This is Part 4 of our series entitled “Secrets to a Fun Wedding Reception”.
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:
Hire a Day-of Coordinator
You may have a ton of fun ideas for your reception lined up — say, a rockin’ entrance, an amazing band, and surprise late-night snacks — but the truth is it’s much harder than you’d think to keep each of those plans in check. If you already have an event planner, genius. If not, look into booking a day-of coordinator to oversee the details (trust us, it’s worth it).
Photo: Desi Baytan Photography
Bring in an Expert Tasting Station
A full bar is a must-have for a great reception, but amp it up a notch with an interactive drinking experience. We’re talking about a wine, beer or whiskey tasting, where guests can sample different drinks and learn a few tasting notes. A hand-rolled cigar station also fits the bill, as does a choose-your-flavor margarita bar (yum!).
Photo: KCK Photography
The key to a lively celebration? Movement. The best parties encourage lots of dancing, with mini breaks for mingling and snacking — not just sitting. So divide your reception into distinct areas for dancing, sipping drinks and chatting, and getting coffee or bites to eat. Arrange a few cocktail tables near the bar, provide an outdoor seating option or set up a dessert table of bite-size sweets.
Photo: Jen Kroll Photography
Change Into Something Comfortable
Let’s put it this way: You won’t have a good time at your reception if you can’t breathe, right? So after the first dance, swap your veil and train for a little white dress. (This applies to grooms too — depending on the formality of the wedding, guys can change out of a restricting tux into a more relaxed suit.) If you and your new spouse are comfortable enough to move freely, you’ll dance more, chat more and laugh more, and that’ll rub off on your guests.
Photo: Ashley Brockinton Photography
Serve a Leisurely Dinner
Instead of a quick, three-course menu of salad, entree and dessert, stretch out dinner over four or five smaller courses. Then, plan small surprises in between, like a short toast from your hilarious aunt or a professional dance performance. It’ll give your guests the experience of a fun night out on the town, complete with dinner and a show.