Receptions advice from the experts: Melissa Nguyen from Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre shares her top tips


Planning a reception sounds like putting together one incredible party with all the things you love… but the reality is that it can quickly become a chore. If you’re staring at your Pinterest board and don’t know where to begin, we’ve got your back. To get you inspired and feeling on top of things, we turned to the experts and asked Melissa Nguyen, event planning manager at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre for her top tips…


Know your budget

Make sure you know your budget for the reception. This. Cannot. Be Stressed. Enough.

Pick those brains

Make use of the knowledge of your venue’s event planner – in most cases they will have seen and organised a lot of weddings and will know exactly what works… and what might be challenging. Keep an ongoing list of questions for your event planner, so when you next talk to them you don’t forget anything.

Look at the Ts&Cs

Check with your venue regarding their terms and conditions, and don’t make any assumptions about what they allow before hiring or buying items from external suppliers. Whether you’re having candles or ice-sculptures, your venue might have a policy against something, so ask in advance.


Eat up!

Try to do a menu tasting at your venue at least one month before the big day. This is also your chance to enjoy the meal as you might not sit down to eat much on the night! And don’t forget to ask your guests if they have any dietary requirements, and be sure to provide this list to your venue a few days prior to the reception.

Be realistic with the run-sheet

Ask your venue how long they need to serve and clear courses, as this will probably affect the flow of the reception. You won’t want staff clearing plates during a main speech.

Ensure everyone’s in the loop

Be sure to provide your event planner with all your suppliers’ contact details, especially their mobile phone numbers. So if the wedding cake doesn’t get delivered or the band doesn’t turn up, you can leave it up to them to sort things out. Ditto, provide all your suppliers with your event planner’s number. And make sure everyone – especially your photographer, band and DJ – knows the exact address of your reception (including the room name, if applicable).


Keep your venue up to date with all entertainment

Whether you’re expecting photo booths or a traditional dance performance, your venue should be clued up on all the important things happening on the day. Help them help you.

Make your MC the go-to person

Make sure your MC has a copy of your even order and running sheet in advance, and knows your plans for the reception as well as you do. They should know all the answers, so your event planner can ask them, and not bother you on your special day. Have your MC arrive roughly half an hour before your guests, so they can familiarise themselves with the sound system, and get up to speed re: any special instructions and the location of bathrooms/smoking areas etc.

Want more? Take a look at the 100 questions you should ask your would-be wedding venue

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