So, your ceremony is done and the most important/hardest part of the day is done. Now what? It is time for the party and, let's be honest, most of your guests came for the reception. It's time for the 3 D's: Dinner, Drinking, and Dancing. Who doesn't love that? Creating a unique guest experience is crucial for a perfect reception. Adding in personal touches that will keep your guests smiling through the evening and far long after the dancing has ceased. Get those planning juices flowing with our 10 favorite ideas for a unique reception. To planning must-haves to kid-friendly entertainment, these touches are sure to be the flair you've been looking for.
1. Interactive Stations:
Whether it be through food or activity, providing some kind of station to get your guests up, movin' and minglin' is a surefire way to get the fun flowing. A grazing board at cocktail hour, a whiskey tasting room, or a cigar bar on the patio give your guests activities other than dancing. Having different stations allows a little something for everyone! Avoid a cookie-cutter wedding with unique activity stations that tailor to you and your guests!
2. Toasts - That Don't Last Forever:
We all have been to that wedding where the toasts start and never seem to end. To ensure your toasts don't drag way into the evening, ask anyone speaking to make sure that their toasts are no longer than 3 minutes. We would also keep the amount of people speaking to a max of 5. This will keep everyone laughing at the anecdotes but also ensure your guests don't lose their momentum going into the dancing.
3. Don't Forget the Kids:
To give parents an opportunity to get out on to the dance floor and cut a rug, don't forget to have some kid friendly fun! Have a separate area for them with some games and colors. In our own personal experience, get a bounce house. Best money we ever spent. The little ones were entertained for the ENTIRE evening and it gave parents a chance to grab a drink! We are obsessed with this idea!
4. Have Good Food and Plenty Of It:
If there is anything your guests are going to remember from your wedding it'll be the food. Nobody wants more dry "wedding chicken."Spice up your entrees and make sure you have enough food for the evening. No one enjoys a hangry guest. Go for street tacos, mini chicken and waffles, or maybe even a DIY hot chocolate bar. Put a spin on classic meals! Don't forget about those late-night munchies either! Maybe plan for a food truck to come to quench that late night hunger with breakfast burritos! Your guests will thank you.
5. Please, Get a Coordinator:
You want to enjoy your wedding day. You have planned all these fun ideas for your guests but day of, you won't be able to execute them. Trust us, it is harder than it looks. There are many moving parts the day of with vendors arriving at different times, getting your wedding party down the aisle, to making sure you have enough time for your sparkler send off, and having a coordinator to over-see the details is worth every penny. If you haven't looked into getting a planner, at the very least, think about a day of coordinator. You have worked so hard on all this planning, you owe it to yourselves to enjoy the day. Sit back and let your coordinator put it together for you.
Maybe everyone DOES love a good surprise. Having a little surprise for your guests during the evening will heighten the anticipation of whats to come. Whether it be a surprise entertainer or fireworks over the lake, unexpected moments will blow your guests away!
7. Room Flow, surprisingly, is SUPER important:
Movement throughout your reception space can make or break for a successful event. We all know the most fun weddings encourage lots of dancing with time to take a break, grab a drink, and something to snack on. To get the most out of your space, make sure that you have distinct ares for dessert, dancing, drinks, dinner, and mingling. Have a late night lounge area around a fire-pit or a couple of wine barrel cocktail tables near the bar. This will maximize your space and create a welcoming, smooth flowing room.
8. Keep the Dance Floor Movin'!
If you want to make sure you have that big dance party all night, you want to have a playlist full of songs that everyone attending your wedding will love. You may enjoy balleds from Hamilton but your wedding isn't the time or place to show off your taste in show tunes. Of course, throw in a few of your fav's but fill that playlist with some oldies, a few classics, a line dance or two, and a couple of songs popular now! Having a mix will get your guests out on to the dance floor for sure! Side note - be sure to hire a DJ or live band that fits your style and personality, but also be sure your DJ is worth paying to come to your wedding. Don't make the mistake of hiring a kid with an I-pod. !
9. Open bar.
Yes, we know that weddings can be very costly. We think a cash bar should be done away with. There, we said it. Your wedding in a way, is a gift to your family and friends for attending your ceremony. Having a cash bar is almost like inviting your friends over to your house and then in turn, charging them for a beer. As etiquette would have it, no matter how "common" it is in your area, you aren't properly hosting an event if your guests have to pay for any part of your reception. No one said it needs to be unlimited top shelf for the whole evening but even providing your guests with a beer and wine option will do. Trust us on this one.
10. Timing is everything:
Generally, there are two parts to a reception. Dinner and dancing. Two of the best things in life! You can either start dinner right away and then go into the dances or you can serve dinner through out the night with breaks for dancing. Either way is up to you. Choose what style works best for you and your guests. Keeping the flow of the evening, timing your events at the perfect moments will surely make your wedding memorable!