Something tends to happen when big events are being planned… Somehow, everyone everywhere suddenly has very important opinions or tips for you.
“Oh, you’re planning a reception? My cousin’s best friend’s great aunt wanted me to tell you that you should seat everyone based on their height!”
(We know you won’t do this, but still, don’t)
A huge part of planning a big event is listening to the wisdom of those who have already done it, but that can be super exhausting. And frankly, not everyone gives awesome advice!
So, we have compiled a list of amazing quinceanera reception tips for planning the fiesta of your dreams. You can rest assured, these tips are tried and true!
Your Guest List Matters
You can’t make any serious decisions about your reception until you have your guest list estimate. If you’re having a formal sit-down dinner, multiply your number of guests by 25 or 30 to find the square feet needed for your reception venue. While that seems like a huge amount of space, it helps to account for all the space that the chairs and tables will take up. Remember that not everyone will RSVP (there’s always at least one) and you’ll need to make sure you have enough room for them too.
Ask for Recommendations
One of our favorite things about the event world is that everyone is connected. When you find the reception venue that you love, ask them if they have recommendations for caterers, entertainers, or other vendors you might need. Perhaps ask your photographer if she has any florists whose floral arrangements she loves!
We Came for the Food
We have to be honest with you, while your guests are truly excited for you on your big day, they are also truly hungry. One of the most memorable parts of your event will be the food. If it comes down to some hard choices, consider making more room in your budget for a caterer you really love; your guests will thank you!
Your music sets the tone at your event. Take some time beforehand to make a list of your “Must Plays” and “Do Not Plays” to give to your DJ. This is most easily done by keeping a list somewhere, like on your phone, and slowly adding to it over time. If you’re out somewhere and you hear a song you really love (or hate) you can quickly add it to your list.
Reuse Your Decor
It’s so simple, we can’t believe more people don’t do this. You can save a bit of money (and sanity) by reusing some of the decorations from your ceremony at your reception. Think of what decorations you are planning to use at your ceremony. Maybe a beautiful garland, fresh flowers, lanterns, or bows? Can these be used at your reception as well? If planning a wedding, you might also consider reusing decorations from other events, such as your engagement party or bridal shower.
One of the best ways we have seen this implemented is by taking the garland from the ceremony arch and placing it on the head table at the reception! (Pictured below.) Many people also place vases with water on the head table so that the bouquets can be placed in them at the beginning of the reception.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Some venues are willing to give you a little flexibility with their prices or packages. Can’t make your schedule for the day to line up perfectly? Don’t be afraid to ask for the extra half hour of cocktails that you need. In many instances, vendors will be willing to make changes to the contract when it comes down to getting you to sign that dotted line!
Your favors should be one of your relatively stress-free details. Choose something that can be made and put together at least a few days in advance. At the reception, have them placed on the tables in advance, one at each place setting, to make sure people don’t take extras.
Include Fun Extras
You and your guests are here to have fun! If you have room in your budget, include a few little extra things to entertain them. This could be a photo booth, a dance-off contest, or even a game area for non-dancers! Use this as a chance to express yourself and set your unique event aside from others.
Have Your Tips Ready
Decide in advance how much you will tip your vendors and have their tips ready. Place the cash for each vendor in an individual, labeled envelope and put someone responsible in charge of them– our favorite go-to people for this are our parents. Include one extra tip envelope with cash in it that can be added to the others if desired. It’s important to use cash in these envelopes in case anything goes wrong (or right!) the day of and you need to adjust your tip accordingly. For example, if your DJ is a no-show, you can’t hand the fill-in DJ a tip check that’s already been made out to someone else.
Schedule Your Setup
The day of your event, you will have what seems like a million people asking you a million questions about where to be and when to set up. Use our Day-Of Organizer to keep track of alllllll the details! You will feel so much better when you can see all the times, tasks, and assignments laid out in front of you.
Pack It Up
The last thing you need to worry about on your big day is remembering to grab the tennis shoes you walked into your venue with! Designate someone to pack up your personal belongings as well as any cards or gifts you received. You can ask them to do this close to the end of the night and to place your things in your car for you.
Decide on a Children’s Policy
*Disclaimer, this is more relevant for a wedding reception, but might still be considered useful for other events.
It is important to make a choice here and be consistent with it. If you don’t want every relative bringing along their children to your reception, that’s totally fine. After all, it is your day! However, you will see the more unpleasant side of your guests come out if you start playing favorites and allow some friends to bring children but not others. You have four choices: You can welcome all children at your event; you can decide to have an “adults only” event; you can include children of immediate family only; or, you can hire a child care service to provide day care either at the reception space, in a hotel room or at a family member’s home.
Be Realistic With Your Time
When it comes down to it, you will not be able to do everything yourself. More likely than not, you won’t have time to decorate your car the day of, or bake all your cookie favors a few days before the event. Be realistic about what you need, what you’re capable of, and most importantly: delegate! This is especially crucial when it comes to the reception decor because more often than not, it needs to be done the day of. No one expects you to be setting up lights and tulle while you’re rocking your beautiful dress on the big day! Find a few people you can trust and delegate these important tasks to them.
Start Your Seating Chart Early
Don’t wait until the last week to start your seating chart; you will have so many other things to do that week! As you begin to receive RSVPs, start placing people on your seating chart. Remember, it can always be changed! If you are a visual person, this will help you decide where to place people ultimately. Make sure not to overcrowd the tables and to leave a few empty spaces for those pesky last-minute RSVP-ers.
And while we are on the topic, here is a bonus tip: Don’t seat your elderly guests next to the band or DJ. Your Grandmas and Grandpas should be seated near the head table, but away from speakers that will make things even harder for them to hear.
Keep Your Guests in the Loop
When you start your planning, you will notice that the recommendation for your stationery budget might be way higher than anticipated. That is because those paper products such as place cards, menus, and programs help your guests understand what is going on. It’s frustrating to be at an event and not know what’s going to happen next or where you are supposed to be. Make sure you use the appropriate amount of event stationery to keep your guests in the know.