5 Things You Can Do To Make Your Wedding Reception More Enjoyable for Your Guests
We've all been to memorable and fun wedding receptions. Conversely, most of us have also been to wedding receptions that were memorable for an entirely different reason. Maybe you've been to a reception where the wedding party arrived an hour behind you due to pictures and you just sat around bored until the party got started. Or perhaps you have experienced a reception with horrible food, or out of control kids underfoot.
You no doubt want your wedding reception to be memorable for the right reasons and for your guests to have a genuinely good time while they celebrate your joyous occasion with you. We invite you to use the 5 suggestions below as a conversation starter between you and your fiance' to assist you in considering your event from your guests' perspective. Perhaps you can come up with a few more original ideas to make your day enjoyable for all.
The 5 Things
1. Consider setting up a kids area and spring for legitimate, background checked caregivers that will keep younger kids entertained and let the parents enjoy some adult time at the party. Set up a special room with toys, tv/movies, and kids snacks. Or, if you have the space (like an outdoor wedding) consider renting a bouncy house to make things even more fun. Let folks know in the invite that child care and activities will be available and have them RSVP with the ages of kids attending so your caregivers can be prepared with age-appropriate activities. The parents will love you for life!
2. If your wedding party will be delayed arriving at the reception site (usually due to picture times), do more than merely have an open bar ready, hire a comedian, a musical group, or a magician to entertain your guests until you can make it. Arrange for them to introduce your wedding party by name as you all enter the premises. If hiring a pro entertainer is beyond your budget, consider setting up a "Game Show", like Family Feud that is fun for those playing and those watching. Pre-arrange the teams from your guest list so no one is put on the spot. Get a friend who has the chops to host it (you will definitely need a PA system for this one). Whatever you do, make sure you have a charismatic/dynamic person serving as a host in your stead. Someone who can welcome everyone from the mic, make them feel engaged and relaxed, and get the fun started right away. The lag time between ceremony and the actual start of the reception is what zaps most wedding guests of their energy and makes the reception feel anti-climatic.
3. Set up a few lounge seating areas for older guests and just for a more warm guest experience. People are more likely to really chat and mingle while seated in comfortable chairs and couches than at the dining tables. This also encourages mingling rather than visiting only with their table group. Perhaps have a coffee/tea bar close to lounge seating for those not imbibing for the evening. You may want to provide some games at the lounge area, or even set up a few card tables in the vicinity for non-dancers that want to play a game of cribbage or whatever.
4. If you will have a DJ, or even live music, provide soft, disposable ear plugs for guests with sensitive hearing. Weddings are a great time for friends and family from all generations to get together and celebrate, but try to be considerate and recognize the decibels might be tough on some of your guests. You can provide the earplugs in a fun way - attach a poem letting them know you want them stay - for example:
"We are thrilled you are here
to share in our day,
if the music is loud
we still want you to stay.
So, open this pouch
and put the plugs in,
Since you're comfortable now,
you can wear a big grin."
5. Don't forget water. It can get really dry after dancing, talking, eating, etc. Most receptions only have water available from the bar (if that) once the food is gone. Don't make your guests hunt down that stray waiter to get a glass of water, have a water station. If it's in your budget, you can even have custom printed water bottles with fun facts about the happy couple. But the main point is to provide free water and plenty of it to keep the party going. On another note, if there will be lots of traditional dancing and partying, you may even consider having cheap anklet socks available for ladies that are removing heals. Sometimes it's the little things that make a big impression.