Having a Reception Only Event? Here's What You Need to Know.

Have another ceremony

There is nothing that says you can’t have another wedding ceremony if you want. Since you have already had your legally binding ceremony, you don’t need to feel obligated to follow a traditional ceremony format (unless you want to). Depending on the length time that from your ceremony to your reception, you may want to treat this as an opportunity to renew your vows. Alternatively, you consider incorporating a new tradition like a unity candle or sand ceremony. You could also totally repeat the same ceremony from your earlier wedding!

Watch the OG

If you had a fantastic videographer at your earlier wedding ceremony, watching the wedding video to relive the ceremony from months prior can be a great way for guests who weren’t at the original ceremony to feel included. Do be cognizant of length! Guests probably won’t want to sit and watch for more than 15 to 20 minutes maximum. Keep it short and sweet!

Make your entrance grand!

Regardless of whether you are having a ceremony aspect to your day, do make sure your entrance to the reception a big moment. All your guests are there to celebrate you and I think it’s a good idea to make a special moment where all eyes are on you. Choose a time a bit after the reception is scheduled to start and have the DJ make an announcement and dance your way into the reception, have guests throw confetti, or whatever, but make it special.

Add a few more speeches

If you are skipping the ceremony, it gives you a little more time to play with which can mean that guests will tolerate a few more speeches. I’d still recommend trying to limit things to no longer than 30 minutes of sitting at a time. If you are doing a ceremony, make sure to give guests a break (maybe serve dinner) before having them sit back down for speeches.

Make a bigger deal out of the other traditions

If you are adding any traditional wedding reception moments, like first dances, parent dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc. use these to anchor your event. Without a timeline to guide your reception things can kind of lose steam throughout the evening (a good DJ can help with this too). Making a bigger deal of these moments throughout the evening can help reinvigorate your night and help it keep going strong!

Use your wedding photos as art

If you have some beautiful photos from your ceremony day, make sure to incorporate them into the reception. They can serve as decor or even as a guestbook. It’s another great way for guests to feel included in all aspects of your celebration and your new life together. As a bonus, you can use these prints as art in your home after your reception.

Don’t feel like you have to give a performance!

Even though a lot of my suggestions consisted of you making yourself the center of attention for a moment, at the end of the day it’s your celebration and you should do what makes you happy. Don’t feel like you need to give a performance to make it your wedding reception. You can have an event that feels more like a dinner party or even host your reception open house style, so people can drop by to say hi and congratulations whenever. It’s your day, so you’re the boss.

I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions or if there are any other topics you’d like me to talk about (especially for all the pandemic brides out there).