Let’s face it: You and your spouse will remember your ceremony forever, but your guests will remember the reception. This fact doesn’t mean they’re insensitive to the commitment you’re making to your one-and-only, they’re just looking for a good time! Don’t you want to throw the best wedding reception of all time? I’ve attended my fair share of receptions, done my research, and have come up with a list of fun tips and ideas to make any post-ceremony affair one to remember.

1. Surprise Entertainment

Sometimes the best parts of a reception are the things guests don’t see coming. Surprise your guests with unexpected entertainment during the cocktail hour or reception, like a belly dancer, a flair bartender, or even fire dancers.

2. Good Music

Okay, this is an obvious one, but it made the list because music is a major fun factor at the reception and it has a lot to do with how long your guests will stay. The last thing you want to see is your dance floor clear out when the “Chicken dance” comes on. So, make sure to talk to your DJ about your do-not-play list.

Whether you’ve hired a band or a DJ, if you want to keep the dance floor packed (and I’m guessing you do), plan a playlist of songs that will please the crowd, not just you two.

3. Awesome Favors

While wedding reception favors are meant to give the guests something to bring home in memory of this special day, you can have fun with these favors. To be honest, most guests don’t even keep the favors, especially if it has the names and the date of the wedding. How about giving your guests something they will actually use and enjoy? Edible favors are usually the most favored, as you can almost guarantee those will be consumed. You can go for something sweet like personalized chocolates, candy, cookies, cake pops, or a small jar of honey, or something like mints, mini champagne bottles, or infused olive oil. There are so many options out there on the internet for fun favors that you can purchase these days. 

4. Well-Tought-Out Seating

Although it might be tempting to put people who do not know each together so that they make new friends it really is better to have everyone sitting with people they already know. This will mean there will be more conversation and laughter and they are more likely to fill the dance floor when the time comes.

It is great to do the same with the kids and let them have a table or two all of their own.

5. Hire a live band

There are several things that make a wedding truly unforgettable, and a dance floor full of guests cutting loose into the wee hours of the morning is definitely one of them. Music is of top importance when it comes to setting the scene for your reception. From ceremony to cocktail hour, first dance to the final song, music moves the evening along and adds an elevated level of ambience to those special moments. A professional live band, made up of truly talented musicians, can navigate all of that and more.

6. Wedding Games

After the ceremony, after the feast, keep the party going and your guests engaged with a wedding reception full of fantastic games and activities. While you’re doing the rounds, talking to friends and family, getting all the photos taken with the wedding party, or even just changing into more party-ready clothes, games can help with breaking the ice and keep everybody entertained.

7. Plan something for the Kids

If you want to keep the little ones entertained while their parents can go off and enjoy your reception it may help to give them their own designated children’s area. When you do this you can easily give them a babysitter and you can also help them by overseeing any games and even any arts and crafts as well.

8. Sparkler Send-Off

Wedding sparklers make for a truly festive, unforgettable, and photographic exit for your wedding. Check with your event venue or wedding planner to confirm that they are legal to be used at your reception venue. You can present extra sparkler sticks in custom wrappers with your name or monogram for an easy wedding favor.

9. Photo Booth

A photo booth with props is a great way of capturing fun and relaxed photos of your guests during the reception. Many packages also come with a guest book where everyone can stick their photos and write a special message for you to take home!

10. Open bar

Make sure that you have a good variety and options for your guests. Think about what your guests like. Are they beer drinkers? Wine connoisseurs? Or, more of a cocktail crowd? Knowing what your guests prefer to drink can help you decide on options and quantity.

11. Great Food

Obviously, I have to put this secret last. Well, maybe it isn’t that much of a secret – it’s basically “Wedding Planning 101”. Great food makes for happy guests. Nothing will ruin a wedding reception for guests like a rumbling stomach.

Final Thought

A wedding reception is a mix of an emotional evening spent celebrating like it’s a party. It’s the most fun part of the wedding because that’s when all the tears and emotions are dried up and it’s time to pop the champagne. If you treat it the way it’s supposed to be and make it a fun party for everyone, you can bet everyone will go home happy. But if your wedding reception is as emotional as a wedding, then you’ll seriously miss out on the crazy wedding dances. So, once you’ve said ‘i do’ and kissed each other, it’s time to crank up the volume and break dance!