The Wedding Reception Venue For the Modern Bride

The Wedding reception venue is unquestionably is the most important component of your wedding as at least 50 % of the wedding budget is spent on the reception. The venue for your reception should represent you both as a couple as it sets the tone and mood of the event. The choices for wedding reception venues are limitless and modern brides do not have to select a traditional reception venue. It can be a daytime soiree or an evening extravaganza.

One of the many choices modern brides have for the wedding reception venue is the traditional reception centre. A sit down formal reception can also be held in restaurants, hotels, museums, halls and many other locations. Accompanying traditional wedding reception is the 3- 5 course meal. The conveniences of traditional wedding reception venues are that most have an in house wedding coordinator to assist you with your event. The formalities such as the bridal waltz, speeches, cutting of the cake and the throwing of the banquet are already taken care of by the wedding reception. There is a formula which works and the experience of the venue will ensure that the event runs seamlessly and on time.

However the wedding reception venue is by no means rigid and can accommodate special request. So should you wish to add your personal touch to the event or deviate for the norm, then most wedding reception centers can accommodate you.

Cocktail wedding receptions can also be held in traditional wedding receptions. A cocktail reception can be a less formal event allowing the bride and groom more time to mingle with the guests. It also you to accommodate a much larger guest list which means you can have more friends and family celebrating your big day. A cocktail reception can let you to be more creative with your choice of venue, location and use of space. You can hold a cocktail wedding either indoors or outdoors or in unconventional places. A cocktail wedding can be held anywhere including gardens, terraces, the beach and many other places.

Along with the cocktail reception are a variety of food choices. Finger food is usually the most common catering choice at a cocktail wedding. The focus at cocktail wedding receptions can often become the alcohol instead of the food. But to ensure the sober maintenance of your guests, it is advisable to keep the canapés coming out at a constant rate.

A wedding breakfast or brunch is a very unconventional style of reception. But it could be a stylish way to celebrate with friends who are more budget conscious. The food could include pastries, croissants, pancakes, waffles, muffins and scones. It could also be a breakfast buffet including tea and coffee but also sparkling wine.

A lunch reception is another wedding reception option. A wedding reception lunch can be a relaxed and elegant affair. Whether it is a garden picnic or sit-down meal, the wedding lunch is an alternative to the evening reception.

Many couples are now incorporating the wedding with the honeymoon. A destination wedding is an unconventional way to celebrate your wedding. Generally destination weddings are held abroad and include the bridal party and close family and friends. A wedding abroad or destination wedding can be beautiful but it does not necessarily mean it is easier. It is an enormous task organizing a wedding abroad. But done well it can set the stage for a truly magical affair.

Outdoor weddings are becoming more main stream. The most popular outdoor wedding receptions are beaches, wineries, gardens, botanical gardens and lawns. The outdoor wedding reception can be as formal or informal as you like it. Whether you have it out in the open or in a marquee the outdoor wedding reception is one of the most romantic wedding receptions.

Weekend wedding events are a good way to extend the festivities to allow for more long distant guests to attend the event. Similar to the destination wedding, weekend weddings are generally suited to people with relatively smaller guest lists for the obvious logical complications. However the options for a weekend wedding are only limited by your imagination. And the celebrations last the whole weekend allowing you to mingle and spend quality time with your guests.

Choosing the wedding reception venue is one of the biggest and most complicated decisions you’ll need to make when planning a wedding. Ensure that your wedding reception venue suits your style and personal taste and leaves your guests with a lasting impression.

5 Hints For Saving Money On Your Wedding Reception

It is always the goal to have fun after the wedding ceremony and throw a great post-wedding party, but without breaking the bank. A wedding reception is an investment just as is the wedding ceremony, but starting off on the right foot financially when walking into the life of marriage is extremely important.

Search For An Affordable Location for Your Reception

A place to sink your hands deep in those pockets is booking a wedding reception venue. Ask around and do your research when looking for somewhere to hold your wedding reception. Hotels, ballrooms, and large restaurant venues are often beautiful and sparkly, but they can break your budget before you get to the catering! Find a public location that is special and specific to your city to host your wedding reception outdoors. See if friends and family have a large yard or space to hold your reception. Most churches have halls and large rooms useful for having a reception. Find a reception location that is interesting and inexpensive.

Cut The Cook For Catering (Do It Yourself!)

Everyone knows that the food is one of the biggest elements in creating a happy and successful wedding reception. Depending on what kind of food you want to serve, try finding other options than simply hiring a wedding caterer. Although wedding caterers create amazing and scrumptious dishes, the price per plate can be more than a dinner at a fancy restaurant. Ask friends and family if they would help out and cook for the reception in advance. See if the venue you are hosting your reception at offers a discounted party menu that might work to serve your wedding party. Mention having a potluck-style wedding reception. This sounds against the norm, but try having guests bring a favorite dish to the wedding to serve at the reception. This will not only be a lot of home cooked food, but a lot of food to eat!

Limit The Guest List Of Your Wedding Reception

It is never easy deciding who is important and who is not because in all reality, everyone is important, right? However, when it comes to your reception, the number of people you invite strictly influences how much money you will commit to spending. Narrow down your guest list to 100 people or less and you won’t need a large reception venue space or nearly as much food to feed the crowd.

Cut Down The Alcohol

Although having alcoholic beverages at your wedding reception can bring life to the party, it can create stress on your budget. One option is to cut out the alcohol all together from your reception. However, if you truly wish to have a bar included, try limiting it to only serving after dinner is over. Choose two different wines and two different beers for guests to choose from. Limiting the choices that guests have can do away with the more expensive, and budget-breaking, beverages.

Do It Yourself Wedding Reception Music

Though they can often be the life of the party, professional DJs can break your wedding reception budget bank. Instead, make a wedding reception playlist yourself and showcase the music that is important to you and your fiancé. Have a friend or family member be in charge of the iPod or CD player, plug in some speakers, and start dancing the reception away!

Wedding Reception Decorations – Different Styles and Trends

Wedding reception decorations done in a beautiful way will bring out your personal choice and style on your wedding for others to see. These decorations can reflect your personality, tastes and interests and will help in making the reception venue very unique and splendid on your special day.

Receptions today can range from a grand and a luxurious affair to even a small brunch with close friends and family and irrespective of the kind of reception you want, it will have loads of things that you’ll get involved into!

You’ll be required to choose a reception venue, receiving lines, write the toasts and get some wedding reception decorating ideas. And this is barely the start! Receptions require a lot of preparation and planning, regardless of the formality or how small or big the celebration is and it’s easy amidst the whole process to get overwhelmed.

Reception trends keep changing almost every year and seasonally too, so if you’d like to keep yourself updated about the trendiest and latest styles of wedding reception decorations, search for different ideas in vogue for the season on the internet, this way you’ll be aware what others are doing.

The decoration style you want could be dependent upon the total number of guests expected at the ceremony. The reception ideas are many and it’s always wise to stick to a budget you have decided on. Get inexpensive, simple yet lovely looking wedding decoration items and use the money you would have spent here on something more important.

Flowers are used almost at all events and occasions. Get wedding reception flowers, imitation or real; that is up to you and you can put them in different sizes, shapes and colors of vases along with stunning multicolored stones. Get the colors in tone with the wedding reception décor and the bride’s dress. The vases can be used as stunning wedding reception centerpieces on the tables of the guests. Table cloths in tune with the wedding reception theme color can also be purchased.

A themed reception is a brilliant idea too and the whole thing can be set up on an affordable budget, but be aware and receptive of the seasons. For example if the wedding reception is a spring event then use decorations which include fresh, fragrant and light colored flowers.

Summer related themes would have neutral colors with bold and prominent decorations. Warm and vibrant colors work perfect with weddings in the autumn season while the winter decorations are great in light shades of blues and pinks. Sprinkling rose petals would be lovely as wedding reception table decorations and you can also scatter them atop the floating water bowls or on the walkways.

Cover the area of the dance floor with poles which have been draped elegantly green garlands or with silk or satin ribbons. Candles work beautifully as centerpieces for wedding reception decorations. These provide a soft glow and make the ambience romantic, tranquil and mellow. Candles don’t even cost much and would uplift your décor to a new level. The venue for the reception can be outdoors or indoors as it depends upon the comfort of the guests and the season.

Each year there would be literally hundreds of different trends for wedding reception decorations that come in to picture, so you only have to look for the type you want to incorporate at your function in a way that it exudes charm, uniqueness and looks trendy, while keeping it all under your budget.

9 Tips That Can Make Or Break Your Wedding Reception

Back in April of 2003, I had just finished setting up my DJ equipment for a wedding reception in a luxurious downtown Omaha hotel. Right on cue, the guests started to filter in, and I started the smooth jazz cocktail hour music. I headed over to the bar for a soda. As the bartender handed me the soft drink I ordered, he promptly said, “three dollars please.” Assuming he was joking, I walked away laughing as I thanked him. With a serious expression, he quickly informed me that he wasn’t kidding and that I’d better pay up on my newly acquired debt. It was then that I saw the sign on the bar. “Drinks $5.00 – Beer $4.00 – Soft Drinks $3.00.” Overhearing some of the guest conversations around the bar, I was apparently not the only one surprised by the drink charges.

When it comes time to offer tips and advice to my customers, I have to look back on my experiences as a Wedding DJ. In this article, we’ll cover some tips that are often overlooked or seen as no big deal by brides and grooms as they plan for their wedding receptions. These tips, however, WILL make the difference between happy guests and unhappy ones at your reception. In short, the following tips will increase the chances that your guests will stick around and have a great time at your reception.

I realize that many professionals offer a host of tips and suggestions in the wedding industry, and at times it’s hard to take it all in. Clearly, many things have to come together to ensure that everything on your wedding day is a success.

After talking and interviewing thousands of brides I noticed three distinct commonalities that most of them had when laying out their expectiations for their receptions. They wanted to:

1. Keep the events moving smoothly.

2. Keep the guests from leaving early.

3. Keep guests dancing and having fun.

As a DJ, I’ve had the unique advantage of being the first one to arrive at and the last to leave from hundreds of wedding receptions. For that reason, I feel comfortable and confident as I offer the advice you are about to read.

All in all I have always felt that if you want to have a successful reception, one of the single most important things you can do is to consider thing from your guests’ point of view.

TIP 1 – Never charge guests for drinks

When it comes to weddings, brides and grooms are often restricted by the limitations of their budget. There are certainly some shortcuts you can take to save a little money. But be careful! One area I strongly advise you not to skimp on is the bar. Making invited guests pay for their drinks is not a good idea, and it will stifle the atmosphere. The fact of the matter is that guests just don’t like paying for drinks. Plus, a free bar is often all it takes to keep the guests who are on the fence from leaving early.

I do not for a minute encourage binge drinking or any kind of abuse. I have just learned that the guests will loosen up, dance and have a better time when the bar is free (or, in wedding terms, “hosted”). The bottom line is that if you want guests to stick around and feel appreciated, an open bar is a must.

TIP 2 – Don’t start the reception too early

In the summer of 2007, I was the DJ for a reception that started at 2:30 in the afternoon. The event was held at a country club that had large windows all around the reception room and overlooked a beautiful golf course. For the reception, the bride and groom expected to have lots of dancing up until the 8:30 end time.

By 4:00, the dinner, toast and cake-cutting were over, and it was time to get the dancing underway. With an upbeat attitude and a desire to rock the party, I started the dance music. Despite my best efforts, I could hardly get anyone to dance and the reception was over by 5:30. Aside from the lack of dancing the afternoon went well and although I received lots of compliments the groom expressed to me his disappointment that there was very little dancing.

After hearing about the groom’s disappointment, I felt I had somehow let him down. But in reality, the circumstances were just not conducive to much dancing.

It is very difficult to get people in the mood for dancing at 4:00 in the afternoon in a sun-filled venue. Drinks don’t flow like they normally would, and people will generally leave early knowing they still have most of their evening ahead of them.

A good time to start a reception is around 6:00 P.M. in the evening. Any earlier and you risk losing the feeling of a night out for your guests.

Better yet, if you are not planning a church ceremony, you may want to consider having your ceremony at the reception venue. You won’t have to worry about transportation, and you’ll have the luxury of timing the ceremony closer to the reception.

TIP 3 – Avoid long time gaps between ceremony and reception

I recently arrived to set up my DJ gear for a reception that was supposed to start at 6:00 P.M. When I arrived at 4:30 to start setting up, there were already 50 people in the room just sitting there in silence. For a moment, I thought I was late, but I came to find out that most of the people sitting around were out-of-town guests who had been there since 3:00. The wedding had been at 1:00 at a local church, and after the ceremony these out-of-town guest had nowhere else to go, so they headed over to the reception venue. By the time the reception officially started at 6:00, these guests had been sitting around for three hours. Most of these guests just ate dinner and left.

You must consider the time gap between the end of your ceremony and the start of your reception. Ideally, your guests should go right from the ceremony to the reception. The bigger the gap in between, the harder it is on your guests.

I realize that those who have the ceremony in their church can’t just pick the time that bests suits them and must work around normal church services. Many churches will want you to have a Saturday ceremony between noon and 2:00 p.m. That’s fine, but remember that following such a ceremony directly with the reception will mean that the reception will start too early in the day. In order to compensate, some couples get married early in the afternoon and postpone the reception until later in the evening.

My advice is to have the ceremony as late in the afternoon (or early evening) as possible and schedule the reception to follow immediately. If an early ceremony is your only option, make sure your out-of-town guests realize the reception will be later, and provide them with ideas to keep them busy in between the ceremony and reception.

Ideally, you should host your ceremony at the same location as your reception. Many facilities can provide a nice area for you to have your ceremony. If it’s possible, you should look into it.

TIP 4 – Venue Lighting

There is a venue in my town that has a very basic lighting system. The lights are either all on or all off. There is no option to dim any of the lights, so all the lights are usually left on. This makes it very difficult to get people in the mood for dancing. After all, no one wants to be in the spotlight, and bright lights over the dance floor can hinder the ambiance. This tip is very straightforward: to create an atmosphere for dancing, the lights must be dimmed.

TIP 5 – Don’t stand near the exit

Keep in mind that the exit is almost always in the same place as the entrance. Once you and all the guests have arrived, try to avoid standing anywhere near the exit. Standing by the exit at any time during the reception gives off the impression that you are there to say goodbye to guests who are leaving. Before you realize it, you will have (instead of a receiving line) a departure line. To keep your party alive and moving, avoid standing near the exit. You never want to communicate to the guests that it’s time to leave unless it is!

TIP 6 – Have a fun grand entrance

Part of having a fun, dance-filled evening is starting everything off with a bang. There is no better way to begin a reception with excitement than to make a grand entrance. This doesn’t only get you in the mood for the party; it also gets the momentum rolling and puts your guests in the spirit of having fun.

As you and your wedding party arrive at the reception, have your DJ or Emcee line you and the wedding party up to be announced as you enter the reception venue. Pick a fun song to be played while everyone’s names are announced. As a DJ, I always get the audience clapping along to the beat of the music as you all enter.

It is all about setting the tone for the evening, and there is no better way to do that than to have a thrilling and exciting grand entrance with your bridal party.

TIP 7 – Avoid offensive music

From time to time, I work for brides and grooms who insist that I play music that is littered with colorful innuendos and language. This musical pursuit for your reception is highly ill-advised. The fact is that you may not know everyone on your guest list as intimately as you may think. Why take the chance of offending someone with vulgar music? I have seen guests walk out of a reception because of loud or offensive music.

TIP 8 – Dismiss tables when having a buffet-style dinner

From behind my DJ table, as I looked at the two hundred guests standing in line for the buffet at a reception, I couldn’t help but think that these people could have been sitting at their tables, enjoying conversation. Instead, they were weaving in and out of tables, waiting in a long line for food. I jokingly compare this scenario to a herd of cattle lining up for the trough.

This situation leads to awkward feelings for the guests who are already seated with their food as well as for those standing in line right next to them as they sit and eat. I have seen this happen hundreds of times throughout my career, and it is always uncomfortable.

You can choose one of two solutions for this problem. First, you could have a plated meal (or sit-down dinner) in which the staff serves the food directly to the guests while they are seated. Second, if you are having a buffet-style meal, you can have the tables released for dinner. Ask your DJ, host couple, or catering staff to dismiss each table one or two at a time. Personally, I fell this should be done by your DJ if you have one, because otherwise there is not much for the DJ to do during dinner. While releasing tables, your DJ can discover where the “fun” tables are and solicit music requests. This will allow the guests to feel like a part of the upcoming events.

TIP 9 – Use round tables

I recently DJed for a reception at a local country club in which the layout of the tables felt like I was the announcer for bingo night at the local legion hall. The room was full of 8 foot tables, and there were 6 rows of the them in the room. Each row has 5 tables lined up end to end. Guests going to and from their seats had to weave down long aisles of people, and there were times when aisles were blocked.

As crazy as it sounds, the type of tables you provide for your wedding guests will affect the social aspect of the evening. With the exception of the head table, you will want to avoid the standard 6′ or 8′ tables for the guest seating. Long, 6′ or 8′ tables are reminiscent of a mess hall or a lunch room setting and will detract from any kind of elegance. Furthermore, long tables are not conducive to conversation.

My advice is to always choose round tables for guest seating. This setup puts all the guests on an equal playing field for socializing and mingling. It also eliminates the theatre-like seating, in which you have to feel guilty about getting up and moving through a crowded isle.

In addition, round tables make it easier for the bride and groom to circulate among the guests. Finally, they provide the guests with better viewpoints of everything that is going on throughout the evening, helping to keep them engaged.


When it comes to planning your wedding reception, many factors can affect how engaged your guests are and whether they leave the reception early. I have seen the tips presented in this article get overlooked more times than I wish to count. I just hope these ideas have inspired you to consider your wedding reception from your guests’ point of view.

Hi, my name is Steve Bergeron.

The bottom line is: if you are going to listen to one person on how to keep guests at your wedding reception dancing, drinking, socializing, and enjoying themselves, you should listen to someone whose job it is to entertain at weddings.

With over twenty years of experience as a professional mobile DJ, I will share inside secrets to keeping your guests at the wedding reception happy and having a great time.

Top 5 Tips on Choosing Perfect Wedding Reception Venues

Be Realistic and Agree A Wedding Reception Venue Budget That You Can Afford.

There is no point seeking out a venue that incorporates a castle, cliffs and sandy beaches if you live in the city and you are on a small budget. It is very important to keep your wedding dreams in line with what you can afford. This will save a lot of arguments when planning the wedding and a lot of debt after you are married! But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have your dream wedding. There are ideal venues to suite all budgets and all tastes.

Who is Coming to the Wedding?

Planning your guest list can be a tiring and frustrating chore or a fun activity depending on your budget and how well everyone you know gets along. Once you’ve ironed out all the family politics of who should come and who shouldn’t, your wedding guest list should be based on your total wedding reception budget. Your budget includes the reception venue, meals, drinks and any overnight accommodation. There may be other ‘hidden’ charges re the venue too, so do be sure to add a little extra to your wedding budget for those.

Where Should the Wedding Reception Venue Be?

Once you know who is attending you can decide where best to have a wedding reception. If you have friends and family dispersed around the UK or even the globe, you might be reluctant to hold your wedding reception locally instead preferring a wedding reception venue that is accessible by airport, rail and motorways. This is to ensure your guests are able to make it to your wedding with the minimum of fuss and expense. If you do opt for a local venue, consider how the people you want to invite will travel there and where they might stay. You might need to include details on invites regarding travel, transport, direction, and nearby hotels etc.

Meanwhile do not forget to consider how you and those immediately around you will attend the wedding if the venue is out of town. Can they afford to travel, book hotels and so on?

What Type of Wedding Reception Venue Do You Want?

You might be happy for your partner to have the ultimate say on reception venues or vice versa. This makes finding a venue a little easier. However if you both want a say and you do not agree on theme, style, budget etc, compromise and arguments lie ahead unless you find a fun way of deciding on the ideal venue for your wedding.

Each of you (bride and groom to be) should each make two lists. One list stating the features of your ideal wedding reception venue and the other saying what you’d really NOT like in a venue. Requirements should be listed in order of importance as this will help when it comes to compromising later on. You can perhaps both agree to ‘lose’ item ’4′ and so on.

When is the Wedding – Set the Date After You’ve Found the Venue!

You can’t book a wedding reception venue without knowing the date of the wedding but then there is nothing more disappointing than selecting the wedding reception venue of your dreams and discovering that they are booked up on your wedding day. If you find your dream wedding reception venue, before setting the wedding date you can make a provisional booking pending the speedy booking of the wedding date via the church, registry office or other. Book both well in advance and consider taking out wedding insurance incase for whatever reason the plans need to be cancelled or changed.

Once you’ve decided

o How Much
o Who
o How
o What and when

You can start looking at wedding reception venues that you know you can afford, you will both love and that you and your guests can travel easily to. Enjoy your happy day!