of which were varieties of meatball), a maid of honor dressed as an Elven princess from Lord of the Rings, had tables named after planets in the Star Wars universe, and featured Styx as the dance music of choice. Confused? Absolutely. While it’s important to incorporate touches of your own uniqueness into your wedding and reception, it’s not essential to bring EVERY little quirk of yours to the table. My own wedding was during the holiday season, so we featured a gift table with a Christmas tree, carols for processional music, and poinsettias as a cake topper. A couple that loves the tropics might select Hawaiian BBQ for their reception meal, serve pina coladas and daiquiris, and give out fun flip flops or real flower leis as favors. If you and your future spouse are crazy about your pets, consider a “flower dog” or “ring pup” in your ceremony and a donation to your local humane society in lieu of favors. There’s a way to incorporate just about any personality into your wedding, no matter how unique, just keep consistency in mind.

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