“Hey, it’s okay” Tuesday: the wedding reception edition.

It’s now Day 3 post-reception, and Michael and I are starting to look ahead to our move to Japan. But, before I totally change focus, I wanted to write a post here about our reception and include a few “lessons learned” (my-oh-my did I learn a few lessons in putting this together!).

The reception went really well, and I couldn’t think of a single thing that I’d change. I was able to say “hi” to almost all of our guests, I spent most of the night on the dance floor, our ice luge was a HUGE hit, and my dress was trashed by the end of the night because I had sooo much fun galavanting around the city at 2am with some of our party goers. Michael and I finally fell asleep at 4ish, and we still made it to our 10am post-reception brunch!

So, here are a few things that I figured out either during the planning process or during the reception itself:

Hey, it’s okay:

– to keep it calm and quiet in your ready-room while you’re getting ready for your event. I had opposite ready-room experiences for my wedding and reception. My wedding ready-room experience was the stereotypical too-many-women, too-little-space scenario. It was loud, stressful, and, well, stressful. I was even told by someone that they didn’t want to be there. I arrived for my wedding STRESSED OUT from the situation. So, for my reception, I had 1 friend and my cousin (who was doing my hair) in my ready room. My mom was there for about 40min in the middle, and my mom’s two friends joined us for the 10min that I was getting dressed (my dress weighed like 40lbs, so it was a team effort to get into!). I had a very low-key 4hrs of getting ready, and I arrived at my reception relaxed. You DO NOT need to have a stereotypical tons-of-friends, champagne-fuled ready-room situation before your event. I wish that I hadn’t invited so many people to my wedding ready-room, but I made up for it with my reception 🙂 Bad memories replaced by good memories!

– to make sure that YOUR wedding is YOUR day, and to stand up to people who think otherwise. People purposefully forget that they’re not the bride and groom. Sometimes people will show up to your events in a foul mood, or they want to monopolize you for the whole event, or they want to bring their drama to your occasion. Or, you’ll have that relative who wants things done THEIR way, and yet isn’t putting a penny of their own money into your event. My rule is this: if you’re not paying for it, I don’t care about your opinion.

– to not do any extras for your guests. 10 members of your family are coming into town a few days early and want you to organize a dinner at a local restaurant for them? People want to be personally picked-up at the airport and driven to their hotel the day before your event? Just because you’re hosting the party doesn’t make it okay for your guests to demand special treatment. My biggest annoyance was that I had an onslaught of people demanding a welcome bag, even through they weren’t staying at the hotel.  My second biggest annoyance was the number of people who wanted me to call the hotel on their behalf so that they could get something special. While it’s really, really nice of you to do nice things for your guests, people don’t care forget that you have other, more important things to do in the days before your wedding then to organize special things for them. Your guests can find their own rides and restaurants (and anything else that they need!). It’s okay to say no.

– to get a little crazy at your party. We had an ice luge, and I was its biggest user. Classy? No. Fun? Yes.

– to be super hung over for a while following your event. I read somewhere that the bride should up her water intake the week of her wedding in preparation for drinking at her reception. I didn’t, and I am currently paying the price with a MONSTER hang over that is now in its seventy-second hour. DRINK WATER. A friend told me today that she had a hang over for a week. Neither of us were sloppy drunk or sick due to alcohol consumption (we both averaged about 1 drink per hour), but we think that the insane hangovers had to do with being dehydrated and stressed leading up to the reception (okay, and mine is probably related to the luge!).

– to not say hello to everyone. I tried really, really hard to see everyone at the reception, but it I didn’t make it to 1 table. I would have loved to talk to those people, but over 92% is still an A!

– to add personal touches, even if they’re non-traditional. Michael and I had a photo room set-up where guests had their pictures taken with us as they walked into cocktail hour. Probably 80% of our guests had a nice photo taken with us, and it was a great opportunity to greet everyone! We plan to use all those photos in our photo book, and we purchased the rights to our photos so that we can email the files of the pictures to our guests if they’d like them.

– to have a mental list of people whom you can call-on during your reception in case something goes wrong or you need help. For example, I totally forgot to clean-out my stuff from the ready-room before the reception started. Oops. My mom’s friends cleaned it out for me and brought my stuff to my room. Phew. I also had two girl friends who helped me in the bathroom. If you have a ginormous princess dress like mine, you will need help. They’ll probably need to pull down your panties and to wipe you, too.

– to invite new guests at the very last minute when guests cancel. We had 3 individuals cancel within 24hrs of our reception. So, I invited a friend’s parents to join us. I added 2 chairs to a table at the very last minute, but it all worked out! Keep a little mental list of people whom you can invite quickly if necessary.

– to hire friends and family as vendors if they are professionals in that area. Bridal magazines and websites caution against this, but they use ridiculous examples, like if you hire your Great Aunt Edna as a photographer and all she has is a polaroid camera. I hired several friends/relatives as vendors – it worked out great AND we saved a lot of money!

– if everything doesn’t go exactly as planned. Our reception started a little late and the DJ played some songs that weren’t on our play list that I didn’t like, but I went with it and had a GREAT time.

– to tell people “no” when they rudely ask to bring a date/child/friend when you invited them as a singleton. I allowed a few friends to bring guests that I hadn’t initially invited because (a) they were an old friend and I didn’t realize that they were in a serious relationship and (b) when the people they’d know at the reception declined their invites. I also had a relative who is incredibly rude, anyway demand that we invite her kids’ significant others. We didn’t have enough seats to invite all of my first cousins, so I didn’t feel right allowing some of my first cousins to bring guests and, why would I allow her to bring her own guests when she was being so rude. It was a HUGE fiasco with her, but I stuck to my guns and it turned out okay.

– to take prenatal vitamins leading up to your big day to enhance your hair, skin, and nails. I started prenatal vitamins a month before my wedding and didn’t see a difference, but fast forward 3 months and a LOT of new hair (on my head, where it should be!) started coming in. I’ve now been taking them for 7mo and my hair is significantly thicker. Fair warning though – it’s new hair, so it’s shorter then the rest of your hair. I get a lot of “fly-aways” on my hairline now.

– to say no to adding people to the guest list. My husband and I initially wanted an 80 person reception. Our families wanted to invite more people then we initially allotted … and we said yes. We were SO happy to have so many wonderful family members and friends there, but it added sooo much to the final cost and we STILL weren’t able to invite all of our friends! If we said no to allowing our families to invite more people, I think that we could have invited all of our friends. Sad. Your day is YOUR day, and it should only be about you and your spouse. Period. Make sure that you invite all of your important people. If those people decline, then let your families invite more people. We should have done it differently, and now we know better!

I may add a few more lessons learned in the next few days, but I think those are the main high points! I LOVED planning our wedding and reception, and I’m a little sad that they’re over now :/

Have a great night, friends!! Good luck to those of you who are planning your own wedding and reception!!


  1. This post makes me think of something along the lines of wisdom that you would pass down to another bride as she gets ready for her wedding! 🙂 I had to agree with you on so many points!
    I love the part about the guests. They act like you don’t have anything else better to do right before your wedding/event! We also had to tell people “NO!” and they weren’t happy with it. haha.

    Way to sum up a wedding in a nutshell!! 😉

    1. Haha, thanks! I heard from other brides about demanding guests, but it’s one of those things that shocks you anyway! I don’t think I wrote about it in an official blog post, but my invitees started shocking me when I received a few declines. Some of the things people said to me as to why they weren’t coming were just … well … not something that I’d ever tell someone who was getting married and whom I valued as a friend. Amazing!

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