22 Apr 2021 Admin

Small Wedding Reception Ideas - Post Lockdown

It’s been a long time coming but finally, Scotland is coming out of lockdown and with Covid-19 restrictions easing, from the 26th of April brides and grooms can finally celebrate their big day with more than just a handful of people. From the 26th of April, 50 people will be able to attend a wedding ceremony and reception with a government intention of further increasing the permitted number of people to 100 from early June. Finally, friends and family will be able to party in person and not have to participate remotely, from their computer screens.
So how do you make the most of a wedding reception for 50 people? However you look at it, 50 people is far better than what we’ve been allowed to have in recent months and a wedding reception is a fantastic excuse to party! And boy do we need it.

This will (hopefully) be the only wedding you have so you will want to make the most of it, especially under the circumstances. Your wedding, subsequent reception and party are all about you. They should reflect your personality, and make it a night to remember for yourself and for your guests.

Creating the right atmosphere - especially with a restricted amount of people - can easily be achieved through a mix of different elements but the first thing you need to do is have a good look at the venue, both during the day and at the time of night you’ll be throwing your wedding party. If you’re allowed, pay a quick visit to someone else’s evening reception, not only to see the venue in action but also to steal some good ideas.

Here are our top tips for the best ways to create the right atmosphere at your post-lockdown wedding reception

1. Find the Right Venue

To create the right atmosphere for a party of 50, you must get the venue right. Home weddings have been gaining  popularity over the last year (for obvious reasons), so if you have a garden, there is nothing stopping you from creating a truly magical venue right where your heart is - at home. If you don’t have a bit of green space, you can try to beg, borrow and steal a garden from someone in your family. With precious little family time being had over the difficult months of full Covid lockdown, relatives might be more than willing to host your big day in their backyard. And with all the gardening going on over months spent at home, your venue is sure to be immaculate!

If you’re keen to hire a wedding venue for your event, you’re in luck too - Scotland has some of the most spectacular wedding venues, big and small - so you will be spoiled for choice. It’s important to consider the size of the space; nothing ruins the atmosphere like the feeling that the party is rattling around in a huge space. It’s far better to keep it small and intimate and to make sure that your guests have the optimal setting for socialising. Remember, we might all be a bit out of practice, having not interacted with large groups of people for some time, so try to make it as easy and comfortable as possible for everyone to have a good time!

2. Decorate the Venue Like a Pro

Now that you’ve chosen your wedding space, it’s time to decorate it. If you’ve booked a wedding venue rather than having it at home, check out the furniture and décor provided as part of your wedding package. Chances are you’ll be supplied with basic tables and dining chairs and not much else. You may want to consider replacing, or at least supplementing the furniture provision with club-style sofas and low tables, or brightly coloured bar stools, or even creating a chill-out area with cushions and armchairs. If the venue doesn’t have what you need and you can’t borrow it, you should look into furniture hire.

Remember to use the space wisely; cramming loads of furniture or props into the room / garden risks overwhelming the available area so, instead, decorate the venue with things you would already have at your wedding. Food and beverages, flowers, candles, place settings and signage can all be used as decorations as well as fulfilling their practical purpose. Small touches like fairy lights, lanterns, ribbons and photographs add a beautiful and personal touch to the decor and can make your venue look magical. Don’t overdo it - it’s tempting trust us - but resist the temptation to go overboard. Keep it simple and your reception will be chic and cheerful; exactly what you want for a great atmosphere.

3. Music, Music and More Music


Live wedding bands, DJs and entertainers in Scotland have been through some horrendous times in the last year. One of the things the Covid-19 restrictions have thrown into sharp perspective is just how important live music is to all of us. With no festivals, live music events, club nights or theatre productions able to go ahead, people have been starved of music - but the famine will hopefully end soon.

Music and entertainment have the potential to make or break your party atmosphere and time and effort needs to be spent to make sure you get the right music provision for you. After such a long time not seeing your family and friends and having nothing to celebrate, the event may be bitter-sweet so be prepared to pre-empt any awkward quiet moments with tactful background music and, government-mandated guidelines permitting, some party music in the evening.

Whether you want a clubland DJ, a string quartet, or a ceilidh band, make sure you’re complying with Covid-19 restrictions in your area. Ask around for recommendations, have a look at HD videos on the band’s website, and go to see the live wedding band if possible to confirm that they are the music professionals for you. There’s nothing like a cheesy DJ to spoil the night for you and your guests.

4. Light It Up

Don’t underestimate the importance of lighting - it’s called mood lighting for a reason! The benefit of having an evening party is that you won’t be contending with natural light and can create any sort of atmosphere you want. Popular choices for evening wedding receptions are light-up freestanding letters, fake fire lights, and strings of fairy lights. Lighting can be toned up or down to suit as the night progresses, and is brilliant for banishing the gloomy corners that some event venues seem to have. Again, if the venue doesn’t have what you need, then hire it!

5. Inject some fun


Parties are meant to be fun so add some with entertaining items. Photo booths with props such as brightly coloured wigs and inflatable musical instruments are extremely popular for example. Just set it up and watch your guests create entertaining photos for themselves and for your wedding album. Fairground rides and carnival-style sideshows are brilliant for evening garden parties, and don’t be afraid to set up traditional party games. Pin the Tail on the Donkey, with a bit of an imaginative twist, is fun for all ages.

Consider the guests coming to celebrate with you; what are the age groups, what do they like, what will put them off? Of course, the day is about the bride and groom but if you make the error of not factoring the guests into your plans, the atmosphere will be at risk of plummeting and energy levels will drop along with it. Try to incorporate little elements into your big day that will help keep the mood uplifted and the party going all night.

Small wedding receptions can be just as spectacular - if not more - as large-scale events. With a now respectable 50 people in the wedding party you can create a fantastic celebratory atmosphere and still dedicate valuable, one-to-one time to all of your guests - something that’s far more difficult to achieve with a large number of guests.

Creating the right atmosphere is about making the party suit you, your personality and the people coming to celebrate with you. Consider your guests, let your personality shine through and add those special touches that make all the difference - that formula will undoubtedly create magic on your big day and you’ll have the evening reception that you and your guests will remember for a long time.