Editor’s Note: For more on receptions, check Miss SOS Archives.

Dos and Don’ts for Your Wedding Reception


Your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest and most memorable days of your life. For this to happen, a lot of planning has to go in place to make the perfect day. One of the crucial factors to think about while planning your wedding is wedding reception venues. The following are some important dos and don’ts of reception venues:

Don’t wait for the last minute

Do not wait for the last minute to book your wedding venues. Most of these venues are used for a variety of events besides weddings. Anything could come up and without a down payment the facility manager is not obligated to secure the venue for you simply because you expressed interest. Booking early can also help you get cheaper rates for the wedding venues.

Do check out venues physically

You should not rule out a wedding venue simply because the pictures do not look appealing. If the venue is within your budget range and can comfortably seat the number of guests you expect to have, it would be a good idea to do a physical visit. You may find you actually like it more than you did in the pictures due to its convenient location or beautiful environment.


Do consider the bare look of the venue

Even a barn can be transformed into a beautiful wedding reception with some drapery, lighting and amazing décor. But all these additions cost a pretty penny. When choosing wedding venues, take into account the bare look of the place. If you are on a tight budget, it is advisable to select a location that already looks good, needing only a few minor touches to transform.

Don’t let your judgement go out of the window

When it comes wedding reception venues it is quite possible to throw caution to wind and choose venue that are out of your budget range simply because your wedding is a once in a lifetime event. You risk seriously injuring your wedding budget and you will probably have to pinch out from other elements in the wedding budget to get such venues.

Do find out about deposits and the booking process

You should find out how much deposit you need to pay in order to book a venue. Not all wedding venues follow a single industry standard for the venue booking process. Have a lengthy chat with the facility manager to find out all the things you need to secure the venue.


Author Bio:

Emma Williams enjoys planning special events. She’s spent years traveling the world to work with numerous clients of different cultural backgrounds to create the perfect concepts for nuptials and wedding receptions. On her spare time, she writes about the lessons she learned along the way. Follow on twitter @abulaevenue

A Holiday Affair To Remember (December, 2006)

Sarah knew that she wasn’t like most brides. Most brides she knew wanted to be married in June when spring buds had given way to young green leaves. Beautiful as that was, that wasn’t for Sarah. Sarah loved the deepness of the winter, when fir trees crackled with the weight of frozen snow, and Christmas was still a few weeks away. To her, it was a special time of year. A time for rejoicing and being with family and friends.

That’s why Sarah wanted her wedding to take place in December. What better time for loved ones to gather and celebrate? The only thing Sarah wasn’t too sure about was how to combine wedding reception décor with Christmas decorations. That’s when Sarah contacted Could we give her any creative ideas for a bride on a limited budget? We put our heads together and came up with a number of suggestions.

Since Sarah wanted to have her wedding reception at her parent’s Victorian home, we first had to consider room space limitations and traffic flow. It was quickly determined that food stations would work best. Each station would be exclusive, i.e. one station would only offer a variety of salads, another station would only serve pastas, and of course we had to have a sweets table, etc.

Though there was enough space for four or five 60” round dining tables, this reception would have to have a number of high cabaret tables to accommodate the expected crowd. Much of the parlor and dining room furniture had to be removed and put in temporary storage. This created the space we needed to place food stations, tables and chairs about. It was now time to pull the entire look together.

Sarah had to take a few trips scouring through fabric stores but finally fell in love with a bolt of discounted cloth consisting of Christmas red, green and gold stripes. She measured the length and width of the tables and cut the fabric to fit. Not the slightest bit a seamstress, she took a shortcut by duct-taping the hems. She found inexpensive dark green tablecloths that worked perfectly as the underlay. She placed the striped cloth as an overlay, creating a festive look of elegance by using large safety pins underneath to drape the material. Because the cabaret tables were only 48” in width, large centerpieces were never an option. Instead, placed on small mirror disks, votive candles were set around bowls filled with cashews or peppermint candy.

A Christmas wreath greeted guests at the main door, poinsettias were placed throughout the rooms, slender white tapers ensconced in silver candelabras added a warm glow, and fir garlands adorned with red ribbon graced the main fireplace mantel. Strategically located in the corner of the parlor was the Christmas tree, gaily decorated with red bows, candle-shaped lights, and hand-made ornaments. (Sarah cheated on the ornaments; she said she bought them at an arts and crafts fair shortly after Thanksgiving.)

When guests arrived bearing wedding gifts, they placed their present under the Christmas tree. The bartenders, standing close by, asked their preference of holiday cheer before joining the others to mingle or to enjoy a delicacy from one of the food stations.

After an evening of celebration, departing guests were given one of the hand-made ornaments to hang on their own Christmas tree, a commemorative token of love and friendship from Sarah and her husband. For Sarah, it was the perfect Christmas-time Wedding.

Be Creative! Be Daring! Go for it! (April, 2006)

Your wedding reception should reflect who you are. Whether you want your reception to be traditional or playful, you don’t have to have the same reception your parents did. Want your theme to be unique? Be creative! Want a psychedelic color scheme? Be daring! Want a chocolate wedding cake? Go for it!

However you envision your wedding reception, it’s totally yours! Here are some of hottest wedding reception ideas. Borrow from one or from all.


Choose soft colors. A pale yellow and sage green plaid tablecloth evokes the feel of a warm, summery garden. Carry out the theme with white-on-white china. Small potted herbs, with the guest’s name tucked among the plant, can be cleverly used as place cards that double as favors. Instead of marking tables with numbers, use illustrated seed packets.

Bring the garden indoors. Showcase the wedding cake atop an antique, wrought-iron garden cart. Set large ceramic urns overflowing with flowers and green ferns around the room. Stir the senses with sweet-smelling centerpieces of lily of the valley and sweet peas. Add fragrant herbs like rosemary, thyme and mint. Set apart the Bride and Groom’s chairs with fragrant garlands of ivy and rosemary, tied with sage silk ribbon.

Serving a Signature Drink (a special libation) is a fun and stylish way to personalize your wedding. Choose a longtime nonalcoholic favorite of yours or a cocktail that reflects your reception theme. Because there’s nothing more refreshing than sipping a tall glass of iced tea in a shaded garden, add your own special twist by having highballs filled with chilled herbal teas with sprigs of fresh mint. For maximum impact, have them served on a round wicker tray.


Make your reception a country orchard. Pin guest’s place cards on miniature pears or gourds. Display on top of a bale of hay. For party favors, consider Mason jars, adorned with your monogram sticker, filled with your favorite jam or preserve.

Have your centerpieces an eclectic mix of blooms and wild berries for that fresh-from-the meadow feel. Accent with small pumpkins and apples.

Rather than serving coffee with the wedding cake, give your guests hot apple cider with cinnamon sticks. But why stop at the cake? Today’s Brides and Grooms are presenting additional confections at their receptions with an elaborate Dessert Table laden with decadent sweets. In keeping with a country theme, display caramel or candied apples on an antique wooden tray. For a lasting impression, have cellophane bags available to wrap the apples as an edible favor.

Sea or Ocean

Use stark white linens tablecloths with turquoise napkins folded to look like hanging beach towel. White wooden chairs are perfect in capturing the look of beach chairs. Choose plates in nautical blues.

Fill the vases with orange and yellow orchids, reminiscent of a warm sunny day. Or, overturn small galvanized silver buckets partially filled with sand, and add seashells and sand dollars for an interesting look. Rather than menu cards, use a small slate chalkboard to mark the “fresh-catch of the day”.

Create a “Sweetheart Table”, an intimate setting for just for the two of you. You may not spend much time sitting, but for quick rests between dancing and mingling, why not feel like royalty? Decorate by draping white, gauzy fabric from the ceiling and trim with ocean inspired accents such as opalescent shells or starfish.

Editor’s Note: Do you have any reception ideas of your own? Write to us and we’ll post it on