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Smash it or Trash it: 4 Things that will make or break your Reception

When planning a wedding, or any event for that matter, a LOT of thought goes into creating a wonderful memorable experience. With Weddings the Couple will fret over having the correct cutlery, if the napkins are the right shade of pink, or if the table layout is functional enough for people to move around comfortably. As a wedding planner I'm here to tell you there are only four things that can make or break your wedding/event. The food, the music, whether or not there are "adult " beverages and guest comfortability. Let me break it down...

The Food:

It's doesn't matter if you have $200 linens on each table, ceiling high arrangements with Swarovski crystal petals or 24K utensils. If the food SUCKS people won't be able to focus on anything else. When guests agree to come to your wedding to celebrate with you they expect to the food to be amazing. They've waited all day to get dressed up and experience your display of love. To be met with sub par food after waiting all day will have your guests high tailing it out of your reception before the cake is cut! Also people will really appreciate it you have a few options for alternative diets. If you aren't familiar with options, your planner or caterer will be able to help with that. You can even add a section on your RSVP to give guests a way to list ideas for food alternatives.

The Music:

A band, a DJ or a curated doesn't matter which you choose as long as it can move the crowd! You want your people to be having an absolute BLAST after watching you and your love tie the knot. There's nothing worse than being in a beautiful reception with amazing centerpieces, great food and a BORED audience. Research DJs 6-8 months in advance. If you can, try to see them in action or even ask if they have a prerecorded mix tape to see if they can produce the kind of vibe you want for your big day.


This is the other thing that most guests are definitely looking forward to. Most folks after a few drinks are ready to dance the night away! Food and drinks are in the top 5 of the most expensive things at a reception. Typically, it's semi frowned upon to have a cash bar. Most guests expect to be able to eat, drink, and be merry. If an open bar is out of the question and you don't really want to do a cash bar, a great way to save a few coins is to offer a signature drink. You can have your bartenders make it in bulk beforehand. Beer and wine only is also another great option.

(Side note: I've seen couple host a STOCK THE BAR engagement party where guests bring bottles of their favorite liquors and wines as gifts) If you don't know exactly what to buy for your bar I have a great infographic in my DIY wedding planner that makes it super simple.

Long wait times:

Let's be honest...humans do not have long attention spans. We live in a microwave society of instant gratification, and we do not like to not be stimulated in some way. You MUST keep things flowing! This is where your planner becomes a definite asset. Wedding guests are fickle creatures. Yes, it definitely is your day but keep in mind that though these people love and adore you they did take time out of their schedule to be present. Be respectful of their time. No one likes to be kept waiting or feel like they're being subjected to unnecessary chaos. Things can definitely go wrong or off schedule but leaving guests to fend for themselves is a sure-fire way to have an empty reception hall. Again, this is where a quick-witted wedding coordinator would be essential! Making sure that there are "Grazing Stations" and good music going would definitely keep your guests entertained. Ensure that it's not too cold or too hot either. As a part of your cocktail hour, you could incorporate games or some type of interactive activity.

Planning a wedding can be a fierce undertaking. There are a lot of moving parts that you have to consider but overall, the goal is to celebrate the union of two happy souls. Things will go wrong. Something will definitely not go as planned but at along as your guests have good food, great drinks and can jam out on the dance floor, no one will be the wiser about the missing chair from the back table or the fact that the napkin rings are taupe instead of mother of pearl.

Happy Planning!

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