Once you've said your "I dos," it's time to party! While there are many ways you can format your wedding reception, most wedding receptions involve certain must-have elements. You can't, after all, have a wedding reception without a reception venue, and it is the obligation of every bride and groom to feed and entertain their wedding guests. Most wedding receptions are somewhat formal, but yours can be anything from pizza and beer at the bowling ally where you met your spouse-to-be to a English-style garden party complete with finger sandwiches.
No matter what kind of wedding reception you choose to have, you'll need to be familiar with certain elements of reception planning. Here's a helpful (albeit short) checklist to get you started:
__ Book your wedding reception venue at least six months in advance. Ask for discounts if you feel like it -- the worst the site manager can say is no.
__ Ask about special wedding packages before you book your wedding date or sign any contracts. Many venues will give you freebies or perks because you're the bride.
__ If you don't understand the fees you're paying, a second pair of eyes (your intended, your mom, etc.) can ensure you don't get scammed or overcharged.
__ Make sure your preferred venue will accommodate all your guests.
__ Don't forget that your reception venue will have its own color scheme. Consider whether your wedding colors will clash with the walls, the carpets, or the linens.
__ Ask the reception site manager whether you can use your own caterer or are obligated to use the house service providers. If you can, make sure your baker and caterer are familiar with the site.
Click to see our complete wedding reception checklist