Wedding reception ideas to help coordinate the perfect celebration!

Wedding reception ideas to help you plan the perfect party where you can let your hair down (literally if you wish!) and just enjoy your time together as a couple with your family and friends after the ceremony.

When tossing around wedding reception ideas, keep these important pieces in mind:

• Headcount/Children
• Location/Formalness
• Food/Serving style/Alcohol
• Cake
• Entertainment
• Decorations

Your attendees

You must know at least the approximate number of guests that will be in attendance for your reception. This is key so that you book a space that is either big enough for everyone to fit or is not too large for the number of guests.

Also, do you want children in attendance? It is ok to not want children there. We took the position that children 10 and above were invited so that everyone would enjoy themselves and not be sidetracked with cranky children.

Make sure that you include all of your vendors in the headcount such as your DJ or Band and your photographer and videographer.

The location

When choosing your location, it should represent the formalness that you want as well as be large or small enough that is appropriate for your anticipated headcount.

I have been to very formal receptions where food and drinks (excluding alcohol) were proved...all the way to a backyard pig roast where some people brought food dishes to share in lieu of gifts and you brought your own beverage of choice.

One of the most unique wedding reception ideas that comes to mind is the pig roast reception! It was the most relaxed reception I had ever been to! They had a camp fire pit going and kids (and adults) where even roasting marshmallows!

You can view what Maine has to offer for venues by using the navigation buttons on the right and check out our local beaches, outside venues and reception locations to help with additional wedding reception ideas.

Food and alcohol

When working with a venue, you will most likely have the following choices:

• Sit-down meal or buffet style
• Cash bar (guests pay for their own alcohol), an open bar (you supply the alcohol) or no alcohol.

I will start an uproar, but here in Maine...a cash bar is perfectly acceptable! I actually have never been to a wedding with an open bar!!

As far as the food service goes, your selected venue will either: supply the food service, allow you to hire a caterer or allow you to bring your own (pot-luck style).

If you have a strong preference for a food provider, make sure you discuss with the venue contact.

Feel free to view information on wedding caterers that are available to choose from here in Maine.

The wedding cake

Wedding receptions would be incomplete without a wedding cake?

After all, you do need to keep your audience in suspense as to whether you will shove the cake into each other’s faces or if you will gently place it in their mouth!

Wedding cakes can be so much fun to design and add kind of a final touch to your decorating efforts.

Feel free to view information related to wedding cakes and bakers that are available to choose from here in Maine.

The entertainment

The most popular choice of entertainment for wedding receptions is using a DJ. Live bands can get very expensive depending on who you want to use.

In our situation, since our reception venue is not huge and we have a great sound system, we will be hooking up our sound system to our computer and have a family member run the music from our library and do the announcements for us to help conserve costs.

Feel free to view information related to wedding DJs that are available to choose from here in Maine.

The decorations

There are lots of ways to express yourself and have a lot of fun with decorations for your reception.

There are beautiful centerpieces that can be created with flowers, candles and several other personal items. For inspiration check out these wedding centerpiece ideas.

As a budget saver, I worked with my florist to choose flowers and will provide my own vases to help save some money.

Wedding favors are also can be a fun way to add a little thank-you to your guest for attending! They don’t have to be expensive!


• While assessing wedding reception ideas, consider homemade decorations, they can save you a lot of money.
• Silk flowers can be used instead of real flowers for centerpieces.
• Many websites offer personalized wedding favors.
• Your reception choices are where the most flexibility will be to conserve costs.

Tidbit: Have fun and do what is within your budget. Wedding receptions don't have to be fancy to be fun.

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Lori St.Onge
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Useful books to help you with your wedding plans:

Wedding planning guide
Planning a theme wedding Wedding speeches
Marriage and wedding vows

Budget Busters:

Guide to wedding savings
Create your own wedding flower arrangements
Cake decorating