How To Plan A Perfect Wedding Reception

Pick Your Venue

Whether your preferred venue is a posh house, a casual marquee, or something alternative – each of these will shape the look and feel of your wedding in different ways….for example  footwear!  The bride in the second pic is wearing rather natty pink wellies.  To some extent it also depends on what your guests are used to.  A stately home stuffed with antiques is wonderful for some and intimidating for others.

Plan For Rain

We know UK weather can be a tad unpredictable.  Hopefully it won’t happen but a little bit of planning can relieve a heap of stress should the rain gods burp.  If your venue has a suitable indoor space – perfect!  But if not brollies will save the day and can make for lovely quirky photographs.  Your venue may have them already but if not they can be hired.  If you are having a marquee also ask about a PA system – rain on canvas makes a hell of  a noise and you want to be able to enjoy the speeches.


In Hindu tradition a wet wedding is lucky symbolising fertility and purification and the Italians say “Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunate” – wet bride, lucky bride.


NOTHING will lead to unhappy guests faster than empty bellies and dry throats!  Your wedding breakfast may be a culinary masterpiece but they can get fractious long before they get there.  Nibbles are the answer (and don’t forget to check the dietary needs of your guests – especially allergies which can be downright scary!).


Drinks should be both alcoholic and non alcoholic.  Champagne, Prosecco, Pimms (cold in the summer, hot in the winter) and maybe some mocktails (alcohol free cocktails).  Orange juice is nice but hardly inspiring – add grenadine, garnish with a slice and you have an alcohol free Tequila Sunrise, and in the winter hot spiced apple juice is yummy!


I don’t want to scare you but without entertainment this can happen….Your guests come in from the ceremony.  They look for a drink and someone they know and move to be with them.  They are joined by someone they don’t know.  A series of polite but mostly dull questions occur.  If you’ve ever been bored at a wedding this will be familiar.  Some guests will drift off  – when the photographer needs them they cannot be quickly found.  Your wedding needs ENTERTAINMENT.  It breaks the ice and keeps people near to where you want them.

In 2014 a survey of 1000 brides found that 88% wished they had spent more on entertainment.

What makes the best entertainment?

  • Something that gets people actively involved
  • Something and works for young and old
  • Something that works indoors or out
  • Something that is mobile and can move between guests
  • Something MEMORABLE.

You may say I am biased but after years working in the industry I can think of nothing that ticks all of these boxes better than magic.  If you don’t want magic, then at least have SOMETHING, but Red Hat Magic brings people together and leaves them excitedly chatting.  “Did that just happen”, “that’s impossible” “What?!!”  You can give yourself and your guests the kind of experience you’ve only seen on TV experiencing the impossible within your own hands.

Check list

  • Venue (and appropriate warnings about footwear if necessary)
  • Wet weather plan (and ask the photographer what their plan is too)
  • Canapes (check for food intolerances / allergies)
  • Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • Entertainment
  • Kick back, relax, enjoy.


Red Hat Magic Contact 

Red Hat Magic Videos

Red Hat Magic Testimonials


Recommendations and Acknowledgements

The first venue picture is Somerley on the Hampshire Dorset border.  Frightfully posh, a grade 2 stately home and the private residence of Lord and Lady Somerton.  It is lavish but not cheap.  They are also VERY accommodating – they even agreed to take out the rose garden at the request of a bride.  Ask for Alex Dollin-Webster.

The second venue photograph with the tractor is Groomes in Surrey.   Marquee weddings with views over the Hampshire countryside.  Pete Groomes is a lovely chap and will look after you.

The third “alternative wedding” photograph and also the one of the lady looking gobsmacked is taken by Scott Collier Photography,  You can read his top tips on hiring a wedding photographer here.

For canapes and all things food in Surrey Red Hat Magic is delighted to recommend White Truffle Events, they are the recommended caterers for Froyle Park (a Jacobean manor house in Hampshire)  and NorthBrook Park a grand manor house in Surrey.  If you would like a wedding with grand surroundings but Somerley is too far or out of budget then both are recommended.

For canapes and all things food in London Red Hat Magic is delighted to recommend Beth Pollock and her team.