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10 Secret Wedding Reception Tips from Real Planners

We could write a novel on the endless number of styles, themes and tricks that can elevate a wedding reception. What lighting, décor, entertainment, cocktails and customized menus are relevant and trending? More importantly, what aspects are essential to you? Over the years, our planners have been adding to their knowledge, collecting secret tips and tricks along the way that help them when they sit down and put a plan together. We picked their brains for the best ones, and here’s what they came up with:

1) Stick to the Theme, but Don’t Overdo It

Themes are helpful guides when it comes to wedding décor, entertainment, favors and more. Rustic, garden, bohemian—there are so many popular ones to work with. However, it’s important to maintain that delicate balance of taste, style and your unique personalities.

Doug Quattrini

Choose your theme and follow it all the way through. But don’t forget it’s a wedding! 

–Doug Quattrini, CPEC

Bohemian themed wedding

2) Light It Up

It’s all about the lights. Pin spotting is a lighting technique that can dramatically change a table and even an entire room. Perfect for floral centerpieces, it will accentuate all the tiniest details.

Chelsea Schnell

Pin spotting is simple, but it has a huge effect.

–Chelsea Schnell

Pin Spotting with Florals
Asya Photography

3) His & Hers Signature Cocktail

Couples love this one. It showcases their style while allowing the bar personnel to share their creativity with clever concoctions and names to match.

Erika Borton

Personalization goes a long way!

–Erika Borton

4) Bring the Outdoors Inside

Not every couple wants the potential risks of having an outdoor reception. How about inviting mother nature inside? Floral chandeliers, succulent cake toppers, indoor gardens and wooden chairs are all ways to naturalize your reception space.

Jeffrey Acker

Use glammed up hedges and topiaries and bistro and effect lighting!

–Jeffrey Acker

Succulent Cake Toppers

5) The Element of Surprise

One unique, unusual element at a wedding is all it takes to really liven a reception up. Guests expect music and entertainment, but they don’t necessarily anticipate a children’s choir performance, roaming magician or mummers during cocktail hour. A mummer performance, which is an old Irish tradition, can include a dance, music or jokes.

Doug Quattrini

Everyone loves a good surprise.

–Doug Quattrini, CPEC

6) Practical Party Favors

Give your guests something practical. A scratch-off lottery ticket or snack first aid kits make great party favors. Or give them something cryptic and fun like puzzle pieces to assemble. Give each of the bride’s family members half of an item and the groom’s family the other halves to encourage mingling.

Doug Quattrini

Give your guests something they will actually use.

–Doug Quattrini, CPEC

7) Metals Mix and Match

Not every fork and knife has to be the same. Mixing and matching the types of metal in your flatware and cutlery creates a striking effect. Silver, stainless steel, copper, brass and gold—there are many to choose from and blend.

Chelsea Schnell

Mixing and matching makes a place setting pop!

–Chelsea Schnell

8) Subtle Touch of Décor

It’s the small design hints that really bring a display together. An acrylic menu or a charger are simple but lovely ways to make your table setup flow together.

Chelsea Schnell

Little touches of décor have a big impact.

–Chelsea Schnell

acrylic menu at wedding place setting

9) Departure Station

Guests get hungry after a full night of dancing and celebrating. A memorable way to top off a magical evening is by arranging a departure station close to the exit so that everyone can enjoy some delicious late-night bites on the go.

Erika Borton

I love seeing guests light up when we reveal a departure station at the end of the night!

–Erika Borton

Philly Departure Station

10) Honor Loved Ones with Candles

Every couple has a different way of remembering their departed loved ones at a wedding, and this should be respected. However, it’s important to be aware of the placement of a memory table and what unexpected emotions a lot of pictures may stir up. Setting candles or flower petals in a designated place is a subtle yet moving way to pay respects.

Doug Quattrini

There are so many ways to honor your loved ones.

–Doug Quattrini, CPEC

Maybe you have some ideas to add to this list or would like to hear more wedding reception tips from our planners. If so, we’d love to discuss your vision in more detail. Contact us!

It’s your day, we’ll help make it go just right. We promise.
contact us
Sensational Host Events and Catering

3030 Route 73
North Maple Shade, NJ 08052
Phone: (856) 667-5005
Hours of Operation:
Mon–Sat: 9:00am–5:30pm

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