How to plan a wedding reception

Planning your wedding is one of the most exciting times in your life and you want your dream wedding to be perfect. After you have set a date, your budget and chosen the wedding reception venue, you may be wondering what to do next. That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips to help you on your way.

5 tips when planning your wedding reception

1. Decide on the formality of your wedding.
Chances are you already have a good idea on how formal you would like your wedding reception to be by the type of venue you chose. However, the venue may be able to accommodate different levels of formality - black tie, formal, semi formal, or informal. You can choose menu items, music, and bring in other decor that lends itself to the level of formality you have chosen. Be sure to notify your guests so they can plan appropriately and know what to expect.

2. Book your DJ or band.
The best DJs and bands will book up fast, and you want to make sure you start early so that you can secure your first choice. Work with your wedding reception venue on the specifics of the sound system, microphones, lighting, set up space, and how long/late the music can be played. You can work on all the other details of the music (songs, dances, etc.) later in your planning.

3. Create a schedule.
A wedding reception timeline is important to maximize the time you have for your reception to fit everything in seamlessly and not to feel rushed. Work with your venue on creating the perfect timeline. You will want to consider such things as having a cocktail hour, receiving line, wedding party introductions, toasts, dinner, cake cutting, dancing, garter and bouquet toss, and exit.

4. Put together a rough floor plan.
Discuss the layout options for your room with your wedding venue contact, as this will help you determine:

  • Decorations
  • Seating arrangements
  • Cocktail space
  • Bar placement
  • Dessert and cake tables
  • Music location
  • Gift table
  • Table assignment location
  • Entrance for introductions
  • Receiving line location
5. Select the menu and alcohol.
The dinner is one of the most important aspects of your wedding reception. The formality of your wedding will help you choose appropriate menu and serving options for the particular style. For example, if you decided on black tie, steak and lobster served by the plate and top-shelf liquor would be appropriate. Whereas, if you choose to be informal, a buffet with comfort foods and a choice of micro-brews may work best. Work with your venue or caterer on the menu and alcohol packages they offer.

As you prepare for your wedding day, another idea to consider is buying wedding insurance. Markel offers wedding cancellation insurance, which reimburses you for lost deposits and non-refundable amounts if you have to cancel or postpone your wedding due to unforeseen circumstances such as extreme weather, venue bankruptcy, or vendor no-shows. Coverage can be purchased anytime at least 14 days before your event, and policies start as low as $130

Markel also offers wedding liability insurance, protecting you from incidents such as property damage to the venue or if someone gets injured at your event. Up to $2 million in wedding liability insurance can be purchased from Markel any time up to the day before your event. Policies start as low as $75. 

Get an event insurance quote

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The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as all encompassing, or suitable for all situations, conditions, and environments. Please contact us or your attorney if you have any questions.

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