Wedding ceremonies are all about the couple getting married. That focus doesn’t change much during the wedding reception. However, since all the guests are also actively involved in the reception, plan your wedding reception to include them in the enjoyment and just plain fun.
Know Your Guest List Personalities
To offer your guests maximum opportunities to enjoy themselves at your reception, know their preferences in food and music. Canapes can be great as formal dinner appetizers, but if your crowd likes a more relaxed atmosphere, tailor your menu to things at least most will enjoy.
Vary your music to all age groups within their tastes. Including a few classic rock and roll tunes may make a few happy, but if your guests like country music, make it country rock instead. Polkas usually won’t be well received unless polka is a tradition in your area and with your guests.
If you aren’t sure of their preferences, include the option of telling you when they send the RSVP notes back to you. Keep a master list of them to present to potential disk jockeys you might hire to ensure everyone gets a fair chance of dancing to their preferred type of music.
Mix slow and faster songs that allow your guests to dance as much or as little as they would like. Just be sure to mix them reasonably.
Your younger and older guests will probably leave the earliest, so schedule most of the dance tunes they like earlier in the evening. Children will enjoy dancing to almost anything, but they will eventually run out of energy, and the seniors on your guest list probably won’t stay all night.
People love a party, and that’s precisely what a wedding reception is. They love costume parties, and if you can meld a costume-type reception along a recognized theme, so much the better.
If you can design your theme around your honeymoon location, that grants your guests a peripheral involvement while maintaining the actual privacy of the honeymoon.
Even if your reception is held indoors, you can still present a terrific tropical environment if your honeymoon is in, for example, Hawaii or the Bahamas. You don’t need to cart in lots of sand, but dress the hall for the occasion and have your guests dress to match.
If you opt for a traditional dress code for your reception, you can still incorporate a theme: Use the couple’s preferences in the décor and table decorations.
Include lots of group games and activities. Don’t forget those for the younger children and those for the older guests. If you can’t think of many group activities for specific age groups or all age groups, don’t hesitate to enlist the thinking caps of friends and family. You can even designate points-of-contact for ideas for specific age groups to ensure everyone who will attend has something to entertain them.
Include door prizes as a surprise. Everyone expects the bride and groom to receive wedding presents. Most couples present party favors during receptions, but you can go one step further and not spend a fortune. Silly prizes, thoughtful prizes and fun surprises are always an unexpected hit.
This post was contributed by Holly Miller of Coupon Croc, where brides and grooms-to-be can find money saving discount codes for every aspect of their wedding; from the engagement ring, to their Travelodge honeymoon plans.
Images from top to bottom: Stitely Entertainment, nicknbecka, and chadmagic all from Flickr.