The key ingredients to a successful wedding reception
First things first. It's a party. Whether it's fancy and formal or laid back and casual, it's a party. Ok, a party with a big budget and a lot of pressure to be great, but a party nevertheless.
Once you realise this you can break down the key components and ensure your wedding reception kicks ass.
I have thrown many many parties in my time, from Halloween parties to 20s parties to informal gatherings to big-fat-last-all-night-hootennanies. Some of them have been great and others not so much but if there's one good thing that's come of them all is that I know you have to plan a good party. And that definitely applies to your wedding reception too.
I don't mean plan in a Monica from Friends way, I just mean you can't rely on the assumption that as all your favourite people are there, the party will just work. No, in my experience, it needs some careful consideration. But the sort of planning that ls flexible and leaves room for spontaneity and fun.
So, the key ingredients to a successful wedding reception are three fold:
1) Enough, and decent food and drink
2) A comfortable, well lit and well styled space
3) A well thought out sound track
I have said before and definitely will again, wedding guests should be treated like toddlers - they need regular feeding, watering and entertaining. And if you get that right, you'll have a killer wedding party.
Food & Drink
- Feed people small amounts often rather than make them wait for one big wedding breakfast. Definitely don't leave it until 6pm to feed guests if you're ceremony was at 1pm. They will get bored, irritable and some inevitably too drunk by this point.
-Similarly if you're serving a light buffet or tea party early afternoon, don't provide too much food or else no one will be hungry for the main meal that you've spent the most money on.
- Keep guests watered often. If you have to stagger bar opening times because of budget serve mini cocktails or something similar to prevent guests from getting parched and give them something to talk about.
A well styled space
Okay, so firstly you have to work with your wedding venue, not against it. Really look at the space your guests will be eating, dancing, and drinking in. This is the room to concentrate on. From grand halls, to barns to marquees there aren't many spaces that with the right styling, can't be made into the ultimate party space. So look at your wedding reception room. What does it feel like? If it wasn't your wedding how would it make you feel? How can you work with the space to enhance the atmosphere you want your wedding to have? Think about lighting, comfort, warmth, journey to the toilet and out for a cigarette. Try to imagine the 'journey' your wedding guest will go on.
Your wedding soundtrack
Obviously music is very important to me and this is the one area I would obsess on were I getting married. From when the guests arrive, to during dinner, to the after dinner dancing, to the full on party when the oldies have gone home, I would plan nearly every single song.
We've all had those nights out with friends in a bar when the music just isn't quite right. Maybe it's too loud, too cheesy, not cheesy enough, whatever it is, it just kills the vibe. And even though you're out with your best friends, the night just isn't working. Well the same thing happens at a wedding reception. So you have the think carefully - the music you have at your reception should definitely be what you as a couple love - but you also can't turn off your guests. Unless granny loves a bit of dubstep, chances are you should save that until later. But I'd advise really exploring your music options as there's plenty of songs and genres that all generations love.
That's it! What do you think? Any other key aspects to successful party planning?