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After the wedding ceremony, it is the wedding reception. At this after-party, the guests can properly interact with the couple, offer them their congratulations, eat, drink, and dance the day away. 

A wedding reception can occur in various locations, depending on the couple’s preferences. While some newlyweds may choose banquet halls, hotels, or restaurants, some may prefer outdoor locations or even in their own houses. 

What Is The Purpose Of A Wedding Reception? 

With the wedding ceremony over and the couple proclaimed officially wed, is there any purpose of a wedding reception? The answer is an absolute yes! The wedding reception is where the guests, relatives, and friends interact and celebrate the union of the newlywed couple. 

However, celebrating the bride and the groom is not its only purpose. Amidst the entertainment, food, and beverages, the couple also has a chance to express gratitude to the guests for coming to their wedding and wishing them well. 

In addition, a wedding reception is a perfect time for people from both sides of the family and groups of friends to introduce themselves to one another and even form lifelong friendships and memories. 

What Happens During A Wedding Reception? 

Not all wedding receptions will have the same activities. Depending on the cultural traditions, preferences of the couple, and the type of reception, what happens during a wedding reception will vary from one to the next. 

However, there are still some common activities that almost all wedding receptions have, including the cocktail hour, grand entrance, dinner, speeches and toasts, cake cutting, the couple’s first dance, among many others. 

How To Plan A Wedding Reception 

Bride And Groom Enjoying Meal At Wedding Reception

How do you plan a successful wedding reception that will leave you and your guests with thrilling memories for months? Simple. Make sure you are thoroughly prepared for it. They say, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” in this case, it cannot be more true. 

Here are steps to ensure you have planned the perfect wedding reception. 

Establish Your Budget 

The most crucial step in planning your wedding reception is establishing your budget. Make sure you set your budget according to the number of guests, the location, the catering, and the decor you need for the reception.

Choose the Location

If you have yet to choose a location, this is also the perfect time to find one that suits you and your partner well. Find a location that can handle all your guests within your budget limit. You should also consider if the location will be accessible to all the guests and if amenities are in place. 

Plan Your Menu 

Next, you should plan your menu and catering services. Any wedding reception’s food and beverages are key components. You don’t want your guests to leave feeling unsatisfied with the kind of meals or drinks you serve. In that case, you should always consider their dietary needs without exceeding your budget. 

Hire Service Providers 

Service providers like planners, photographers, florists, caterers, ushers, DJs, or live bands are the unspoken heroes of a wedding reception. They will be a big determinant of the memories you make in your day, so you should hire the ones that are a perfect fit for you and your partner. 

Don’t be afraid to thoroughly conduct some research and evaluate different companies until you find the ones for you. 

Select the Right Decor 

The right decor is not only for setting the mood but also reflects your distinct personal style as a couple. Select decorations that will articulate who you are clearly and stay within your budget limit. 

Make a schedule 

A schedule keeps you on track and lets you have the most fun without worrying about the time. To make sure everything goes as planned, the timing of the dinner, speeches, dancing, and other events should all be scheduled. 

Plan the Seating Arrangement 

Who sits where and next to who? These may seem like trivial questions, but trust us; they matter the most. A poorly planned seating arrangement can be the downfall of the whole reception. To avoid this, plan and consider your guests’ particular needs and how they can get along. 

Send out invitations 

Finally, remember to send out invitations to your guests. Forgetting this one simple detail may cause everything to tumble down. To ensure everything goes seamlessly, indicate the date, time, location, dress code, and all other necessary information in the invitations

How To Choose The Right Venue and Catering For Your Wedding Reception 

First, before you start looking for venues and catering services, determine your budget for the wedding reception. With a budget, you can narrow your choices and choose ones that will prevent you from overspending. 

Second, look at the size of your guest list to help you determine the size of the venue and the amount of food and drinks you will need. 

Now that you have your budget and the guest list in place, you can determine the most suitable locations that are convenient and accessible to all your guests. 

However, choosing the location is not the end of the road. Sometimes, the locations you choose might be available after the set date of your wedding reception. Or, the venue might not be as advertised on the Internet. 

You should therefore check their availability and visit the location beforehand to determine if it’s a great choice. 

Asking for reviews from previous customers and thoroughly reviewing the contracts are also great ways of ticking off all your boxes.

How to Select the Theme and Decor of Your Wedding Reception

Wedding chairs and luxurious tent near the green lawn

The fun begins by selecting the theme and decor of your wedding reception. The process should be personalized to your special day and nothing else. 

Because of this, you should consider your style above everything. The wedding reception should reflect what you and your partner like. Think about the colors, textures, and design elements that appeal to you and make you feel comfortable.

But that’s not the only determinant of what your theme should be. You should also think about the season, the venue, the set budget, and the trends that are currently happening. Is it a spring wedding? Then lots of flowers might be appropriate. Is the venue of your reception small? Then you should consider decor that is minimal and still beautiful. 

If you don’t know how to go about it all, you should consider hiring a professional service like Curated Events to help you plan your dream wedding ceremony and reception. 

Types of Food and Beverages to Serve at Your Wedding Reception

When choosing food and beverages to serve at your wedding reception, consider dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and allergies. Try as much as possible to match the overall theme of your wedding.

If it sounds like a lot of work, your caterer can help you design a menu that fits your budget and vision for your special day.

Here are some popular types of food and beverages you can try out at your wedding reception:

Plated dinner 

A plated dinner is an elegant choice for a formal wedding and wedding reception. It involves a sit-down dinner where guests are served meals that have already been prepared with multiple courses in place. 


A buffet is often a perfect choice if your guests have different dietary needs and you want to accommodate all of them. It involves a set of food options displayed at a table; guests can serve themselves with their preferred choices. 

Food Stations 

Like a buffet, food stations involve a variety of choices displayed, and the guests can choose from several stations which types of meals they prefer. However, food stations are more modern and trendy and often include several food groups such as pasta stations, meat stations, vegetarian stations, etc. 

Cocktail reception 

Consider putting up a cocktail station for an informal wedding reception where guests are served hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Apart from being less costly than a full meal, a cocktail reception is also perfect for guests to mingle and interact. 

Dessert reception 

A wedding cake does not have to be the only dessert available. If you and your guests are sweet tooths, you can decide to include a dessert reception featuring all kinds of pastries, from cakes, ice creams, cookies, sweets, and so on. 

Open bar 

In movie wedding scenes, you always hear the guests raving about an open bar, and they are not wrong. If you want your guests to have a thrilling experience, consider offering them an open bar where they can drink throughout the night and have fun. 

Signature cocktails 

Like your decor, signature cocktails can be the perfect way to show your personality as a couple to your guests. They’re creative and personal, and if done right, they’ll have your guests remembering your day/night forever. 

Entertainment At Your Wedding Reception 

Celloist performing at a wedding reception

The fun may begin at the food area, but the entertainment part of the evening is where it’s all at. You want to make your guests remember this day as much as you will, so the type of entertainment you choose matters. 

For the music, you can choose a DJ or a Live Band, both great options, but of course, depending on your preference, the theme, and the reception venue. Don’t be afraid to include your and your partners’ favorite song. 

You can also include a photo booth for the guests and you to take pictures that you will remember forever. Another option is to hire dancers, performers, or your favorite musicians to sing during the reception, which will make it memorable and serve as a great source of entertainment. 

Some couples also end the night or day with a fireworks display or sparkler send-off to create a magical and unforgettable moment.

Consider your budget and wedding theme when choosing entertainment for your wedding reception. Work with your wedding planner or entertainment vendor to create a smooth schedule that keeps guests engaged throughout the night.

What Is The Average Cost Of A Wedding Reception? 

So you want to plan a wedding reception and wonder what it will cost you. The good news is the prize will entirely depend on you and your partner and the type of reception you want. It is important to set a budget that you are comfortable with and stick to it. 

However, if you want to see how much you should budget, recent data shows that the average cost of any wedding reception in the United States is estimated at around $30,000-$150,000. Of course, this can vary depending on you. 


In conclusion, wedding ceremonies are important, but wedding receptions might be even more vital. They allow you and your guests to interact, celebrate your love, and make memories that will last a lifetime. 

Yes, they might be expensive, but they are worth it. If you remember to set your budget and stick with it, we don’t see how you can go wrong! 

Plus, you can always hire a wedding service like Curated Events, which delivers magical and special wedding receptions for you and your partner. Reach out to us today!