Ideally, wedding reception planning would be a fun endeavor that is completed in a relaxing manner. The reality is often so very different, turning even the most chillaxed bride-to-be into a raging Bridezilla.
Indoors or Outdoors or Both?
Prior to having any real idea about what kind of space you have to work with and how you are going to lay things out, you need to decide on your venue. Once you visit and take a few pictures, you will have a better idea moving forward of how you envision your wedding reception. You will be able to decorate and develop particular areas for your guests to enjoy throughout the evening.
Perhaps there is a garden area off the deck or patio that would make an excellent photo opportunity. You can have your DIY photo booth set up there. Maybe there is a balcony with a spectacular back drop. This could be where the smoking lounge is designated. Having your guest book or DIY wedding scrapbook or recipe cards of wisdom set up near the bathrooms is always brilliant. You can ensure every guest will pass by at some point.
Decor vs. Nature
If you are holding your reception in a picturesque setting, consider saving on decorations and let Mother Nature take all the credit. Incorporating a green or nature theme can be done regardless of where you are having your venue. Creating homemade wooden candle holders or hanging some grass woven hearts can bring the outdoors in and complement your green side. You will have more money to spend on food, beverages and photography by creating your own decor with pieces from nature.
Food and Drink
Are you planning on serving a sit-down three-course meal with servers? Is a potluck-style feast more to your liking? Does a self-serve buffet fit the bill? Only you and your fiancé know best about what suits your style, taste and budget. Some couples may order pizzas to be delivered every hour on the hour. Other couples might choose to have a late-night ceremony and serve tapas style snacks alongside a dessert buffet. It’s all in what’s meaningful to you.
Creating and serving a signature drink can be a fun way to lighten the seemingly neverending wedding planning mood of appointments and writing deposit checks. Experiment with some liquor, fruit juice or fizzing drinks and see what you come up with. Embellish with monogrammed drink umbrellas or stamp your bar napkins for some added details.
Scheduled or Free-Flowing?
Do you foresee a structured evening that has a ton of events including first dances, speeches, garter tossing, and watching a video montage? Or, do you just want a low-key, lots of mingling, free-flowing party? It is important to decide early on which traditions you wish to incorporate, if any, and how and when those events will occur as the night progresses.
Many families like to offer their guests a night to remember by having some spectacular fire dancers or having musical entertainment booked. Decide what suits you best. Perhaps you forego the DJ and present a live band. Maybe you decide to have a campfire outdoors instead of a home movie. As already stated, the trick to making this an enjoyable experience is to be true to yourselves and incorporate items that mean something to the two of you.