An increasing number of couples are challenging outdated wedding traditions in favor of more personalized celebrations. A brief scroll through wedding ideas on any search engine will prove that modern-day weddings are much more than just the meal, the speeches, and the first dance. The following wedding reception tips will help inspire you to bring the most fun into your special day.
1. Think beyond the three course menu
Wedding food doesn’t always have to be a salad, an entrée, and a dessert. Choosing food that is tasty and unexpected will make for a memorable dining experience for your guests. Offering succulent barbeque, a local specialty dish, or even gourmet pizza are all crowd-pleasing options.
2. Create a DIY Buffet Table
Give foodie guests the chance to tailor their food to personal tastes with a do-it-yourself food or drink bar. Options could include specialized versions of the bride and groom’s favorite foods, or could match the general theme for the wedding. Consider food options that are easily customizable, such as ice cream sundaes or tacos, or drinks such as mimosas or sangria.
3. Hire unexpected entertainment
There’s no better way to surprise wedding guests than with an unconventional entertainment option. Hire a mariachi band, dueling pianos, or plan a firework display at the end of the night for the moments before your departure.
4. Set time guidelines for speeches
Kindly give a five-minute time limit to those who will be making a speech at your wedding. While many friends and family members could easily fill an hour with all their endearing anecdotes about the newlyweds, guests begin to lose interest after the first few minutes. Asking speech-givers to narrow it down to the best highlights will make for a concise and charming toast.
5. Curate a playlist for everyone
Many wedding reception tips will suggest the bride and groom select music for the reception that is meaningful to their relationship. However, to get your guests on the dance floor, include songs that remind you of your friendships or familial ties. You can also ask guests to make requests on your RSVP cards.
6. Test your skills and luck with games
Not everyone likes dancing at weddings, so cater to these guests by providing game options at your wedding. Quick and popular board and card games are best, such as Pictionary, Uno, or Connect Four. Having an outdoor wedding? Set up customized corn hole boards, giant Jenga, or horseshoes for your guests to face off.
7. Provide activity bags for kids
To keep parents happy and kids occupied, create small activity packs to hand out to your younger guests at the beginning of the night. These can include coloring pages, customized Mad Libs-style or I Spy games, or small toys like bubbles, glow sticks, or Legos.
8. Opt for a Photobooth over a photographer
Many couples splurge on all-day photography packages to ensure every moment of their wedding is documented professionally. However, many reception guests will have more fun taking their own photos with a Photobooth. Props and costumes allow guests to relax around the camera to better capture the moment.
9. Challenge your guests to a game of trivia
Avoid any lull between the meal and dancing with a trivia game hosted by the bride and groom. Questions can be about the happy couple and their interests, with the option to add in bonus questions about family members and members of the bridal party.
10. Encourage meaningful guestbook entries
Create a unique guestbook to make the most of your friends’ and family’s thoughtfulness. Provide a Polaroid camera for guests to include a photo of themselves along with a note, or ask for “Bucket List” activity suggestions for the newlyweds.
11. Add extra comforts to an outdoor wedding
Outdoor weddings are beautiful, but weather can always be unpredictable. Make sure you are prepared for any weather scenario by offering items such as blankets and umbrellas at your outdoor wedding. Many wedding rentals, such as tents and marquees, can make an outdoor wedding more comfortable, regardless of hot, cold, or rainy weather.
12. Arrange a low-key lounge area
Give guests a quiet space to relax amid all the festivities by creating a comfy lounge area tucked away from the dance floor action. Wedding rentals can help achieve the lounge look with comfy plush chairs, couches, and a bit of mood lighting.
13. Design an Insta-worthy wedding
Weddings are a popular place for Instagram users to snap photos. Include a stunning entryway or a lush greenery backdrop to provide the optimum background for these smartphone photographers.
14. Organize the reception space thoughtfully
Consider how guests will enter and move within the space when selecting your table layout. Cocktail tables can be added by the bar for smaller groups to gather, and coffee and snack areas will be particularly popular for those who stay late into the evening.
15. Allow yourself to skip traditions
Ultimately your wedding day is a celebration of you and your other half, and the beautiful life you are making together. If there are traditions you feel uncomfortable with, like a garter or bouquet toss, don’t force yourself to fit into the mold. By allowing yourself to leave your own personal mark, your special day will be an unforgettable occasion for everyone who is sharing this moment with you.
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