How to Plan Out Your Wedding Reception Setup

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Your wedding reception setup is one of the most important things involved with planning your special day. It can add to the flow and the tone of your reception, so making sure everything fits seamlessly together should be a top priority. Be sure to keep these planning tips in mind so that you and your guests will be able to easily enjoy every aspect of your wedding reception, from the music to dancing and more.

The Stage

Aside from the bride and groom’s table, the stage is the focal point in the reception area, regardless of whether it’s built in or added. Guests should be able to see and hear the band and DJs from every seat and spot in the room so they can enjoy the music. Keep in mind that the stage location should still allow for easy movement.

  • Remember that both the size and location of the stage will impact the rest of the wedding reception setup
  • Stage decor, including lighting, is an important part of the overall appearance and mood of the reception hall. Make sure the entertainment company, band, or DJ you select is prepared to bring stage and dance floor lighting that will help create the mood you’ve envisioned.

1400371_220779061379592_936304940_oThe Dance Floor

Much of the fun that takes place at a wedding reception takes place on the dance floor. It’s also where some of the key moments, such as traditional dances enjoyed by the bride and groom and their parents will take place. If you want all of your guests to be able to enjoy themselves, there needs to be plenty of room for dancing and moving around.

  • In outdoor settings, portable dance floors add stability (especially for guests wearing heels)
  • The dance floor area should be situated someplace where guests don’t need to cross it to reach restrooms, the bar or a buffet. This cross traffic can lead to spills and other accidents.
  • Cozy dance floors are better. A floor that’s too large for the number of people present can create discomfort, with guests feeling that they’re in the spotlight. Too much empty space gives the impression that guests aren’t enjoying the entertainment.
  • If you have other entertainment planned, like photo booths or candy tables, keep them close enough to the dance floor that guests don’t have to feel like they’re leaving the party to go explore them. Keeping everything cohesive and centered around the music and performances will keep the celebration going. Crowds breed excitement! The idea of having a cigar roller outside, a photo booth in another room and a bar in another room may seem cool and extravagant, but it will spread out the energy of the party. If you can create an exciting environment in one room, the energy will be amazing.

Tables and Seating

Seating arrangements are very important, especially for sit-down receptions. This is especially so in cases where the bride and/or the groom have divorced parents, particularly when one or both of the parents have remarried.

  • Several smaller tables are more intimate and encourage friendly conversation
  • Keep place cards, and boxes or bags with favors, visible
  • When guests can reach a buffet, bar or candy bar easily, they will feel more relaxed and will have the desire to stay longer
  • The entertainers present should be seen by all guests. Having an ‘L’ shaped room, for example, couple dramatically lower the energy between the guests and entertainer.

Lighting and Audio

The lighting and audio are both important, yet many err on the side of having not enough of both. Outdoor receptions generally won’t require much lighting until nightfall. White or gold lights hung from the trees nearby create a bit of magic for everyone. In an indoor setting, a little less light near the dance floor is actually preferable. This encourages guests to get up and dance when they would otherwise feel self-conscious about being in everyone’s sight. If the dancefloor area has very low white lighting, but has some moving colored lights, it can greatly improve the amount of people on the dance floor. If people feel like they are being ‘stared at’ they will many times stay seated. Having an active band and moving lights will set your guests at ease and make them less inhibited.

Speakers are a necessity, but guests should still be able to have a conversation. The speakers should amplify the live wedding music being played, but a good sound system will be loud on the dance floor and lower in volume near the tables. Your entertainment company should be able to bring their sound system and set them up accordingly.

If you have a video presentation as part of the wedding, make sure that it is not inhibited by the speaker system. If there is a visual challenge, always move the video presentation. It’s better to move a video screen that will be used for only a few minutes than moving speakers that need proper placement for the dance floor all night long.

Assembling the best wedding reception setup is not difficult, but it does require some creativity and organization. Wedding guests will be pleased with the end results when care is taken to create a setting that everyone will enjoy. Contact Wiley Entertainment to seamlessly plan the musical entertainment, audio and lights for your wedding reception.

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