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The Top 20 Reception Ideas

Four Flops to Avoid

1. Flame throwers, sword dancers, trapeze artists, and even tribal drummers all send a similar message: You’re trying too hard (and your strain for fun is expensive). There’s a fine line between creative and campy, so tread lightly. A choreographed first dance? Okay. Belly dancers? Only if they’re your relatives and your heritage demands it.

2. Nothing says the party’s over like a roaring fire. Use bottom-heavy containers for candles, and run a fire check beforehand to remove rogue branches, paper products (such as menus), or other items that may ignite. Keep candles out of unattended bathrooms and away from the aisle, lest your gown get speckled in hot wax—or go up in a blaze.

3. An outdoor reception can be stunning, but forgetting to do proper critter diligence can spell disaster. Bees can drill holes into fondant icing; raccoons and sundry less-cute rodents can ruin décor. Mosquitoes and horseflies are the most common—and the worst. Don’t forget to place unscented bug spray in the bathrooms.

4. Fight the temptation to treat the wait staff at your reception like another element to shoehorn into your party’s “theme.” Putting them in costumes pushes your reception into the scary territory of a Disney cruise. No lederhosen, no powdered wigs, no cigarette girls. And above all, no animal disguises.

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