Figuring out where to have a wedding reception is a big deal for any bride. You have to consider which venues have enough space for your guest list, if your preferred caterer is close by and if the site offers to help with any supplies. For those who have a home already or one they can get access to, it might be easier to figure out how to host a wedding reception at home.
You don’t need years of experience in running events or working at weddings to host your reception. As long as you think things through and know what you’re working with, you’ll have a successful reception where you can sit back and enjoy the celebration. Read on for eight expert tips that will help you learn how to host a wedding reception in minutes, so you can jump right into making it happen.
Having your flower arrangements set up at a regular reception venue is simple because you have lots of space to work with and decorate. At a house, you probably already have flowers planted around in the yard and potentially potted inside. If you’re in the early wedding planning stages, see if you can work with what’s already there.
Coordinate your flower arrangements with what’s in the yard at the home you’re hosting your venue at. They’ll look less out of place and work seamlessly with the venue. You can even plant the flowers you want to grow if the wedding is still some time away, and you can do some landscaping work over a sunny weekend.
Whatever vendors you decide to work with to handle things like food and seating have worked at other weddings before. That means they know how to run a successful reception, but they also know what their limits are for where they’ll travel to. Talk to your vendors and give them the address of the home where you want your reception to be. Some of them may not be able to travel that distance, which means you’ll have to find new vendors. It’s best to check as early as possible — the more information everyone has, the better the planning will go.
There’s always going to be a bridal suite to get ready in before you walk down the aisle, but you’ll need to set up a couple of dressing rooms at the reception, too. Lots of brides change into a different dress for dinner and dancing, and the bridal party might want to do the same. You can always dedicate a bathroom as a dressing room, but if your home is big enough, block off a bedroom or two and set them up with the right supplies, so people can get changed comfortably.
Photographers love to use as much natural lighting as possible, so it’s important to try to use as much of your home property as possible during your reception. Set up flowers in different parts of the yard for an outdoor photo shoot. Give guests a space to relax outside with a cute fire pit and s’mores supplies. Consider what each room in the home can offer your guests and how you can use that space to your advantage.
There’s always a chance things won’t go according to plan, so having a backup plan ready is one of the most important parts to learn when you research how to host a wedding reception.
If you have some activities and space set up outside, have party tents ready to go if it starts to rain. In case the food arrives late, keep plenty of snacks on site. Get a playlist prepared for when your DJ needs a break. Things like that could save the whole night, so think about what might go wrong and have a backup plan ready for each scenario.
Not only will a photographer want to capture the whole day and night for you, but you’re going to have guests wanting to take photos, too. It’s fun to have a photo booth ready for guests, with props like masks and signs they can hold. Setting up a photo space or two will give guests another thing to do between events also help steer the photographer toward where you want your pictures taken.
Before your wedding day arrives, the home where you’ll host the reception must be clean. Someone is most likely living in that home — if it’s not your own house — so let the residents know they need to keep things clean. You might even want to have a professional cleaning crew come to the house a few days before the wedding.
You also have to think about the post-reception cleaning. Will you have a team come in to help if you have a big reception? Do you know family and friends who would volunteer to stay after and pick up trash? Consider the size of your reception and what will be set up there to figure out how much help you’ll need with cleanup.
Another basic feature you’ll need to know when you’re deciding how to host a wedding reception is that you’ll have to keep backup necessities ready. Make sure to have plenty of toilet paper and soap on hand for bathrooms, as well as napkins and cups for the reception area. Water bottles should be easily accessible if you’ll be hosting outside, as well as sunscreen and bug spray. Having these little things ready will be a significant help once everyone starts to arrive.
Learning how to host a wedding reception seems like it could only happen in a class, but you don’t need anything more than some planning and research to pull off an amazing at-home reception. Think about the space you want to use, what your guests will need and what there will be to do, then decide if having your reception at home is practical.