Contrary to what some people may believe, the reception is equally as important as the actual wedding ceremony. Once the bride and groom have exchanged vows and the photographer has captured all of the alter photos, everyone will gather at the reception for food, dancing and entertainment. In this post, we’re going to cover some important tips on how to plan the perfect wedding reception.

Wedding Receptions: What’s First?

Traditionally speaking, the first part of the wedding reception consists of a dance between the bride and groom. The newlywed couple typically stands in the center of the area, or out on the dance floor, and dance while listening to a memorable song. Of course, the band should be set up and ready to play before the bride, groom and guests make their way to the reception area. If you plan on throwing a traditional wedding with the bride-groom dance kicking off the reception, it’s important to consult with the band so they know exactly what to play and when to play it.

Reception Dancing

Following the bride and groom’s dance, the wedding planner or coordinator will then invite the newlywed’s parents to dance. This may include a dance between the groom and his mother, along with a dance between the bride and her father. There’s really no particular order couples must follow when planning their reception dances. Sometimes the family dances are done at the beginning of the reception, while other times they are done at the end.

Of course, guests should also be given the opportunity to shake their tail feathers on the dance floor as well. The music should transition into more of an upbeat tone to create a fun, laid-back atmosphere that guests will enjoy.

Plan Food According to Time of Day

One important tip to remember when planning the food for a wedding reception is to consider the time of day. If your wedding reception starts at 5 or 6 in the evening, you’ll want to provide guests with meals. On the other hand, if your reception is around noon or early afternoon, you can probably get by with snack foods.

Many couples choose early-day weddings specifically to save money on food, so keep this in mind when planning your wedding. The cost of reception food is significantly cheaper when you’re able to purchase snacks and finger foods rather than full dinner dishes. You can check out our previous blog post here for more tips and tricks on how to save money on your wedding.

Make Your Rounds Early

Newlyweds should go around to each table thanking guests at their reception. If you wait until you and your spouse are ready to go, chances are you’ll be stuck there for quite a while. Talking to 50, 100 or several hundred guests is bound to take up some time, so make your rounds early to avoid being stuck at the reception.