Planning your wedding – The Reception

The reception venue

If the place you’re having your wedding reception at is licensed for weddings, then the ceremony and wedding breakfast can be held there too.
You may want a church hall, hotel, marquee, tepee, castle, boat.The possibilities are endless.

Separate venues

If you are getting married in a different place, consider the distance from the church/place in relation to the reception venue.
An option is to provide coaches between the two if the route isn’t straight forward or if it is far away.
When you are booking the reception venue, look around, ask for the full menu and to taste the options. Many venues will offer a meal from their daily menu.
We would advise you to ask for the actual meal you will eat and to also speak to the chef. One of the most memorable things about a wedding is the food and mistakes are always remarked upon.

Think ahead!

Always book early, the most popular and best quality book up years in advance. Think ahead!
Before you visit the venue, decide on your budget, the number of guests, if it will be formal or informal. Most receptions start with an aperitif, normally champagne. An alternative is Prosecco or Asti.
Don’t forget a non-alcoholic option.

The Line Up

A formal wedding has a “line up” as the guests enter the reception room.
This is:
Bride and Groom
Bride’s Father and Mother
Groom’s Father and Mother
Chief Bridesmaid
Best Man
This is wonderful opportunity to say hello and congratulate everyone.

Seating Plans

 Discuss the relationships with your wedding planner. They will help with deciding the position of your guests.
This area is changed, altered and discussed many times. When it is finalised, place cards are created and placed on the table.
There should also be a large seating plan as the guests enter the room so that they can find their place easily.


Please ask your best man if he likes public speaking and if he wants to do it. Some people are very shy and it isn’t fair to insist.
Also, guidance and support could be offered. Sit and write the speeches together, practice together. This is a very important part of the day.


Gifts are normally given out during the Groom’s speech to the bridal party and anyone who has assisted in the day. I recently observed at a wedding as the gifts were forgotten and then quickly passed out at the end of the speeches. A Wedding Planner will prompt and hand the gifts to the groom. We will also give words of encouragement and help without being asked.
There are many other details to consider but you should have a chat with your wedding planner, who will be able to advise you.
Remember, you can’t please everyone, so don’t stress too much about the seating plan.
claire charlesworth