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It was the best of times… and it was the worst of times. And no, we’re not talking A Tale of Two Cities, we’re talking weddings. It’s no secret, weddings are stressful. There are so many moving parts, so many opportunities for things to go wrong… it’s no wonder that out of 500 recently-married couples, a whopping 96 percent of them admitted that wedding planning is “extremely” stressful (Zola). Despite this, most couples look back fondly on their wedding day as one of the happiest days of their lives. As it should be, we say! But why not do everything you can to ensure that the wedding-day-stress doesn’t drive you to the brink of madness? Here are our best-kept tips and tricks to ensure nothing but smooth sailing for your wedding reception.
TIP #1: Create a timeline.
Because there are so many elements of wedding receptions and a variety of vendors to juggle, creating a timeline will be one of the best things you can do to keep the chaos to a minimum. First, create a list of all of the vendors you will need to communicate with in order of priority, as well as anything you plan on taking care of yourself, and then assign dates to when each part of the process should be completed. Don’t save anything for the last minute, and make sure each task’s due date is scheduled to be completed a while before it absolutely MUST be done in the event that something goes haywire and you need extra time to resolve the issue.
Once you’ve drawn up your timeline, send it to all of your coordinators and vendors so that they can refer to it when you meet with them.
TIP #2: Plan to spend more than you thought you would — way more.
Couples underestimate their wedding ceremony and reception budget by nearly 45%. Initial budgets are almost always completely upended when couples begin talking with vendors and realizing that, unfortunately, things are much more expensive than they originally thought. This is why it’s smart to do a lot of research on each type of vendor before setting anything in stone. Otherwise, you might book the venue of your dreams, only to find out later that with the cost of food, entertainment, decor, etc, you’re going to be in way over budget.
TIP #3: Get the big things out of the way first.
After you’ve nailed down a budget and prioritized your to-do list, go ahead and get the big things out of the way first. These would be:
- Nail down your guest list
- Book the venue
- Hire a caterer
- Decide on a theme/color scheme
- Book the entertainment
Also, consider what will create the biggest hole in your budget and get those out of the way early on too. Then you’ll know how much you have leftover for small but non-essential details.
TIP #4: Map out the space.
After you book your venue, you’ll want to go in and assess the layout. How many tables will you need? What areas will need to be decorated? Where will the catering tables go? Etc. Most importantly, make sure that you don’t overcrowd the reception area. You want guests to feel as if they can move comfortably throughout the space
TIP #5: Don’t overlook entertainment.
According to St. Louis Bride & Groom Magazine, 72 percent of all brides wish they would have spent more time choosing their reception entertainment. Additionally, 81 percent of guests say that the most memorable part of the wedding was the entertainment. Clearly, this is an important element for a wedding reception, so don’t overlook it At the end of the day, your wedding reception is a party. People want to have fun, they don’t just want to sit around all night twiddling their thumbs and eating hors d’oeuvres. The atmosphere should be right for dancing! For those who aren’t dancers, you should also have other little games and fun activities scattered throughout the venue for them to enjoy. Photo booths, cornhole, wedding bingo, and other simple games are great ways to keep your guests entertained all night long!
The Big Day
It can be difficult to keep your cool in the months leading up to a wedding. But if you do the research and abide by your budget and timeline, it will all work out. And our final bonus tip is: try to relax and have fun! Easier said than done, of course, you want your wedding to be perfect. But trust us, it’s not worth it to sweat the small stuff. Your wedding reception should be a time for you and your new hubby/wife to let loose and just have fun with family and friends. No one is going to notice if the tablecloths are ivory instead of white, or if there aren’t enough flowers around the room. But they will notice if you’re stressing out and not having a good time. So dance, eat, and laugh your heart out on your special day — you deserve it!