Once you've set the date and planned your wedding ceremony, you can begin planning the reception. The ceremony is a serious exchange of vows, but the reception is the opportunity for the couple to celebrate their marriage with family and friends. It seems every time you see a wedding in a movie or on the television, it is over-the-top and brimming with small details. It's possible to plan a simple wedding reception that is fun for you and your guests without spending a fortune. Plan your wedding reception right alongside your wedding ceremony. Tackling all issues up front will decrease stress and anxiety right before your big wedding day. A wedding planner can help you along the way, but if you don't have one, then make sure you keep a notebook handy with a "Things to Do" List.
- Choose your wedding date. Once you know this, you can call venues to check availability. Summer months are typically harder to reserve than in cooler months. A good rule of thumb is to plan your wedding a year in advance, but if you are in a hurry, be prepared to be met with some frustration if a place is already filled and it’s in the summer or spring. Think about having it on a weekday to open up options.
- Consider your budget. Try not to add stress to your big day by adding stress to your life way after your wedding day and into your marriage. Take everything you have to pay for into consideration such as the photographer, food, DJ's, formal attire, thank you notes and trinkets, and all other essential items associated with your wedding day.
- Count your guests. Receptions halls and venues similar in nature generally need a head count in order to give you an accurate quote. It's best to round up the numbers in the event someone brings another guest without mentioning it in the R.S.V.P. If money is tight, be sure to include in the invitations that additional guests are not allowed.
- Hire a planner. If it begins to get overwhelming for you, then don't be afraid to hire help. If on a budget, then pick up a wedding magazine from a grocery store or newsstand. The Knot's website has checklists you can print out and you can also search for reception locations by state.
- Comparison shop. Don't book the first place you visit or hire the first photographer you meet. Often, companies will give you sample cakes to taste and trinkets to possibly use for the reception. Get prices, speak with previous customers, and take good notes.