Wedding Reception Planning – Phase 2

Planning a wedding, much to my surprise and our (SO’s and I’s) excellent, easy going organisation skills – isn’t just a case of sitting down for one hour and then picking everything out. Oh no no no… there’s a whole bunch of stuff to get you from Beginning of the Year/Phase 1 to Wedding Day. Since we aren’t (and don’t see the need) for hiring a wedding planner – it is upon us (well me for the finer details) to source vendors and remaining minor little things for the wedding. SO has been a fantastic help for the bigger plans.

Phase One – I will call this the Investigation & Research Phase


It basically consists of:

  • Figuring out what your budget is (I originally said – and very proudly – we would stick to a 5 thousand AUD budget)…oh no this was well pissed out the window when there were more guests and other factors to include
  • Selecting venues you like/know other people get married at – where we live – things are bit simpler. If we had a million dollar budget and we were living in somewhere like Melbourne or Sydney (Instagram has some pretty nice wedding inspiration from these places) you’d get more choice. For a smaller town – you can choose to go the “traditional route” (which even some members of my own family did) or you can go the unconventional route (what SO and I chose to do) or the nature route (outside in a popular or remote place)
  • Researching the shortlist, asking venues for brochures
  • Getting reviews or recommendations from online – it’s better to avoid family/friend recommendations unless you’re going for the same venue. EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION ABOUT EVERYTHING WHEN IT COMES TO THE WEDDING!


  • Visiting the shortlist
  • Weeding out the contractual stuff and explaining what you get with the reception
  • Finalising and making a full payment or deposit
  • If you’re having entertainment – starting to look at what you can and can’t have

So when you’ve picked out the venue you can move onto Phase 2: Finer Detail Planning

Because the venue SO and I have chosen is meal based – there are more details to select. If we had just picked a hotel, a social club or a ballroom package at a high end/cost venue – then food and beverages would have been simply locked in.

I could probably overall summarise what we are looking at but I’d probably miss something out. I will try note the “obvious” things:



  • Menu overview – some places will let you pick and choose. Our venue know we love the place and we go for the food. So we are having a custom menu (based off the “normal pricelist) and had to have a meeting to go talk about exact food has been interesting. We are working with the head chef and the owner seems to like – that we like and know what we are talking about when it comes to good eating.
  • Beverages
  • Boozing – making sure there is a red, a white, beer, cocktails (I am having three custom cocktails for the night based off the wedding colours and favourite cocktails from all over town) and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Making sure that everyone can eat something – so finding out or remembering who has what allergies/diet requirements – the basics for weddings should be a meat meal, vegetarian meal, something with seafood and if you have a fussy eater they can fuck off or go get a meal beforehand. I don’t like fussy diet eaters and luckily we have a few maybe 1 vegetarian (my cousin if they can be bothered turning up to the wedding).
  • Menu tastings (because we are going to a foodie place – we sat down and paid for our own meals – we weren’t throwing around our “wedding weight” to scam freebies). Seeing the venue and seeing it in action over a weekend night was great (and helped us solidify our decision)
  • Are you having a wedding cake brought in, made in the reception, something else in lieu of cake or no cake (every person I meet said you have to have some kind of dessert)
The wedding cake idea was a bust for us!
  • Table décor – there are usually charges if you go beyond the standard “white” set up.
  • Are you changing plates, bowls, glassware or cutlery?
  • Table set up for guests
  • Table set up for bridal party – is it going to be just the couple or will they have family or bridal party/groom party or combination of all
  • Timeline of the reception
  • Photography
  • Legal stuff – for Australian parties, you can’t just have a wedding at any old time or place. Local government wants their cut of the pie with noise legislations and shut downs. So the party stops at midnight (and I won’t go back to being Cinderelle and I will still have a prince and not a frog or a skunk).
  • State government wants you to pay for a liquor licence and you can’t smoke in the venues – you can only have 18+ guests because children can’t go to venues where alcohol is being served and they bloody shouldn’t be either. This was an excellent excuse to have an adults only reception!
  • Tablecloth selection
  • Napkin colour selection (optional)
  • Measurements of the venue – I was getting light up letters but the venue is cozy and the word I want isn’t going to fit. Better to get that now then rock up on the day with giant ass letters that won’t fit. The reception venue thinks we could do a light up box instead!
  • Furniture for hire for décor purposes

There are a few more little touches like SO’s European-based family members (and friends) will be coming to visit him for the wedding. SO wanted some food they would have back home but also to get them to try out different foods. It could be a non-alcoholic drink they have or incorporating the national dish of [[SO’s country]].  I wanted to gift the bridal party and the family members with an expensive bottle of champagne to toast (the other guests get a good selection of stuff too).

Phase 3 of the wedding is vendor and décor sourcing

Which is self-explanatory at this stage.  I will blog about my experiences! For me, it’s about getting the décor down pat and finding some entertainment for our guests for the reception.

The great thing about blogging about my experiences; not only can I share my experience (as part of a couple/wedding planning ourselves) but I would love to read back on this blog as I found the experience really enjoyable. Spending the actual money has been painful but it’s for a great cause, celebrates us/our tastes and will be really special for the guests. We only intend on having one wedding so you better make it count!