Top 10 Wedding / Reception Planner Tips & Planner Sheet

Everybody wanted to be part of the Patty train!    Isn't THIS what it is all about?   Doing the "soul train" dance!

Your wedding day is one of the few days that will have a profound impact on the rest of your life. It can also be one of the most stressful days too. To help alleviate some of your stress, here are some tips for planning your reception.

  • Immediately after the ceremony, most couples have their formal pictures taken.    It is important to allow adequate time for this so that you don't start running behind before you arrive at your reception. The suggestion is to plan 3-4 minutes for each person in the bridal party, include parents and grandparents. For example, let say that you have a maid-of-honor, a best man, two bridesmaids, two groomsmen, a flower girl, four parents, two grandparents and yourselves, a total of fifteen people. Allow for 45 to 60 minutes for your formal pictures.
  • If you feel that you will be arriving at the reception more that 50 minutes after your guests arrive, consider letting your guests begin eating as they arrive.   Guests have a tendency to become anxious if they must wait longer than 45 minutes. Also, if you arrive at the reception after your bridal party, consider having just yourselves announced into the room. Once they begin to mingle, you will find it difficult to round up your bridal party. If you plan to have them announced, make sure they know so they do not to change out of there wedding attire!

  • Receiving lines can be very time consuming.    Speaking to 100 guests for just 15 seconds each adds up to 25 minutes. If you must have a receiving line, have just yourselves and if possible, only your parents form your receiving line.

  • If possible, do your first dance right after you arrive, followed by parents dance(s).   This will depend heavily on how your consultation & planning have designed your entrance. A good DJ will organize this task for you. We like to recommend you dance your first dance immediately after being announced into the room, then follow with the parents dance(s). Then the bride & groom will start the dinner course. Soon after we recommend you cut your wedding cake(s). This allows everyone to get cake after their meals (wait too long, you will have more cake left over!). Usually right after the cake, a formal toast is done (optional). Soon after that, have the DJ invite the wedding party (optional) to the dance floor (use an up tempo song if possible), then open the floor up to everyone. Your guests should be ready to fill the dance floor!

  • Remember to place the wedding cake away from the traffic flow & out of sunlight.   Cutting of your wedding cake(s) is one of the highlights of the reception. Have it announced by your DJ for all of  your guests to share with you & enjoy also.
  • When it comes to deciding on your first dance, father/daughter & mother/son dance etc.    Take an evening and "test them" once, to make sure that your choices are at comfortable tempos for all. This will avoid having to stumble through your first dance with your parents.  Not sure what to dance to? Ask your parents for suggestions of what they would like to dance to.

  • Musical entertainment is a critical part of the success of your reception. Typically, about 20% of your invited guests will be your close friends, making 80% of your guests: older or younger relatives, co-workers, and friends of the families. A good host is considerate of all their guests, keep this in mind when making musical requests. This is your way of letting your guests know that you appreciate them coming & being part of your day. This is what makes a reception fun for everyone.

  • The bride and groom are the center of attention, therefore you set the tone of the reception. When you dance, the dance floor will tend to be full, when you sit and socialize, your guests will most likely do the same.

  • Recommend your photographer and/or videographer contact the DJ.   The DJ should have a list of scheduled events & times of these events (garter / bouquet toss, cake cutting, dances, etc.). "Staged" pictures are not as memorable as the real moment can be. This will avoid having to rush through these events because of time restraints or poor planning. Make it clear in your contract how long you expect them to stay. Consider placing disposable cameras on the guest tables for your guests to take photos. Someone may get that "one memorable shot" or angle that no one else saw.
  • Hire experienced professionals. There is no 2nd chance on your wedding day.    As you begin to plan for this day, the magnitude of such an event begins to be understood. Everything has to fit into place, be on time, and many people's efforts are brought together to make your wedding day a success. Misfortunes such as poor photos, mismatched colors, lopsided cakes, ill-equipped helpers, uneven seams, no shows, & equipment breakdowns are much more likely to occur when friends & family are used.

    Have A Great Wedding!

    Wedding Reception Planner

    (A downloadable 2 page document of this form is located at bottom of page)
    Bride's Name: _____________________________ email address: ______________________________ 

    Phone Number: _____________________________ Cell Number: ________________________________ 

    Groom's Name: _____________________________ email address: ______________________________

    Phone Number: _____________________________ Cell Number: ________________________________

    Wedding Date: _________________ Time: ________________

    Wedding Location/Address/Phone: _________________________________________________________

    Reception Date: _______________ Time: ________________

    Reception Location/Address/Phone: _______________________________________________________


    [] Will the DJ play music for the wedding ceremony? 

    Ceremony start time: ___________  (DJ will begin seating music 15-20 minutes before)

    [] Will there be a Receiving Line at the church or reception? 

    Reception starts: __________ (time)    Reception end: _________ (time) 

    Will there be a: (check one)   [] full dinner  [] buffet  [] appetizers  [] cake only?

    [] Are guests to wait until Bride and Groom arrive to begin eating?

    [] Prayer before the meal?  Who will say it?  __________________________________________

    [] Just BRIDE and GROOM announced? To be announced as __________________________________

    [] Or would you like the DJ to announce the Bridal Party also? 

         If Yes, please supply names of ALL people to be announced, including relationships.)

    [] Bride and Groom to begin dancing right after introductions?

    [] * OR *  Bride and Groom to begin dancing after eating? 

    [] Our First Dance song: _____________________________ Artist ___________________________

    [] Father/Daughter Dance song: _______________________ Artist ___________________________

     [] Mother/Groom Dance song:___________________________ Artist ___________________________ 

     [] Bridal Party Dance song: __________________________ Artist ___________________________ 

    Favorite Songs or Artists

    _______________________________________, _______________________________________,

    _______________________________________, _______________________________________,

    _______________________________________, _______________________________________,

    _______________________________________, _______________________________________,

    _______________________________________, _______________________________________,

    _______________________________________, _______________________________________.

    [] Toast time: ________

    [] Best Man  [] Maid of Honor  [] Parent (please specify which: __________)

    [] Bride  [] Groom  [] Other _____________________________________________

    [] Cake Cutting ____________ (time)   Is there a Groom's Cake? ______

    [] Special Dance or Family Tradition? ____________________________________

    [] Bouquet Toss ____________ (time)             

    [] Garter Removal & Toss  

    [] Garter placed on bouquet recipient

    Photographer _____________________ Phone: _____________ (scheduled time to leave)________

    Videographer _____________________ Phone: _____________ (scheduled time to leave)________

    Bridal Consultant ________________ Phone: _____________ (scheduled time to leave)________
    (above modified from GMDJA)
    click here for a downloadable Wedding Reception Planner (27.5kb)

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