3 Tips for Planning Your Wedding Reception
Posted on: February 6, 2020


Image by Nicole Chan Photography.

By the time you are preparing for your wedding, you’ve probably had some party-planning experience already. You might have thrown a shower, birthday party, or had a hand in another type of event. You’ve gotten your feet wet a little. However, while reception planning is, in essence, no different, it typically involves a large group of invitees and requires some extra attention for ceremonial and traditional details.

Plan a Great Venue.

Once you know the date and general location of your ceremony, you can choose a wedding reception site. Unless the reception and wedding are being held at the same location, your venue choice should be fairly close, for everyone’s convenience. An excellent reception venue:

  • Has inviting ambiance and attractive grounds — the Hampshire House is a grand, turn-of-the-century Georgian Revival mansion, situated across the street from Boston Public Garden and offers sweeping views of this magnificent green. Inside, the classic Victorian décor — Italian marble throughout, carved oak panels, Palladian windows and fireplaces on each level—conveys a sense of history and grandness. Guests will be awed and immediately know that they can relax and enjoy a superb experience.
  • Provides stellar service — respectful, courteous, and friendly reception servers go a long way in making each guest feel welcome. Servers should be able and willing to greet guests upon arrival and graciously assist them.
  • Has plenty of secure parking available — for a Boston wedding reception at the Hampshire House, guests can obtain validated parking at nearby Boston Common Garage. It’s an easy walk to the Hampshire House and an opportunity to get a glimpse of the historical elegance of Beacon Street.

Plan an Outstanding Menu.

After an exciting day of travel, preparation, and attending the beautiful ceremony, your guests will likely be as famished as you are. Drinks and appetizers should be served or available as soon as guests are seated. This facilitates relaxed socializing because everyone has what they need. Of course, your menu should be thoughtfully chosen and excellently prepared, with consideration for people who have special dietary needs. Work with your caterer or venue staff to plan food that is fresh and tasty, with enough variety to please a large group.

At the Hampshire House, our executive chef Markus Ripperger’s life passion has been to create a wide variety of innovative, sustainable, locally-sourced and gourmet-cooked cuisine with many GMO-free options. Just reading a few of his menu selections is often enough to make anyone hungry.

Be sure to let the drinks flow freely. Even if you opt for a cash-only bar, allow your guests to order alcoholic drinks if they wish. And don’t hold back on desserts, either. Be sure to offer sweets other than the wedding cake. For many people, dessert is their favorite part of a meal.

Plan to Have Fun.

With all your guests’ food and drink needs satisfied due to your skillful wedding reception planning, they will also be clamoring for entertainment. Hiring a band or DJ for dancing is a tried-and-true form of energetic fun. Some other more unique ideas might include:

  • Hiring a dancer to perform for guests or an acrobat to amaze the audience with their dexterity.
  • Renting a video booth where guests can create special personalized videos to memorialize the event.
  • Doing a balloon drop, with lots of confetti and glitter.
  • Laying out a puzzle challenge at each table, crafting each puzzle yourself by clipping pictures of you and your spouse, your parents and in-laws, the two of you with your pets, etc.
  • Delighting guests with a magician, a comedian or a psychic reader.

Planning entertainment will keep guests laughing and interacting, sustaining the joyous mood of your celebration. It will be good to have a photographer on hand to capture these moments of fun. But no matter the entertainer, the real stars of the show will be you and your new spouse as the both of you embark on your wonderful new life together.

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