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27 Jul 2022 | By Heather Apse

Planning Your Belated Wedding Reception

You may be like many couples who are now planning a belated wedding reception in this post-pandemic wedding boom. Remarkably throughout the past couple of years, couples have thought outside the traditional box and have held their weddings wearing masks, scaled back in size or style, and even secretly eloped with plans of future receptions. 


We have no doubt that those of you that delayed your reception in 2020 or 2021 are over the moon to experience a poignant celebration of your marriage with your family and friends. While you may feel a bit uncertain about how to make all the details happen, we’ve put together some helpful tips on how to plan for a special belated wedding reception. 

Benefits to a Standalone Wedding Reception


Certainly, there is a genuine disappointment for couples and their families who were not able to hold their weddings during the pandemic. But, if you are now planning a postponed, less traditional, “anti-wedding,” there are benefits, including:


  • Potential cost-savings
  • More creative control
  • Less stress
  • More flexibility
  • Big-time fun possibilities
  • Lasting memories

Belated Wedding Reception To-Dos


1. Choose Tradition or Break the Rules


The first step in planning your postponed party is deciding the overall reception theme. You may be asking, “can I have a traditional reception after eloping?” Absolutely! You can incorporate as many of the classic wedding parts as you’d like including:


  • Receiving line
  • Cocktail hour
  • Wedding party entrance
  • Dinner
  • Toasts and speeches
  • First dances and dancing
  • Cake cutting
  • Bouquet and garter toss
  • Wedding couple departure


While it’s totally understandable that you might still desire a traditional reception that you missed out on after your vows, you may want to consider something a bit more unique or trendy in your post-elopement celebration. Since you’ve already said your vows, the reception you are planning has permission to break the rules. Now more than ever, you have an opportunity to truly create a party that’s entirely your own. You don’t have to create a formal reception and you can opt to forgo traditional pieces and add in your own flair. 


2. Find a Venue ASAP


Once you have an idea of what you envision for your postponed marriage celebration, you’ll want to look for a venue. While many are booking lots of events, they want to help. Consider the following when looking:

  • Location
  • Cost
  • Availability
  • Look and Feel (formal or informal)
  • Capacity
  • Amenities
  • Flexibility


EventUp is a leading directory of venues where you can search for your perfect venue to have an amazing party to celebrate your marriage. Use the advanced filters to narrow down search options. Make sure to do your research and ask questions in advance. Do walkthroughs of several venue options before making your decision.


3. Invite Your Guests Soon

Once you’ve determined your venue and details, you can send out your invitation. It is important especially now to provide as much notice as you can. We have learned that contingency planning is a requirement and your guests will be able to make plans and backup plans as needed. 

Also, make certain the wording of your invite is clear with perhaps a small message on where you eloped, when, and why. Your loved ones and friends will be thrilled to be invited to celebrate. There are lots of amazing post-elopement invitations available and wording ideas. Make sure your invitation sets the expectation and tone for your event.


4. Stay Flexible 

As a couple that has experienced a lot of change over the past few years and how difficult it has been for everyone to plan to be together, you know that you need to remain flexible. There still can be unexpected things that happen.

Be open-minded about what your day looks like. Your belated wedding reception does not have to fit into a certain mold. Get creative with things including the timing of the event. You could consider a brunch wedding, a brewery reception, or even a backyard barbecue. Your guests are more flexible too so don’t only consider weekend options.


5. Set Up a Wedding Website

Having a way to communicate with your guests is very helpful. A wedding website is great to be able to post some FAQs and to be able to keep them up-to-date with your wedding happenings. You can include all the information as to what they can expect at your celebration, what to wear, meal options, COVID protocols, and more.

Your website also will have other benefits, including a way to share special moments from your ceremony with photos, videos, and more.


6. Share the Love 

No doubt you are ready to gather with your loved ones and friends to share with them the joy of your marriage. Your guests feel the same in that they want to mark the special occasion. Some of your guests may feel sad to have missed your vows. Use elements of your ceremony to incorporate into your reception to make these guests feel included and honored. Consider displaying photos from your marriage or create a slideshow of your vows.  


Also, it is lovely to take the opportunity to honor your guests with a heartfelt speech. Thank them for sharing in your joy and that you are elated to be together in celebration.


Ready to plan your post-nuptial party?

Share your marriage with your loved ones and friends! Find the perfect venue using EventUp, the leading venue directory. It has more than 15,000 restaurants, hotels, and unique venues for you to select from to plan and enjoy your belated wedding reception. Start your venue search today!


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