5 Tips for Creating a Wedding Reception That Reflects YOU! – PART 1

Your wedding ceremony is over, and now it’s time for the celebration to begin. The reception is your chance to treat your guests to a celebration that is, well, YOU! It should reflect you – your style, culture, heritage, and traditions, including food, color, music, flowers and more.


If you’re looking for fun, creative and innovative ideas, we’ve got the scoop on how to make your celebration stand out, and leave your guests saying, “WOW – what a reception!” and “That was SO them!”

Location, location, location

The first step in planning your reception is to choose the right venue. This depends on the location of your ceremony, as well as your budget and the size of your reception.

If your ceremony and reception are going to be taking place at the same site (i.e., a hotel or lodge) like the Embassy Suites Hotel in Loveland or the Hilton Fort Collins Hotel, you need to consider what, exactly, your guests will do in the transition time, especially when you and your new spouse are having photos taken.

Will there be entertainment, music and food?  If so, where?

For a more intimate gathering, consider an outdoor reception, like the Preserve at Bingham Hill or the Tapestry House in LaPorte; an elegant chateau like Della Terra in Estes Park; or a rustic setting like Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch or the Aspen Lodge.

Many hotels also have beautiful patios, grassy areas, or verandas, making it easy to coordinate and transition from ceremony to reception. If you’re looking for contemporary flair, rent out a room in an art museum, hit the zoo, live it up at an amusement park, hop on a boat, or dance under the stars on a city rooftop like the Lincoln Center Rooftop Deck in Fort Collins.

After you’ve made your decision, use the location as the foundation for the remaining elements of your party.

Elegance and Charm

Some couples spend a lot of their budget to make their reception exude elegance, with exquisite floral arrangements, centerpieces, custom lighting, and more. For an up-scale reception in a hotel ballroom or country club, the formal black-tie affair is now back, complete with a four- or five-course meal.

The focus is on the food service complete with white-gloved waiters and dishes crafted to appeal to the eye as much as the palate. If you’re on a tight budget, but still want a classy reception, consider a morning ceremony followed by a champagne brunch and coffee bar with a Barista.

Themed Reception

Another trend now is a themed reception. This year, I performed at a Mardi Gras-themed wedding; two Russian weddings, complete with appropriate music, food, traditions and activities; a Vietnamese wedding; a Chinese wedding; a 1920s authentic themed wedding (with authentic music – not just big band 1940s tunes, but authentic 1920s selections); and a Hawaiian luau, and more.

I even had a “princess fairy-tale wedding” where the Bride had an amazing wedding cake that is every girl’s dream, and she named each table for a Disney princess, accented with princess movie theme music for her ceremony. It was exactly what she wanted for her “Princess Theme” wedding.

For something a little more casual and simple, try a Hawaiian luau. You can hand out plastic leis to the guests, play Hawaiian music, and serve traditional island food like roast pig, cocktails and tropical fruits. Other hit themes I’m seeing a lot of include: Victorian, Roaring 20s, 30s or 40s and even retro 80s themes – complete with narrow ties, crazy hair and hot pink!

There are no rules, just what you want based on what you like and what your vision is of a fun, memorable event.