Do It Yourself Buffet Wedding Reception Checklist

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Last year I flew home for my cousins wedding not sure what to expect. She wasn’t the church type and didn’t like to spend money on anything fancy. To my surprise, she planned the wedding and reception at a beautiful recreation hall in a park! The family all worked together to provide everything necessary to celebrate the big day. So this ‘Do It Yourself Buffet Wedding Reception Checklist’ is for anyone wanting to arrange the reception themselves…or perhaps to give to a good friend to do for you!

Do it yourself wedding reception

Wedding photo source: Eneka Stewart Photography

Do It Yourself Buffet Wedding Reception Checklist

Furniture – Tables

  • Dining tables for guests
  • Head table for the wedding party
  • Guest book and present table
  • Cake table
  • Drinks/bar table
  • Buffet table
  • Dessert table

Furniture – Other

  • Chairs for all the guests plus 10 extra (just in case)
  • Special chairs (Groom getting the garter, use for the hora in Jewish receptions, etc)
  • Coat rack, or a closet specifically for the coat check


  • Candles for dining tables and/or buffet tables
  • Lights (soft white indoor xmas lights look beautiful around the cake table and/or the head table)
  • Flowers and vases (center piece on the guest tables, use on other tables, etc.)
  • Banners/streamers
  • Balloons
  • Table Favors (candles, portrait picture of bride and groom, homemade preserves, bagged sweets in your wedding theme colors, lavender & herbs Provence sachets, etc.)
  • Chair coverings
  • Linens or table clothes
  • Others (disposable cameras)

Eating and Drinking Tools

  • Glassware for the head table (Any special glasses for the bride and groom?)
  • Champagne glasses for toasts
  • Glasses for drinks
  • Plastic cups (if kids are coming!)
  • Knife to cut the wedding cake
  • Cutlery (Knives, forks, spoons, dessert spoons)
  • Plates (main meal)
  • Plates (cake)
  • Bowls
  • Napkins
  • Salt-and-pepper shakers
  • Butter-and-butter dishes
  • Water jugs


  • Soft Drinks
  • Liquor
  • Mixers
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Coffee (creamer, milk, sugar)
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Cold Storage


  • Snacks #1
  • Snacks #2
  • Snacks #3
  • Snacks #4
  • Appetizers #1
  • Appetizers #2
  • Appetizers #3
  • Appetizers #4
  • Main meal #1
  • Main meal #2
  • Main meal #3
  • Main meal #4
  • Side Dish #1
  • Side Dish #2
  • Side Dish #3
  • Side Dish #4
  • Dessert #1
  • Dessert #2
  • Bread
  • Wedding cake

Food Tools and Miscellaneous

  • Plates
  • Serving spoons/tongs/forks
  • Extra Bowls
  • Pot holders
  • Coffee maker
  • Garbage bins
  • Bain Marie for keeping food hot
  • Fridge space for cold items


  • Music (Stereo, DJ and/or band)
  • Equipment necessary for entertainment
  • Fireworks

Hired Help/Jobs to Give Out

  • Person to set it up!
  • Guest organizer – someone to help the reception flow
  • Cooks
  • Kitchen help
  • Bartender
  • Clean-up crew
  • Gift organizer
  • Returner of rental equipment
  • Tip giver-outer (make sure that any hired help gets paid/tipped)

Anything missing on this ‘Do It Yourself Buffet Wedding Reception Checklist’? Leave me a comment below and I’ll update it!

If you know someone getting married and want to give them the top 10 wedding checklists, buy our book on Amazon: The Top 10 Wedding Planning Checklists: For Planning & Organizing Your Perfect Wedding

About Kim Brown

CheckListables Co-founder Kim Brown

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  2. great list thanks – here are some I have added

    • Plates etc for food to go on
    • Bain Marie for keeping food hot
    • Fridge space for cold items

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