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How to Make Sure You (And Your Guests!) Enjoy Your Wedding Reception!

Here we go again with a post that I type out in emails all the time – these are the little truth bombs that we drop on couples and they go “ohhhh I never thought of it that way!” Time and time again, there are certain little things that couples do to make their weddings fun, meaningful, and more enjoyable for everyone. So let’s talk about some wedding reception tips!

A wedding reception is a pretty huge event. Controlling a crowd like that, keeping them engaged and excited and happy…. Of course everyone is happy and excited at a wedding, but if you really want to take your reception to the next level, there are a few things you need to think about!


enjoy-wedding-reception-R How to Make Sure You (And Your Guests!) Enjoy Your Wedding Reception!

Start on time, and eat on time.

Guests hate to wait around for two things: 1. For things to start, and 2. for food (and alcohol). Don’t make them wait for either. (But be flexible with the rest of your reception timeline on the day-of. Remember this is a party, and you don’t have to stick to things down to the minute!)

Make a plan for greeting guests and stick with it.

This is one of the most important wedding reception tips I can give you. Greeting alllll of those people can be overwhelming, and it’s often what ends up taking the most time on your wedding day. So make a plan for when you’re going to greet your guests, and stick to it!

We recommend either greeting guests during dinner, or greeting them in a line heading into your reception. Because if all of your guests are either seated for dinner or are in a line together, they’ll all be in the same place at the same time and you won’t miss anyone (and then you won’t have to wander around all night trying to find that one cousin you haven’t said hi to yet).

Keep your greetings sincere, but keep things moving. (Do the math – if you have 150 guests and about 45 minutes for dinner, that means you should be fully greeting about 3 guests per minute.) Once you’ve said hello to everyone, you won’t feel like you have any other obligations left to fulfill and you can go have fun!! Most people know that time with the bride and groom is limited on a wedding day, so they’re happy with a simple hello, hug, and thank you! (You can thank them more in your thank you card!)

Get out and dance!

SO many couples regret not dancing more at their wedding. This is why we personally recommend greeting people either immediately after the ceremony or while they’re eating, so you don’t have to continue to say your hellos and thank yous when it’s supposed to be party time! If dancing is a priority, don’t let anything get in the way of some time on the dance floor with your new spouse!

Make sure your vendors (especially your photographers!) are fed at EXACTLY the same time as you!

Usually when you and your new spouse are eating, there aren’t too many fantastic picture opportunities. So if we eat when you eat, then we won’t miss anything! We’ve experienced some miscommunications with caterers and couples before, and have been served dinner right when speeches/dances/other important reception moments are just starting, and that usually means we’re either rushing in to grab those moments or we don’t get to eat at all. This may sound like something small, but it’s not!!

Sneak out to take some more pictures!

Because sunset light is GORGEOUS and it’ll probably be one of the only times you’ll get to spend alone together! So enjoy it!

Let your band/DJ do their job.

If you have some must-plays (and some definitely don’t plays) that’s totally fine. But – just like with all your other vendors – remember that you hired professionals who literally do this as a living. So be confident in who you hire, and then let them work their magic!

Guide your guests through the evening.

Have you ever been to a work event or conference where it’s super unclear when things are happening? Where you’re supposed to go? How you’re supposed to plan your day, etc. etc.?

People are always happier when they know what to expect and when to expect it. Not saying that a well placed surprise isn’t a good thing at a wedding reception, but overall, make sure you don’t leave your guests wondering what’s next or what’s going on. That totally kills the vibe!

Break your shoes in.

This is for brides AND grooms! You don’t want to miss out on anything because your feet are killing you, that would just be silly!

Eat something!

At this point in the day, you will probably be starving. Talk to your caterer about when and where you’ll be eating, and stick to it. See if they can even wrap up a second helping for you to take home with you at the end of the night! Late night snack, check!

Decide what vibe you want your reception to have, and plan accordingly.

This is another one of my top wedding reception tips.

Think through how your guests will likely experience the wedding best and what you want the vibe to be like, and set your timeline accordingly! This is where having a wedding planner is SO key because they know exactly how to time these things an how to create the vibe you want!

Don’t overthink it.

Once you’re at your wedding reception, nothing can be changed. It is what it is, and if you’re at your wedding reception, that means you got married, which means the day was perfect! Don’t worry about whether or not Aunt Sally and Cousin Bob are upset that they’re at the same table. Just relax, snuggle with your new spouse, and take in the fact that all of your favorite people are in the same room. That’s pretty cool, amirite?



Lindsay Campbell is a wedding photographer specializing in natural, romantic wedding photography with a bright and airy film look. She photographs weddings in Chattanooga, Franklin, Nashville, Sewanee, and the surrounding areas, and travels across the country to photograph weddings! If you’re looking for a Chattanooga wedding photographer, Sewanee wedding photographer, Nashville wedding photographer, or Franklin wedding photographer, get in touch!