Top 10 Ideas for Creating a Fun Wedding Reception
— By Esther Dawson
17 June 2015
The best wedding receptions combine heart-felt speeches with good food and an awesome dance floor! When planning a wedding, it can be hard to ensure that each part of the reception receives equal attention and runs smoothly on the day. What food should you provide? Who’s going to give a speech? And let’s not get started on the music! To help you out we’ve put together a list of our top ten ideas that will start you thinking about how to make your reception both fun and unforgettable. From the music to the fireworks, we’ve got you covered. Have a read and let the planning begin!
1. A Surprising First Dance
All eyes will rest on you, during the first dance, making this the perfect opportunity to have a bit of fun and do something unexpected. Imagine starting with a slow waltz and then suddenly switching to a fast, jazzy step. Or what about incorporating the whole bridal party? Begin with a romantic two-step, then suddenly, the music changes and your bridesmaids and groomsmen rush out and join you on the dance floor! It’ll shock the guests and entertain everyone, setting the tone for a lively dance party.
2. Keep it Short and Sweet for the Toasts & Speeches
Toasts are a very meaningful and necessary part of your wedding reception, but it’s important that they don’t drone on and on. It can put a lull in the evening and quite frankly, bore the guests. When it comes to toasts and speeches, it's all about quality over quantity. Ensure that your MC directs anyone who is speaking in advance to keep their speeches to two minutes maximum. Any long stories or words of advice can be given at a pre-wedding event, such as the engagement party or kitchen tea. Alternatively, ask your guests to write something down and include it with their gift.
Image by Cue Photography
3. Bring the Fun with Crazy Party Favours
Don't forget that your reception can be fun! Let your guests know that it's okay to cut loose after a formal ceremony by passing out some creative and fun wedding favours. Funky masks, Silly String, sparklers or even a bottle of bubbles are perfect favours to bring the fun to your reception! They could accompany place names, or be handed out after those (short) toasts and speeches. Either way, quirky and crazy party favours are a must for every wedding!
4. Plan an Interactive Food Station
Great food makes great celebrations and special, custom-made food is even better! It’s hard to please everyone with a set canapé menu and so, an interactive food station could be a good option. A risotto station, pasta bar or burger station with various choices of toppings and sauces will leave your guests happy and well-fed, ready to have a good time!
5. Provide Good Food with a Unique Touch
While we’re on the note of food, it’s important to consider what kind of food you want for your reception meal. If you're not the meat-and-potatoes type, consider choosing something more diverse, such as Spanish tapas, Mexican fajitas, or a variety of seafood. If a sit-down meal is off the menu, consider opting for a hors d'oeuvres reception where platters of mini sliders, bite-size vegetable quiches or a range of cheeses are offered. The options are endless!
6. Have a Game Plan for the Kids
To keep the little ones entertained while giving their parents an opportunity to hit the dance floor, consider setting up an area specifically for them. A babysitter could be arranged to set up movies in a separate room, or a table could be filled with colouring books, crayons, and toys for the children to have a bit of fun.
7. Plan a Surprise
Sometimes the best parts of a reception are the things guests don't see coming. Have a little fun by surprising your guests with unexpected entertainment during the reception, like a belly dancer, a mariachi band, or even a salsa dancer. A fireworks display is another alternative, perfect for an outdoor venue and exciting for the younger guests. This is your day, spice it up and have a bit of fun!
8. Change into a Party Dress
You won't enjoy yourself on the dance floor if you can't breathe. What about swapping your veil and train for a little white dress? Depending on the formality of the wedding, the groom can also change out of his restricting tux and into a more casual suit. By feeling comfortable and relaxed, you’ll dance more, chat more, laugh more and this will rub off on your guests.
9. Play Danceable Music
Whether you've hired a band or a DJ, we’re guessing you want to keep the dance floor packed. Make sure you plan a playlist of songs that both you and your guests will enjoy. Indie rock might be your thing, but now isn't the time to show off your discerning taste in music. People love dancing to current pop songs and old favourites, so let them! A mix of music is totally acceptable, so make sure you have something for everyone.
10. Create a Variety of Spaces
The best parties encourage lots of dancing, but also provide options for those who want a break to mingle, snack or even sit down. Think about dividing your reception into distinct areas for dancing, sipping drinks, chatting, and eating. Arrange a few cocktail tables near the bar, provide an outdoor seating option or set up a dessert table with bite-size snacks. Not everyone wants to dance, so provide a variety of spaces that will keep everyone happy and entertained.