Like any good party, a wedding reception takes a lot of planning, and it’s an event you’ll want to go with a swing. So if you’ve given every thought to the ceremony, and haven’t even begun to consider the reception, here are five considerations to make it go without a hitch.

Planning the Venue

Deciding on a venue for the reception needs to be done well in advance to avoid disappointment for booking. When choosing a venue, consider the size, and whether it will easily accommodate all of your guests, as well as the tables. Is there a garden you can use? Will they provide a marquee in case of poor weather? Accommodation and parking facilities at the venue will also help your guests, so consider this too.

Decorating the Venue

You might want a particular theme for your reception, but even if you don’t, you’ll still want to put some thought into decorations. Small touches count as much as big ones, so placing pretty name cards and candles on the table can make all the difference. You should also decide on the type dinner plates you’ll be using; ideally it should be fine bone china. Your caterer may even provide a china, glassware and tablecloth rental service, so be sure to check.

Table Plans

Giving thought to the table plan is also important. Traditionally, the top table seats the bride, groom, parents of the couple, chief bridesmaid and best man. The rest of the tables should always feature name placards, and you’ll have to put some thought into groupings. Try not to put guests into awkward positions by seating divorced couples or feuding friends together for example, and make sure children are seated nearer the ends of tables and by doors.

Food and Drink

If your venue has no attached or recommended caterer, finding the perfect caterer may take some time. They are also likely to be booked up months ahead, so organize this as soon as possible. Ideally you should meet with them, and organize a menu tasting. Find out if they can provide good vegetarian food and menu’s for special dietary needs, ask whether the menu’s are flexible, and how much it will cost per head.  You should also check if they provide the waiting service, or if that will cost extra. Always be sure to finalize numbers with your caterer just prior to the wedding to avoid being charged for any wasted meals.


No wedding would be complete without some dancing Aunties, so music too should be booked well ahead. Some venue’s will have an in-house DJ or band, but if not, and you’re not sure who to have, ask for recommendations. You can also look online for local wedding bands – but make sure you see a video of them before booking! Asking them if they have breaks, and if so, how long for is also important – you don’t want an evening where the band is on a regular half an hour break!

Wendy retired from being an event planner and went on to pursue writing full time. She enjoys planning events for her friends and family when she’s able to.