Happy Tuesday, friends! Coming up this Thursday: The Big Fake Wedding Raleigh! (Which is by the way, our 100th event!) We’d like you to meet our day-of coordinator for this event, Gina Myers of La Cosa Bella Events. Whether you are just starting out with your wedding planning or finishing the final touches – Gina has great tips for all you brides out there. Read on for 10 ways to have a rockin’ reception!

Gina ensures that every detail of your event is beautiful. Detailed planning and flawless execution will allow you the opportunity to relax and enjoy a stress-free day. From initial budget determination, venue and vendor selections and physical presence at the actual event itself, they work hard to bring your dream and vision to life saving you hundreds of hours of planning time. By bringing together a team of professional and creative vendors, you can trust the La Cosa Bella team to provide you with a unique and memorable celebration. 

10 Ways to Ensure a Rockin’ Reception

1.  From the beginning of your planning, set and understand your budget before you begin your venue search.  You may fall in love with a venue, but truly consider if you can afford it. Ask yourself, what am I sacrificing by spending this much?  Can you later afford the décor and details you want when it’s time to make these decisions? 

2.  Always keep your guest’s comfort in mind.  Don’t have an outdoor reception if you cannot afford a back-up inclement weather option, such as a tent.  You may have your heart set on an outdoor reception, but Mother Nature isn’t always predictable.  Please don’t be outside on a Fall evening, and not have heaters rented in case you need them.  Be thoughtful and try to anticipate for all contingencies. 

3.  Consider the time of your ceremony and reception.  When considering the time of day for your ceremony, think about your personalities.  If you are not late-night people, then consider a champagne brunch reception or afternoon garden event.  This will ultimately save you money on alcohol and potentially save you money on your venue rental. 


4.  I tell my clients that it’s better to do a few things the right way, than to overextend your time and budget with multiple projects. 

5.  If you do not have a large budget for reception décor, go for simple, classic and elegant.  Beautiful crisp white linens, low florals and candles.  Your guests will credit you for having an intentional elegant style. Understand what your venue includes prior to booking.  Having chairs included in your package is a huge cost saver.  If you understand in advance that you won’t have a huge décor budget, better to avoid booking a venue with vaulted ceilings as it will be hard to decorate to scale. 


6.  Meet with at least three different caterers.  Attend their tastings and understand their portion servings.  Good food is critical to a successful evening.  You want your guests to be full but not too full so that they participate in dancing.  Understand their service charges and expected staff gratuity. If you don’t plan for this, this is the type of cost that could affect the quality of your menu and potentially your bar offerings.

7.  Avoid long lines.  If you have the budget, go for it, have one bartender for every 50 guests.  At the minimum have one bartender for 75 guests.  Ask your caterer or bar service to butler-pass beer and wine as guests arrive at the cocktail hour to avoid lines forming.  If you are having an outdoor event and you have rented portable restrooms, make sure you have enough facilities to accommodate your guests.

8.  Keep it fun.  If you have a beautiful reception, but it’s not fun, guests may not be motivated to stay until the end.  When preparing a timeline for my clients, I try to ensure that something new is taking place or being introduced every 30 minutes.  Be careful with this concept once the party portion of the evening has started as you don’t want to lose party momentum. 


9.  Introduce an element of surprise.  Here are a few things that I’ve implemented at a reception:  I’ve had college mascots show up later in the evening to take photos with guests and even dance at the reception.  We’ve also taped purple personalized ECU sunglasses under guest chairs and at the start of the party portion of the evening made the announcement while playing the ECU fight song.  The crowd loved it and packed the dance floor, with glasses on, and it stayed that way all night.  This coming weekend, my bride and groom, who are both dancers, are going to change clothes with the bride re-entering in a red dress to dance the tango.  Be creative and plan ahead. 


10.  Make sure your reception is a reflection of the bride and groom.  Parents have good intentions but it’s not a good idea to book an orchestra for the evening if your daughter or son would prefer top 40, music flexibility and great lighting.  As guests are leaving, you want them to go away happy and thinking, “this was so them”. 

Photo Credit:

Katy Cook Photography (1) | Southern Love Studios (2, 4) | Millie Holloman Photography (3)

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