White sign with happily ever after written on it in red paint

Wedding Reception Ideas

*Collaborative Post.

The other day I finally got around to writing about my wedding! If you missed it, you can read all about how I’m Getting Married Next Year (2021) and what we’ve come up with in terms of planning so far. I mentioned in that post that we’re still looking for a venue to host our reception in. At the moment, we’re thinking about maybe renting out a pub – somewhere that we can have some drinks and some food, but has a nice laid back atmosphere and doesn’t involve too much preparation for us! We’re still pretty undecided though as neither of us really has a clue what to look out for or what type of venue we want.

Finding a venue for our wedding reception.

I have been looking online at a whole variety of venues and the types of packages that are available for this type of event.

There are so many choices out there that range in cost, so the whole thing is quit overwhelming. It’s a lot trickier than I thought it would be – the whole aspect of wedding planning is actually a lot harder than I expected. Why does no one tell you how to plan a wedding? I was definitely not prepared for this much stress and uncertainty.

I will admit that I’m a little stressed about sorting it all out, even though I’ve still got a year.I do like to be prepared (thank you anxiety!), so as well as thinking about the reception itself, I am also trying to sort out where our guests are staying after the wedding reception.


Sorting out accommodation for your guests is as important as plying them with alcohol and food, right? I’ve been looking into some big houses to rent so people can party to their hearts content and still find somewhere to sleep that night. It works out pretty well as www.partyhouses.co.uk have dog friendly accommodation too, so my future MIL could bring all her fur babies if she wanted.

A few pubs that we’ve briefly glanced at online have rooms to rent, which is pretty handy as then everyone would be in the same place. The only problem is I’m not sure quite how many rooms we need at the moment. Which means, I suppose we’ll need to look into near by hotels as well, both as a venue and for accommodation.

A rustic style wooden sign with the words Mr and Mrs in white

Finding somewhere near our wedding venue.

We’re not getting married in the immediate area, which is nice because it means we get to associate a lovely memory with a particular place that wouldn’t really work in the same way if we were getting married in the next town over. The only problem with this is that we know all the local pubs and businesses that rent function rooms near by – we know nothing about the pubs and potential venues close to our wedding venue.

So that’s our first challenge really; finding out what’s local to the area and what suits our tastes. Then we have to figure out what sort of event we’d like to host.

What type of wedding reception do we want?

Traditionally people have the Wedding Breakfast after they’re married. Now I didn’t even know what this was until I started planning a wedding, but I can tell you this much – it is not for us!

We are planning on having the ceremony, popping off for lunch with our parents and then coming back in the early evening to start partying with the rest of our guests! We’re not going to have a big sit down meal with everyone and we’re not going to have a seating plan or fancy tables and chairs. I want people dancing, not sitting! Obviously we’ll have ample seating but we just want to have a good night and enjoy ourselves with the people we love.

Food and drink.

We need to feed our guests something, so we’re thinking some sort of buffet. If we end up in a pub, we can pay for party foods for our guests, as well as putting a tab on the bar for them. If we end up somewhere self catering then we’d probably ask everyone to bring a dish – this would definitely cut the costs for us and I’m sure no one would have an issue with this.

If we do end up renting out a pub, we would obviously have alcohol readily available. We’d be able to set up a tab and once that was spent, people could buy their own drinks. If we end up in some other venue, we’d obviously have to make sure we can serve/drink alcohol there and go into all those details. If said venue didn’t have a bar, we’d obviously have to supply the alcohol ourselves too, which could be pricey but possibly work out cheaper than putting a tab on the bar.

Basically, the alcohol makes everything expensive! I would love to have our wedding reception in a pub because of the friendly atmosphere, but I also think that we could cut costs by hosting it somewhere like a village hall and asking people to bring a dish. If you’re planning a memorable event such as a wedding in Picton, I’ve heard that Picton catering is a great company to look into for delicious food and flawless service.

sapphire engagement ring


Here’s another thing to consider when planning a wedding reception – the decor. If you’re booking your wedding and reception together, you’ve pretty much got this covered already. You’ll likely have a wedding planner or team to help set it all up and make the whole space look beautiful. We don’t have this!

The choice of venue we go for ultimately affects the amount and type of decorating we can do. If we were to host our reception in a pub, there’s obviously not a lot we can do. We might be able to stick some bunting up here and there, but it won’t be like the wedding receptions you see on Pinterest.

If we chose a venue that’s a blank canvas, we then have to decorate the place to make it look wedding-worthy. This is kind of exciting, but it also bumps up the cost AND the amount of planning and preparation needed.

I still have no idea what to do for our wedding reception.

Basically, I’ve no clue where to even start planning my wedding reception. I can’t help but feel small weddings are a lot harder to plan! Sometimes I wish that I liked more people and had more money so I could just go online, pick a venue and choose a package. It would certainly make things easier!

That being said, I do like a challenge and I have until next year to get everything sorted so I know I shouldn’t stress about too much. The thing I am finding most frustrating is that I have no real idea where to look, what to search for or how to plan an actual party! As a massive introvert, planning organised parties hasn’t really been something that I have done before, so this is all new territory.

If anyone has any hints or tips for planning this sort of thing, please do let me know! I think it’s about time I started joining some bride-to-be Facebook groups and asking some questions. I can’t be the only woman who has no clue what she’s doing!

Rachael is a 31 year old mum to 10 year old Luke and 5 year old Oscar. She lives in England and writes about family life, crafts, recipes, parenting wins(and fails), as well as travel, days out, fashion and living the frugal lifestyle.

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