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At Home Reception (AHR) Do's and Don'ts

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Originally Posted by Brenners View Post

Ok, I am mainly focusing on the DW right now, however, I know I have to also plan an AHR as most people won't be able to attend or won't be invited (we are keeping the DW small) to the DW.  I have a few questions for those currently planning or those who have recently held an AHR:


1.  Budget.  What amount are you looking to spend since you will have just spent quite a bit of money on your DW?  Did you include this in your overall wedding budget?


2.  Type.  What kind of AHR are you planning?  Is it formal or informal?  How long will it last?  Will you also have a dance after the reception?


3.  When.  How long after your DW are you planning the AHR?


4.  Food.  Are you having a buffet or a formal sit down dinner?


5.  Clothes.  What are you wearing to your AHR?  Your wedding day attire or something else entirely?


6.  Invitations.  Formal or informal invitations?  We are thinking about having it in the small town where I grew up and many people just put an announcement in the local paper for people to attend but then it is difficult to determine the amount of food you need.


7.  Photographer.  Are you hiring a professional photographer for the day?


8.  Cake.  Are you having a traditional wedding cake for the AHR?


9.  Decorations.  What kinds of decorations are you having for your AHR? 


10.  DW Photos.  Are you going to have these on display and if so, how?


That is all I can think of for now.  If anyone else has any questions, then please feel free to add.  Any advice is helpful.

Budget - we're doing a 3 - 3.5k budget for this and 3k will be provided by my FFIL for the AHR

It's going to be somewhat informal we're doing it on a Saturday afternoon to keep costs down a bit.  It's at a wonderful beautiful location and will be a hor'dourve and cocktail reception.  It's mostly mingling we are not going to be re-doing dances or anything like that...but we will have cake!


The AHR is scheduled for 7 weeks after our wedding.  This is because I should have all our pics back 6 weeks after and they will serve as majority of our decor.  I'm going to place a large picture that I will have printed on thick boarding on an eisel when guests first enter our venue neck to the gift table.  There will then be a vintage style designed sign with different arrows directing guests to the photobooth, cocktails, etc.


We plan on wearing different clothes I'm wearing a white long dress from Nordstrom so I'm still somewhat bride looking.   We are going to put on our wedding attire right before the event begins to have pictures taken with grandparents and my sister who won't be at the wedding.  The photographers that did our e-pics will be there for our AHR.


I'm doing a vintage theme for the AHR so I designed invites that are playbill style.  We're also doing a DIY photobooth with fabric and making it vintage looking as well, and my cake is going to have edible vintage buttons on it.  I'm using real touch bouquets and centerpieces at the wedding so I will re-use these for the AHR.  Since we are doing a cocktail reception we will only have 4 tables and 4 high-top tables set up.  I'm going to rent tablecloths in our colors which are green and orange.


Hope this helps a little.

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1.  Budget.  About $3,500 and it is included in our overall "wedding" budget


2.  Type.  Formal, but no sit down dinner.  Passed hor d'hourves, open bar, dancing.  No DJ though, we'll be bringing our own music/system.


3.  When.  2 months after


4.  Food.  Heavy appetizers


5.  Clothes.  My wedding gown... why not right!


6.  Invitations.  Formal... sending them out right before our Mexico wedding (2 months before AHR)


7.  Photographer.  Nope.  But I might change my mind on that...


8.  Cake.  Nope.  Rasberry tarts and other assorted desserts!


9.  Decorations.  Lots of candles!  Our venue is already so gorgeous so it won't need much.


10.  DW Photos.  Yes!  Not sure how yet... maybe a photo book and a few select pictures in nice frames?

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We are having our AHR one week after we return from our DW/honeymoon.


Type:  Ours will not beach tacky but a nice/pretty beachy theme.  The location is already beautifully decorated so there isn't a ton for us to do except centerpieces which I am thrilled about and I love our venue! 


Food :  Fruit, veggies, cold appetizers, punch, tea, beer, wine and cash bar.

            It will start at 7pm so most people will have eaten dinner prior to arriving.


We will be wearing our wedding attire.


We are having a DJ.  Fiance definitely wants a party because most people are not traveling with us.  Thinking 150 people for AHR.


Invitations - Formal.  Were sent out in Feb for our April 30th AHR with a RSVP date of 3/29.  Have to have everything planned and ready to go before we leave for Jamaica on 4/13 since we will only have one week after we return to finish up any loose ends.


Cake - Traditional classy beach cake with a grooms cake as well.


Photographer - Unsure right now as of now.  May just have someone responsible for taking pics for a period of time.


Decorations - candles, candles and more candles.  Palm tree leaves, Sand, Shells and DW pictures.  We may show a video of the wedding ceremony early on and then switch over to a slide show.



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We are having our AHR two months after our DW and we're doing things a bit differently.  My FI background is West Indian so we are doing a traditional Indian wedding which my FI's parents are generously putting on for us, then the following day we are doing a full-blown AHR for approximately 225 guests.  This really was never our intention but once we started planning the AHR we figured if we were going to do it, might as well do it right.  We're keeping with a beach theme and we'll project our wedding photos from the DW from a projector.  Our DW is pretty small, only 17 people, so there are a lot of friends and family who really want the "wedding" experience - which we're cool with!


1.  Budget:  Rather not say.


2.  Type:  Formal with a sit down Buffet dinner.


3.  When:  2 months after (August Long Weekend)


4.  Food:  West Indian Food (to shake things up a bit and to pay homage to my FI background!)


5.  Clothes:  My wedding dress and I'm so excited to wear it again!!  And my FI is renting a suit.


6.  Invitations:  Went with a Formal Indian invitation because of the Indian Ceremony and they were sent out at the end of February.


7.  Photographer:  Yes! And he's fantastic and will be doing both the Indian ceremony and the reception.


8.  Cake:  Traditional with a beach theme.


9.  Decorations: Seashells, starfish and candles.


10.  DW Photos:  We're doing a slideshow with all sorts of pictures of us and we'll incorporate our DW photos into it!

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1. We'll probably spend around $15,000 and yes we included this in our budget. 

2. Ours is more formal, but is also a cocktail party.  We are having it at this great venue that has both table seating as well as lounge furniture, so it's not traditional in the sense that our guests will be seated all at tables.   We'll have a DJ, and it will last from 7pm until our last guest leaves:)

3.  Ours is 19 days after we return from Maui.  We're eloping (although everyone knows about it) so we wanted to celebrate closer to our actual wedding date.

4.  We're having several food stations throughout the venue, as well as a candy buffet and open bar.

5.  I'm wearing my dress, and he plans to wear a dark suit with this great purple tie we found.  I cannot wait to wear my AHR shoes!!!  He's wearing a linen suit and flip flops for our beach wedding.

6.  We sent out invites that were semi-formal (if that makes sense).  They didn't have an inner envelope.

7.  We did hire a professional photographer for 5 hours that evening.  She'll start with pics of us an hour before we'll arrive to our AHR.
8.  Our cake will be traditional....and he's picking it out.  I'm not a cake lover and he has a gigantic sweet tooth.  I do plan to surprise him with a groom's cake though.

9.  Since our venue is pretty modern and cool, it doesn't need tons of decor to tie in with our theme.  But, I did purchase some poms from etsy in our colors that will be hanging from the open ceiling randomly.  We also will have flowers and candles on each table and seating area.  The venue already has string lights outside on it's patio so we'll use those.

10.  We plan to have a slideshow of our DW wedding pics going on repeat all night on a larger laptop screen, and then plan to formally show a slideshow that our videographer will put together including our vows, wedding, and TTD pics.



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I am getting some ideas for our AHR.  Our budget is going to be on the smaller side which will be easy for us to accomplish given that it will be in my hometown which is pretty small so prices will be on the lower end.  Still not sure about wearing my dress though but we will see...

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Hey! we are doing our reception a couple weeks after getting back. It gives everyone a break including us.


1. Budget- 4,000$ - we are actually paying this ourselves. Both of our parents are giving us money and we want to use that to go all out in Mexico.

2. Type- Formal. Dinner, dancing, speeches

3. When- Few weeks after getting back, hopefully we will still have our tans...lol

4.Food- we are doing dinner buffet style, gives people the choice of variety of foods

5.Clothes-  i want to wear my dress and it will also give everyone an opportunity to see me in my dress :)

6.Invitations- I am going to be sending them out and requesting RSVP 2 months prior to us leaving for the DW

7.Photography- No....there will be family members with their cameras

8.Cake- I am actually going to go with cupcakes...super cute :)

9. Decorations- most likely being around the same as I will have in Mexico- candles, lights etc

10. DW Photos- Absolutley!!! We are thinking of having a slideshow running through the entire reception

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