After the beautiful ceremony, the reception is the time to officially celebrate the newlyweds and have some fun. Typically, after the formalities and the meal, the band or DJ starts the music and most people head out to the dance floor. That’s all fine and dandy, but I’m here to say that dancing isn’t the be-all-end-all of reception activities. If you want to make sure your guests are entertained and engaged throughout (and the kids are occupied), why not consider something new?
Reception Activities to Make it Memorable
1. Games for the Bride & Groom:
In the time leading up to or during the feast, it could be fun to put the newlyweds on the spot for some laughs and hijinks. Games such as the common “Shoe Game” or “Guess the Family Member” are a way for the guests to get to know the host families and provide some good-natured mirth. Other popular games are “Would you Rather?” or “The Voting Game.”
2. Beyond the Band:
You may have a stage at your reception venue, so use it. Hire a comedian to keep the guests entertained during dinner or to emcee the festivities. If you don’t mind your ears being assailed by Aunt Edna during her uncouth rendition of “It’s Raining Men,” karaoke can be a hilarious activity and a great way to engage the guests.
3. Hire an Artist:
If it’s in your budget, a professional artist can certainly lend a memorable touch to the festivities.
Have the artist paint a portrait of the room once the guests are seated or have a caricaturist on hand to create cartoony wedding mementos.
4. Play The Newlywed Game:
Yes, seriously. Host your own game show! Get that outspoken uncle to be the host (or a hired comedian) and pit the newlyweds vs. other married couples to see how well they know (or do not know) each other. Just tone down the references to, ahem, “making whoopee” if your audience is underaged.
If you want to make sure your guests are entertained and engaged throughout (and the kids are occupied), why not consider something new?
5. Wine & Spirits Tasting:
Looking for a more cultured activity? A wine or spirits tasting session during or after dinner can add a bit of elegance to the proceedings. Hire an expert to take your guests on a journey through a selection of wines, whiskey, bourbon or exotic liquors.
6. Poker or Blackjack Station:
Keep the gamblers entertained by hiring a dealer or two and setting up a few gaming tables. Bragging rights only – no money included lest the fuzz crashes the party.
7. Table Novelties:
There are few simple things you can add to a table to keep guests entertained during setup time or the dinner. Supply a few crossword puzzles, wedding mad libs, or bride & groom trivia to keep them engaged with each other.
8. Wedding Piñata:
Let the bride take out some wedding stress on a papier mâché figure of her choice. Depending on attendees, the piñata can be filled with candy, coins, toys or little bottles of booze, perhaps. Provide bags for adults or kids to collect the goodies inside.
9. Spin the Wheel of Fun:
Here we go with game shows again. Make a wheel of any size that features fun and hilarious stunts. Spin the wheel and see what you get! Will the groom have to do the robot dance? Will the bride sing a song? Or will the couple simply kiss again? Only the wheel can say.
10. Start the Slideshow:
Create and show a slideshow of the couple’s relationship timeline. When did they meet? What did they do together? Where did they visit? Who are their friends? Your guests are here for the result; so, why not show them the journey?
Keep the Kids Occupied
1. Set up a Kids Only Fort or Tent:
Give the young‘uns a place of their own. Outdoor forts and tents are kid magnets – set one up and declare “no adults allowed!” If the party is indoors, an adjacent room with kids’ entertainment items would work, if available.
2. Lawn Games:
If you give them something to do, they will do it. Set up Cornhole, jumbo checkers, jumbo Connect Four, giant lawn dice, badminton and more. The lawn will be filled with screams of triumph and fun from both kids and adults.
3. Color Me Happy:
Give the kids coloring sheets and crayons with the task of coloring a picture for the bride & groom. Not only will this keep them occupied at the table before dinner, it will provide some very cute mementos for the newlyweds. Have extra sheets or coloring books on hand for those who want to create more than one “masterpiece.”
4. Set Up Activity Tables:
Provide a place for kids to go to entertain themselves with blocks, cars, trucks, dolls, or musical instruments. Another way to do this without taking up table space is to include small toys or plastic games in the centerpieces on tables where children are seated.
5. If all else Fails, Let ‘em Bounce:
They need to burn some of that excess energy somehow. Rent a bouncy castle or large inflatable slide and let them just go nuts. The more energy the kids work off early will lead to a less fussy night and a more memorable reception.
With a little planning and imagination, your celebration can stand out above all the rest … and a good time will be had by all!