Florida Wedding Chapel – Big Party Planning 101

People adore your dinner parties, and the nights out that you plan for friends are remembered months later. But what happens when your guest list jumps from 10 to 100 or more for your wedding? There are lots of things to consider when you’re planning the reception part of your big day, says Amy Schwartz, event consultant for Complete weddings + events. Topping her list for couples: venue, caterer and entertainment. Here, Schwartz and Jen Mrsny of Cherry On Top Events by Jen share tips for eight important considerations.


It’s definitely not as simple as calling for a dinner reservation. You need to think ahead and avoid dates that are in high demand. Think Berkshire Hathaway shareholders weekend, the College World Series and Husker football games. Costs can triple and rooms disappear because of high demand. “If you’re a Husker diehard, you’ll find that the Husker bye week is one of the most popular dates. Vendors book a lot faster on these popular dates/weekends,’’ Mrsny says.


Think about venue capacity and layout, along with your guest list. If your venue will hold 250 people and your guest list is at 450, then you’ll have to choose another venue or make some difficult cuts. Just because a venue will hold 250 guests doesn’t mean you should pack them in like sardines.


When choosing a venue, don’t overlook parking, or it could be a tough night for your guests. Is there a parking lot, shuttle service, street parking, valet service? “Definitely something to keep in mind,’’ Mrsny says.


Once you have the venue, determine how you want it to look and what it will take to achieve your vision. A board room layout won’t work for a reception, but it may work for an intimate catered rehearsal dinner.


Talk over what you’d like to serve. That might entail visits to various vendors, so don’t leave the menu until the last minute.


Create a list of wants and a list of needs. You might find that some things on your wants list aren’t as important once you start adding up the costs, Schwartz says.


Since getting guests to RSVP is a challenge for everyone, Mrsny recommends having a “ghost table” when capacity allows. “A ‘ghost table’ is essentially an extra table that no one is meant to sit at,’’ Mrsny says. “However, if a rogue guest shows or you completely spaced Aunt Betty’s table assignment, a seat will be ready.’’


This was a big one for Schwartz. “I was able to enjoy my wedding day, and she (the coordinator) kept my mom sane,’’ she says. “She basically covered all our bases, taking care of details and communicating with other vendors and making sure they all showed up.’’

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