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Wedding Reception Checklist - 5 Beneficial Tips

Wedding Reception Checklist - 5 Beneficial Tips

Updated on: Jul 18, 2023

Your wedding reception is one of the most important parts of a wedding. Planning a wedding reception is no easy task to accomplish and can be very difficult if you don’t know where to start. If you are asking "where do I begin?", our wedding reception checklist is here to start you on the right track. It's also important to start planning when you've searched for some ideas and inspiration. 

There are so many small details that can make or break this special day of yours. You will want to plan your reception 10-12 months prior to your big day to guarantee the venue you want! Much goes into the reception like seating, food, and music. Since there are so many parts that you can miss while planning and so you don't panic, we have created a step-by-step guide on how to plan a wedding reception. There is a large variety of ideas for planning your reception! The guide below can be used to change the template provided into your very own specialized checklist. 

5 Reasons to Love Our Wedding Reception Checklist


1. Automatic Timeline

"How long does it take to plan a wedding reception", you ask?  We believe that there is no fixed time frame that will work for everyone. Since everyone has their own specific situations and timeframes, we created a checklist that will help you countdown the days till the wedding reception. Just add the day you're starting to plan your party, along with what day you’ll be holding your wedding reception, and then you will see that each task included in the worksheet will get an assigned due date! This will help you plan and make sure you have everything taken care of in time for the big day.

2. Visuals

Our template is formatted to help you easily see what tasks need to get done, and which should have higher priority. This will ensure that you don't miss any task on your wedding reception checklist!

  • Find the perfect wedding reception venue?  Check the box in the row for choosing a venue, and it will turn green.  This helps you visually spot which tasks are still outstanding.
  • Did you get caught up with your busy schedule?  If you start to approach a due date, it will turn yellow.  If it passes without completion, it will turn red.  This will help you prioritize tasks.

3. Shareable!

Are you planning your wedding reception with friends or your special someone?  If you are planning with others it is essential that everyone has access to your wedding reception checklist. We got you covered because our checklist template can be shared with whomever you wish via Google Drive.  Everyone will be on the same page, in real-time! Multiple people can edit the checklist at the same time to create the most memorable wedding reception. 

4. Helpful Links

The template doesn’t just help you plan your time, it connects you with great resources in a single click.

  • Want to survey your friends to find the best time to hold your wedding day?  Links to useful websites and apps are included.
  • Want to find the best florist?  Easily find every service - from venues and caterers to DJs and decorators - you need in one place.
  • Budgeting is a huge part of party planning.  It doesn’t need to be difficult, though!  Just use our budget worksheet, created just for your wedding day!  A link to this sheet will be included in the checklist.
  • Need to order supplies?  We’ve got you covered.  Just click!
  • Want to get the creative juices flowing with some fun party tips and ideas for your wedding reception?  We’ll link right to the articles you need.

5. Customizable Wedding Reception Checklist 

This is no generic planning guideline that will result in an amazing wedding reception. So instead we provided some suggestions for tasks that will help you create your customized wedding reception checklist.

Wedding Reception Venue & Preparations

The wedding reception venue is extremely crucial in creating the atmosphere that you want your guest to experience. Having a wedding venue checklist is also important. You should consider if you would like to have your venue outdoors or indoors. If you decide to have the venue outdoors, you should anticipate that the weather can be your worst enemy. 

After selecting and booking a venue, you have looked into a catering service right for your situation. You should ask the catering service for their service charge breakdown and if they provide head tables and seats. You should also confirm that the venue will allow your catering service to access the wedding reception area when they need to. 

Beverages & Food for the Reception


The catering service that you chose will provide the food, but they might not offer alcoholic beverages. You should ask to sample the menu items that they provide.  You should also ask the catering service that you are deciding a few essential questions such as, "Do you have a license to serve alcoholic beverages?". Another question you should consider asking, "Do you have liquor liability insurance?". 

If the catering service provides alcoholic beverages, they must have insurance in case of any incidents while guests are under the influence.  You should also ask, "Can we see your selection of alcoholic drinks?" and request a sample of their drink selection. It is crucial to inform the catering service that some of your guests have allergies. 

However, if your catering service does not provide alcoholic beverages, you may want to find a bartending service or an independent bartender. Bartending services will most likely have a license to serve alcohol and a liquor liability insurance policy. However, when choosing an independent bartender, you should ensure that they have both of these elements.

Wedding Reception Entertainment

One of the most essential elements of any wedding reception is to have entertainment that helps set the event's mood. You should consider what type of music you would like to have at your reception. For example, would you want ballroom music for ballroom dancing or a DJ for modern dancing? You may also consider games and activities that will make the reception much more fun. 

Here are some music ideas: intro songs, first dance song, father and daughter dance, mother-son dance, father-son song. On Apple Music and Spotify, many people have curated playlists for their wedding, so if you start looking there you could always create your own playlists. Something to consider is making a list of "do not play" and "definitely play" songs for the DJ as well!

Some games to consider are cards against humanity, mafia, or truth or drink. A fun activity for your guest is to set up a photo booth area so your guest can take wacky pictures to remember your wedding reception. You could also have an activity where you would set up guests who are single with each other on the dance floor. 

Another interesting entertainment idea is playing a homemade montage video of your relationship journey with your partner. Also, your guest may have kids who may need activities to keep them occupied. Some activities you can give them are coloring books, board games, or toys to play with.

Wedding Reception Decor

The decor of your wedding reception is another critical factor in emerging your guest in the atmosphere created by you. The first thing to consider for the wedding reception is the lighting of the dining hall. Depending on whether the venue is outdoor or indoor, you want to consider different types of lighting options. Some lighting options are candles, table lamps, amber light bulbs, or tent lights. Then you should also consider the ceiling or wall decorations. One little touch is adding photos of you and your significant other. You could also put up pictures or memorabilia from your favorite hobbies, shows, or movies. 

Another aspect of the reception is the table decorations. You may want to have a centerpiece such as flowers, crystals, miniature statues, or table garlands. Also, you should decide on the type of tablecloth you should have. A few examples are cotton, burlap, organza, or taffeta. Another element to look at is the table signage that helps guide guests to their seats. You would also want to choose a cardholder to go with the table signage. Other considerations are the table cutlery and plates. 

Other Detail to Consider

To remember this important day, you should hire a videographer and photographers to capture moments of your wedding! Another thing to consider is adding a lounge area for a momentary escape from the high-energy environment. Some guests may feel overwhelmed by the party's energy and would like a space to relax and recharge. This lounge area can also be for your guest to chat and mingle with each other. 

You should also consider a little play area for all of the kids at your wedding. There should also be an area designated for trash, making clean up more simple at the end of the event. You should also consider if there is enough parking space for the guests that arrive. Our last suggestion is thinking about what type of party favor to give your guest when they leave. Party favors should be items that symbolize this day, such as pictures or keychains. 

How to Use Our Wedding Reception Checklist


Simply click the download button below to get started. We have created a step-by-step guide to take you through using our checklists: how to share your checklists with fellow planners, how to add/edit/delete tasks, how to sort/filter/reorder tasks, and more.


Easy Event Planning believes that planning your wedding reception should be fun and easy! Our customizable template will help you make your own personal wedding reception checklist. The personalized checklist will ensure all of your plans will be in order before your wedding day. We hope that the guide and the checklist template we provided both help you plan a wedding reception you will never forget!  If you enjoy using this checklist, you’ll love our planning tools and checklists for other events, too!

Written by: Bryk Li