Tag Archives: wedding reception

Terry & Kristi's Real Wedding
Terry & Kristi's Real Wedding - Part 3

Photos Courtesy of Kendra Elizabeth Photography and Terry & Kristi's Family

The Ceremony Venue

My husband and I got married on June 16th, 2012, at the church where we are members. We got to know the pastor very well through marriage counseling. He is awesome! He took the time to tailor our ceremony to our personalities and the challenges we may have in our relationship. It was perfect. My only regret is not having it videotaped.

Our church has a gorgeous, ornamental alter and beautiful stained glass windows, so we didn’t feel the need to decorate a lot. We rented candelabras, white bows and ivy from the church to decorate the ends of the pews, which the church’s wedding coordinator’s took care of.

The Reception Venue

We had our reception at Farmamerica, a venue dedicated to preserving a bit of Minnesota’s farm history. The land is home to a 1850s farm, a 1930s farm, a country church and a schoolhouse. These made great backdrops for our outdoor photos. Our reception was in the Minnesota Agricultural Interpretive Center (a.k.a. visitor’s center). The tables and dance floor were set up in the ballroom. The guest book table, cake table, food and bar were set up just outside the ballroom.

How We Saved

1. When choosing wedding vendors, we did two things to help keep prices low. We used local vendors as much as possible, and we used our connections for the rest. All of our wedding vendors were wonderful.

2. I purchased my dress from a store that includes alterations in the price of the dress. I chose a dress that fit my personality and figure, at a cost that was much lower than most dresses ($671).

3. We are members at the church where we had our ceremony, and that made it very affordable. We paid $140 for the ceremony, wedding coordinators, the pastor and the decorations for the church. We did hire a musician, but she was also a member of the church and gave us a very good price.

4. We chose the local bakery for our cake, and found out she does catering, too. We had a buffet to avoid additional costs of table service. We chose plastic plates, plastic silverware and paper napkins to keep prices low. We bought them online to save even more money. We chose a small, decorated cake for display and sheet cakes for our guests.

5. The caterer’s mother was the local florist, so the caterer recommended decorating the cake with fresh flowers to match our bouquets (super cheap). Our bouquets included inexpensive flowers, such as gerbera daisies, alstroemeria, mini carnations and a variety of greens.

6. Our reception venue did not have a liquor license, so we brought in liquor and beer ourselves. This allowed us to offer unlimited free drinks to our guests. We used plastic cups for the drinks and can coolers, which doubled as favors, to keep the beer cold. The venue had a portable bar we could rent, which had unlimited soda.

7. My stepdaughter works part-time for a DJ. Naturally, she asked him to DJ the dance at our wedding. He also brought the pink up-lighting we used to enhance the decorations.

8. My husband and I set a budget before we started planning and agreed to stick to it, but we both chose one thing that was most important to us to splurge on. That happened to be photography. We felt it was important to have quality pictures to remember our wedding day. We interviewed ten different photographers, but the ones we liked were out of our price range. My sister’s friend, who is a photographer herself, helped us out. She found us five different photographers who were available on our wedding day in our price range. She recommended one in particular, which is the person we chose. Her price was excellent for two photographers, unlimited time and rights to reproduce the images.

So there you have it.  All the things we did to have a beautiful wedding on a $15,000 budget. Feel free to comment!  We’re more than happy to answer your questions.

Photos Courtesy of Kendra Elizabeth Photography and Terry & Kristi’s Family.

Wedding Reception Place Card Table
Wedding Planning Checklist: Section 6: Part 5

Wedding Reception Place Card Table

As you finalize your wedding guest list, start thinking about whether you want to create a seating plan for your reception. You might decide to have a seating plan for the entire reception, or you might keep it simple and arrange just a few important tables.

Follow these 10 steps to get started.

1. Get a copy of the reception room floor plan.

2. Think through the flow of the room — where the head table will be, the cake table, buffet tables, the dance floor, etc.

3. Decide what shape and size of tables will fit best with the room and desired flow.

4. Now begin a seating chart. You can begin arranging tables right away. Start assigning seats as soon as you start receiving RSVPs. Check out WeddingWire’s seating chart tool for an easy way to arrange your reception.

5. Place the head table front and center, preferably on a raised surface for best visibility. Decide who will be at the head table, the most popular choice being the bride, groom and wedding party.

6. Seat the ring bearer or flower girl with their family for best behavior. All children should be seated with their families even if you have a kids’ activities table. Children can wander to the activities area when needed or you can provide activities packs at their tables.

7. Work your way out. Immediate family should be placed closest to the head table. You can place parents and grandparents together or divide them by family. If parents are divorced, feel free to place them at separate tables with other family.

8. Begin to fill in with extended family and friends. Mix people by interest and relationships to promote a more enjoyable time. We do not recommend an entire table dedicated to “leftover” people. Find a spot for each person at tables that are very social or easy going in an effort to make them most comfortable.

9. Unsure of how things are laid out? Consult your mom or your groom’s mother. They may have some good ideas and will be happy to help in the wedding planning.

10. See below for ways to direct guests to their proper seating!

Wedding Reception Place Cards

5 Ways to Direct Your Guests

1. Create a sign that explains seating is open and to grab a chair next to anyone. Place that sign at the reception entrance.

2. Provide escort cards at the reception entrance to direct guests to the proper tables, but leave the actual table seating open for guests to choose.

3. Provide escort cards to direct guests to the proper tables and place cards at each place setting to direct guests to their exact seat.

4. Create a posted seating chart for guests to reference as they enter the reception instead of using escort cards. Still provide table numbers at each table, but place cards are optional.

5. TIP: Do something fun with the table number cards and/or place cards! Use themes instead of numbers to name each table. Ideas include sports teams, gemstones, TV shows, Disney characters, hobbies, “I love you” in different languages, etc. Use the back of your place cards for table topics or for something a little more practical like listing your newly married address for guests to keep.

Check back Thursday for creative DIY place card ideas and more!