Well, they’re not really secrets — just really solid ideas.
We all know about the traditional wedding reception – a party held after the completion of your wedding ceremony. It is held usually as hospitality for those who have attended the wedding, hence the name reception: the couple receives society, in the form of family and friends, for the first time as a married couple.
Before receptions became popular, weddings were more typically celebrated with wedding breakfasts (for those whose religious traditions encouraged morning weddings) and wedding balls (for those who were married in the evening). The popularity of receptions, rather than breakfasts, dinners, and balls, during the 20th century led to the name reception being applied to any social event after a wedding, whether it is brunch, tea, dinner, or a dance.
Here are a few ideas to liven up your wedding reception to make it a truly fun event:
Jazz Up Your First Dance
All eyes will be on you during your first dance, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to shock your guests. Imagine starting with a slow dance to “At Last” and then suddenly switching to a fast, sexy Latin dance or a jazzy swing step. It’ll totally throw your guests for a loop and set the tone for a lively dance party.
Photo: Marni Rothschild Pictures
Have a Game Plan for Kids
To keep the little ones entertained throughout the night (and to give their parents an opportunity to hit the dance floor!), set up an area specifically for them. In a separate room, arrange for a babysitter who can set up movies for them to watch. Or designate a couple tables just for the kids and pack them with coloring books, crayons, and small toys.
Photo: ee photography
Keep the Toasts Short (And Prep Your Toasters)
As meaningful and wonderful as toasts can be, it’s important that you don’t let those toasting to drone on and on. Quite frankly, it’ll put a lull in the evening. When it comes to toasts, it’s really all about quality over quantity. So direct anyone who is speaking in advance to keep their speeches to two minutes max and ask them to share any other long-drawn-out stories at a prewedding party like the rehearsal dinner.
Photo: The Schultzes
Give Out Party Favors
Don’t forget that a reception is a party! Let your guests know that it’s okay to cut loose after a formal ceremony by passing out crazy wedding favors at the reception. A few of our favorite ideas? Funky masks, noisemakers, or Silly String. We even know one couple who handed out neckties and encouraged their guests to tie them around their heads on the dance floor. Quirky, but definitely fun!
Photo: Julia Newman Photography
Put on a Welcome Dinner
Okay, so this tip isn’t for your reception, but it will end up making the party more fun. Why? A casual event where all of your guests can meet and mingle the day before the wedding means that by the time your reception rolls around, everyone will have already gotten to know one another. That way, your guests can skip the pleasantries and get right down to celebrating.