DO: Book your reception venue as soon as possible, ideally within several weeks after getting engaged and selecting your wedding date.
DO: Go together as bride and groom to various possible reception sites. Arrange meetings with a representative from each location. Ask about pricing, special features and amenities. Inquire about sample menus if the reception site requires that you use their own catering service.
DO: Brainstorm together what you both consider to be your “ideal wedding reception.”
DO: Consider different creative places to hold your wedding reception: hall, restaurant, art gallery, museum, church, park, country club, own home or family’s home.
DO: Remember the following expenses that need to be planned and budgeted for:
- rental of reception site
- equipment rentals - linens, tables, chairs
- entertainment – band or DJ
- lighting and sound system
DO: Think about the following catering fees:
- cost of catering services
- cost of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks; decide whether or not to serve alcohol; cash bar versus open bar
- cost of desserts and appetizers
DO: Decide as a couple whether you would like to have buffet-style or traditional plate-dinners served by the wait staff.
DO: Remember that a lunch reception is less expensive than a dinner reception.
DO: Regarding menu options, make sure that both the bride and the groom get the opportunity to sample all of the different menu options, including the appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, and desserts.
DO: Look in wedding magazines and search on-line wedding websites for photographs of various wedding reception. Figure out what flowers, decorations, colors and themes appeal to both the bride and the groom.
DO: Cut out photos from magazines or print out photos from websites of wedding reception decor that you enjoy.
DO: Talk to family and friends in order to find out what DJ or band or musicians they hired for their weddings. Get recommendations from family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.
DO: Meet with at least two or three different DJs or bands. Find out what genres of music they specialize in and what types of music they feel comfortable playing. Listen to the band or musicians play one or two sample songs for you
DON’T: Invite friends, family, coworkers, neighbors simply because you feel obligated to invite them.
DO: Invite the people who genuinely support you two as a couple. Keep it smaller and more intimate.
DO: Plan your seating arrangement carefully.
DO: Seat family members and couples together.
DON’T: Seat strangers together.
DON’T: Seat people who don’t get along together.
DON'T: Wait too long to hire a wedding planner. They can save you time, headaches and money by being your guide and liaison during the wedding planning process.