The best receptions are personal, fun and filled with unique touches to keep guests talking about it long after the dance floor has cleared. While all guests love great food, drink and fun, there are many things every couple can do to ensure that their reception is filled with excitement from start to end.
- Arrange seating thoughtfully.
Do not discount the importance of a solid seating arrangement. It is always helpful to seat guests with those they know, but with college friends and roommates it is also smart to seat guests that are around the same age. Ideally, you want to create a seating arrangement that leads to great conversation, which leads to dancing fun and an unforgettable night.
- Hand out awesome favors.
Wedding favors are one way that couples let their guests know how appreciative they are of having them there. Take home treats like a bag of your favorite locally made popcorn or even hot chocolate mix with doughnut holes are fun ways your guests can still enjoy your celebration once they go home. Other fun ideas are sunglasses branded with the couples initials and wedding date (which are perfect for fun photos in the photo booth too!)
- Have a plan for kids.
Parents at weddings want to have fun too, but at times that can be difficult when they have to constantly watch their kids instead of enjoy their drink or dance with friends. To keep younger ones entertained throughout the night and give parents an opportunity to relax a bit themselves, create a child-friendly area for kids to hang out, play and dance. This could be in a separate room with a babysitter, or for weddings with older children this could be kids-only tables where they can both have dinner and enjoy coloring books, game and toys.
- Offer a fun interactive food station.
Great food makes for a great celebration and great cocktails call for great late-night snacks. Interactive food stations, such as a ice cream donut sundae bar, allows guests to create their own ideal bites and leaves them both happy and well-fed as the good times come to a close.
- Rethink dinner.
Instead of your typical three-course menu of salad, entrée and dessert, stretch dinner out and offer multiple food stations, abundantly filled with several choices. This gives your guests the experience of a fun night out, and more guests will be satisfied with their meal when they have control over what they select and have seconds of.
- Play music everyone can dance to.
Everyone has been to a wedding where the band is starting to heat up and then they take a break, or the DJ really gets the crowd going, but plays the chicken dance… To be sure this doesn’t happen, ensure your band has great break music that can keep the energy alive and still entertain your guest. If you opt for a DJ, be sure you are clear with your ‘do-not-play’ list and whether or not you want the chicken dance blaring in the reception space. Whether you have hired a band or DJ, you want to keep the dance floor packed with a playlist that will please the entire crowd, not just the newlyweds.
- Have a lounge area.
If your venue and budget have the room, set up comfortable lounge chairs and couches in your reception space for a relaxed and modern vibe. This helps get your guests up from their tables and moving around the room to check out other space they can relax. It also is a perfect way to give your active dancers a resting area. Even better, lounge seating provides an elegant and comfortable space for elderly guests to relax and chat while sticking close to the dance floor and feeling like they are part of all the action.
- Roll out a tasting station.
A full bar is a must-have for a great reception, but it’s easy to take it up a notch with an interactive drink experience that allows guests to sample different drinks, such as a whiskey tasting bar.