Because the reception is usually the single largest expense of any wedding, much has been written about it. Most receptions have been designed with an historical or traditional flavor. But times have changed. The economy is different, the bride and groom are different, and the focus on the reception as the celebratory segment of a wedding has changed somewhat.
We offer these notes of advice on the reception:
Whatever your budget for the reception, DO IT WELL!
If you don’t have the money for a sit down dinner, have a buffet. Just don’t skimp. Do what you can afford to do beautifully. Switch days, switch times, switch venues – do whatever gives you the most beautiful ceremony and reception within your budget. Don’t try to reach a level you can’t afford. Skimping always shows.
Cut down the guest list!
You don’t need to have the biggest wedding and invite as many people as possible. Invite only those people who matter to you both. Surveys have shown that several years after the wedding when couples look at their wedding photos, their amazed at the number of guests they can’t name, and they regret having invited those people to their wedding. This is your special day and you should surround yourselves with those nearest and dearest to you.
The first rule of entertaining guests is to consider their time and attention.
That means cut down the time between the ceremony and reception. Don’t make them wait several hours between events. Work hard to have the venues for the ceremony and reception close together. Be considerate of your guests and don’t make them drive an hour or more to get from one event to the other.
Leave the reception before your guests.
It used to be the “rule”. The wedding couple would change into their “traveling clothes” and leave the reception to begin their honeymoon. Today’s couples have challenged that tradition and are frequently the last to leave the reception. In some cases, it becomes a waiting game. No one is sure who should leave when, so no one does. One can only speculate on this need to leave the pary last, but it can prove to be very awkward. Be gracious and leave before your guests begin to nod off at their tables.