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Wedding Reception Checklist

Planning a wedding is a gargantuan task. You have to make sure you consider all the events right from the rehearsal dinner to the reception party. If you want everything to be perfect, you should be organized. A wedding reception checklist will make sure that do not forget anything that is essential for a successful party.

A wedding reception checklist comprises of the tasks to be done and the timeline for doing them. This checklist is as follows: When you are engaged or an year before the wedding date:

Wedding Reception Checklist

  • Guest List - Make a guest list of those people whom you want to attend your reception. Usually, the guests who are invited to the wedding are invited to the reception. So, the wedding and reception guest list will be the same. However, you can keep your reception a private affair. If you plan to have a small intimate wedding and plan to invite the guests for the reception, the list will be separate. Make this list along with the wedding guest list and plan the reception accordingly.
  • Set a Budget - After preparing a guest list, set a budget on the reception party separate from the wedding ceremony and other events associated with wedding. Stick to the budget strictly and try cost-cutting in the unnecessary things that are overtly marketed by the 'wedding industry'.
  • Announce your Engagement - Let your friends and family know about your engagement through e-mails, letters or local newspapers. Now-a-days, Facebook and twitter are also effective ways of announcing the same.

9 - 10 months before the wedding date:

  • Venue - Select the venue for your reception. Basically, if the venue is same as the wedding ceremony, you won't have to do much; but if it is different, you have to decide on it well in advance so that you get a good place at a good price.
  • Theme - Set a theme to your reception party. It is easy to decide on the decorations, menu and invitations; once you have decided the theme and the color palette that goes with it.
  • Decorations - Decide on the type of decorations that you want to have at your wedding reception. If you are looking towards a winter theme, you will need to arrange the heaps of fake snow, which should be ready beforehand.

7 - 8 months before the wedding date:

  • Wedding Party - Choose your wedding attendants. All the attendants should be chosen by this time as you will need a lot of time to decide on their attire and styling them.
  • Reception party Dress - Choose your reception party dress, which can also be used as the going away dress. You will need to coordinate this outfit with your bridesmaids so that you outshine them or they seem like your bridesmaids.
  • Save-the-Date Cards - Send save-the-date cards to all the guests.

5 - 6 months before the wedding date:

  • Music - Select a band or a DJ for the reception night. Your wedding band can provide you with a package for the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and the reception party.
  • Menu - Choose the caterer and decide upon the menu with him. Make sure whether he provides servers and waiters and the bartender.
  • Accommodation & Transportation - Confirm the accommodation of the out-of-town guests into the hotel. You will also need to confirm the transportation for yourself, parents and the guests attending the reception party.
  • Rentals - Book the rentals such as the furniture, dinnerware, cutlery, crockery, linens and tablecloths, etc.

3 - 4 months before the wedding date:

  • Florist - Confirm a florist and decide on the floral decorations that you wish to have at the reception party venue.
  • Vendors - Confirm the bookings to all the vendors and make advance payments.

1 - 2 months before the wedding date:

  • Invitations - Send out invitations to all the guests to whom you have sent the save-the-date cards.
  • Favors - Order the favors that you are going to hand out at the reception party. If you are doing it yourself, this will be a good time to finish them.

2 weeks before the wedding date:

  • Seating Plan - Prepare a seating plan and hand it over to the ushers.
  • Payments - Make full payments to the vendors and confirm the services.
  • Place Cards - Get the place cards done and give someone the responsibility to arrange them on the tables.

A day before:

  • Check whether all the arrangements are in place. Ask the concerned people if they have done the things they were supposed to do.
  • Relax.

On the big day:

  • Arrive to the reception location at least half an hour early with your wedding attendants.
  • Greet the guests pleasantly.
  • Enjoy all the attention and count the blessings.

The wedding reception checklist, in short, comprises of the following:

  • The Location
  • The Caterer & Menu
  • Tables & Linens
  • Chairs & Covers
  • Dinnerware
  • Snacks
  • Napkins
  • Glassware
  • Bartender
  • Decorations
  • Guest Favors
  • Centerpieces
  • Parking
  • Transportation
  • Music / Sound System
  • Serving Staff
  • Dance Floor
  • Liquor & Mixes & Ice

Checkout here for other wedding planning checklists.