Planning your Ideal Wedding Reception

Planning your Ideal Wedding Reception

Are you looking for ideas to help you plan your ideal wedding reception?  We have a step by step guide here to help you cover all the bases so nothing is left out of your very important day.

Step 1 – Selecting the Date

Make sure to set the date for your wedding before you really start looking for a location for your reception.  Remember most placed are booked out 1 year in advance, so you may need to fine tune your date decision depending on the availability of your desired location.


Step 2 – Creating your Reception Budget

Your wedding reception will usually be the largest expense during the wedding planning so be prepared for it.  You will need to be prepared with an approximate number of guests that will be attending your reception, so you will need to make an initial list and do some pruning to it as you go.  Depending on what you are looking for as far as style, lighting and decorations and the type of  food you want to have served.  This will give you an estimation on the cost per head you will be looking at.

Step 3 – Deciding on Important Elements

Part 1 – Do you want an indoor or an outdoor reception.  You have to look at both options and compare depending on the date you have selected for your reception.  Remember there is the possibility of rain coming through and ruining your your plans, if leaning towards outdoors, so always make sure you have an alternative plan in place.


  • If you have a tight budget, plan your wedding reception in the winter months as most places offer a discount, this will help save you money on reception planning.
  • You may have to choose between a Saturday or a Sunday to help keep the cost down.  Lean towards Sundays as you will find they are less expensive.

Part 2 – Decide on the type of reception to have.  There are 2 main types of receptions, which are a sit-down meal or a cocktail party.  Some things to consider are sit-down is traditional and works well for speeches, but can also be the more expensive option.  On the other hand a cocktail reception is new and modern, on the less expensive side (unless you offer open bar), the downside of this type of reception is it can be kind of hard to get the attention of the guests.

Part 3 – Are you considering being announced as you enter the reception?  This can be done simply by the DJ or bandleader and it can be a lot of fun.

Part 4 – Consider when to have the toasts, but plan on keeping them short.  Toasts can be awesome and also add some tradition. Make sure to keep them short though, as you will see you lose attention span of people at the reception party, and always try and make the toasts between dinner courses or during dinner itself.

Part 5 – Choose when the dancing will happen.  Most people wait until all dinner courses are done to start the dancing.  Besides your special song, make sure to choose music that will play to the guests liking.

Part 6 – Organize the photography of the reception.   You will want reception photos as much as the ceremony photos. Organize pictures with family and friends, in special groups or at certain tables.

Wedding DecorStep 4 – Working out the Seating

Sit-down dinners can be very tedious so start planning your seating arrangements early on.  At Factory of Dreams we offer a raised platforms for the Bride and Groom and the bridal party. Always try and apply these rules of thumb when planning seating arrangements.

  • Elderly people shouldn’t be seated too near anything that makes noise.
  • Consider using place cards to help people know where they’re going to sit. It’s not essential but it can be very helpful. In doing this, take great pains to avoid seating people who don’t get along next to one another!

Step 5 – Put Together a Plan for Food

Be prepared for dietary restrictions for some people, plan to provide for vegetarian, gluten-free, and other variants as needed.  It’s a good idea to have asked guests in advance for advice concerning allergies. A cocktail reception will usually on have nibbles and finger foods, but still have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options available. 

  • Sit-down dinners usually have menus printed up for them.
  • The method of food service needs to be decided – buffet style (help yourself) or serving at a table? There are also variants such as placing larger servings on the table for guests to help themselves from (family – or Russian service if the waiter holds the food), or plated (arrives at table already done), or French (waiters serve at the table), etc.

To find out more info about Factory of Dreams located in Oceanside, CA visit our About Us page.

Call us today at (760) 989-5655 to schedule an appointment for a free tour!

Contact Factory of Dreams for a Quote and Plan.