Want to keep ‘the fun’ in your wedding? Listed below are 10 ways in which you can use to keep things fun and lively at your reception.
1. Make introductions at the rehearsal.
A wedding brings together two families and two sets of friends. The last thing a bride and groom want is for a big group of people who don’t know each other very well (or at all) to attempt awkward small talk while waiting for the bride and groom to make their way into the reception. A good way to solve this problem is to invite family and friends to the rehearsal dinner to break the ice BEFORE the big day. The second time they see each other will be like old home week for them.
2. Stick to your schedule
No one expects things to run with military precision but you don’t want to force your guests to idle around while you take your after ceremony pictures. This is where the cocktail hour comes in handy. Set up a lounge or shady courtyard for your guests to mingle and equip the area with snacks, drinks, plenty of of places to sit and even some background music to set the mood and keep the party atmosphere alive.
3. Don’t let your guests go hungry during the cocktail hour
Two words, hors d’oeuvres. Even if you plan on having a full meal at the reception, it’s a good idea to have a few snacks available for your guests to munch on during the cocktail hour. You don’t want them to get too hungry (read: cranky) or too drunk while waiting for you to finish up your pictures.
4. Plan an exit strategy
If you really want guests to be able to enjoy themselves at your reception, arrange for transportation to get them safely home afterward. Some couples choose to hold their reception in a hotel banquet hall and block off rooms for the guests (this will also help keep your guests around to the end of the reception) while others hire a shuttle service to run throughout the night. This consideration gives your guests the freedom to relax (read: drink) without worrying about getting home safely when the party is over.
5. Consider your venue
Of course, your budget will be a deciding factor in determining where you hold your reception but selecting an interesting reception site can go a long way toward keeping your guests entertained. Many museums rent out their exhibit areas for things such as weddings and zoos often have banquet areas with full view of the animals. Even in an otherwise bland reception space you can ‘dress up’ the decor with things such as accent lighting or a photo booth or a custom image projection.
6. Work you seating chart
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than being the one couple at a table where you don’t know anyone and everyone else went to high school together–particularly if you can see friends having a good time five tables away. A well thought out seating arrangement is an easy (and cheap) way to make sure your guests spend time with people they like and have similar interests. You may be even able to set them up with someone new!
7. Put a time limit on toasts
Yes. it’s fun to hear ‘stories’ about you from your friends and family but unless your friends and family are professional comedians, an overly long toast can go from sentimental to painful very quickly. Limit the amount of toasts to a few key members (Best Man, Maid of Honor, Mom or Dad.)
8. Bring in the …….clowns?
Remember the scary clown/magician from your eighth birthday party? Today’s speciality performers are nothing like that. The options for wedding (cocktail & dinner) entertainment span from an interactive DJ to balloon animal artists to belly dancers to singing waiters–these people are PROS at making sure weddings aren’t boring.
9. Think beyond wedding cake
Wedding cakes are still a staple but consider expanding the selection for those with a sweet tooth–we’re talking about a full dessert bar with everything from whoopie pies, truffles, cupcakes, candies and a chocolate fondue fountain. The dessert bar can double as your wedding favor by setting up plastic bags or boxes for your guests to take a snack for the ride home.
Planning a wedding can be stressful but when the day arrives, everyone will have more fun if you can overlook any little mishaps (and there’s always SOMETHING that doesn’t go quite according to the plan) and let loose. Think about it, do YOU have fun at parties where the host is constantly on edge? To avoid sabotaging your good mood, assign any last minute details to a bridesmaid, relative or your wedding planner—and designate a friend who, if they observe you getting stressed, will ply you with a cocktail or TWO.