Weddings are such an important part of our lives. Joining two lives together as one, is such a wonderful thing. Most girls dream about this moment their whole lives! Being surrounded by all of your loved ones in a huge celebration. Sometimes with all of the craziness that goes into planning a wedding, we forget who else is important on your wedding day, your guests! Today I want to go over ways to make sure that your guests have an amazing time as well, on your special day.
1. Have a fun theme, this will give you direction when choosing your decor. Having your theme stay consistant all the way from the Save the Dates, to signage at the reception, really ties everything together.
2. Seating assignments - I know it is not even in the top 50 when it comes to fun parts of wedding planning. But a good seating chart can be crucial when it comes to making sure that your guests have fun at the reception. You don’t want to stick grandma at the table with your college friends that you know are going to be super rowdy (unless your grandma is a party animal too). Or you might have relatives that don’t particularly get along. Either way, you want to try to maximize the enjoyment of your guests by putting like-minded guests together at tables or at least at tables near each other. One thing that I found helpful when making seating charts, is to make a little mock reception out of paper. Cut out either circles or squares ( depending on what shape your tables are ) and little strips of paper with your guests names on them. That way you can place the names around the tables and move them as needed. You can always take pictures with your phone as you go along, in case you want to go back to a previous layout.
3. Photobooths are always a fun way to let your guests have fun and get in a good laugh. It also lets them leave with a souvenir from your big day. Some photobooth companies will give you copies of all of your guests photos as well, which can be quite hilarious!
4. Hire the right Dj! I can not stress this enough! I know that Dj’s can be expensive, but a great Dj is totally worth the price. You need to find out if your Dj just plays songs, or if he will be interacting with the crowd, getting laughs and getting guests on the dance floor. I have photographed many weddings with horrible Dj’s unfortunately. It is a total mood killer. The dance floors were empty and people looked like they were falling asleep in their seats. I am sure that your family and friends are happy to be there for you no matter what, but why not let them have an amazing time as well!
5. Along with a great Dj goes a great playlist! You might be tempted to play your favorite hip hop jams all night, but that may result in the older guests staying planted in their seats. Mix it up a little bit to make sure everyone hears something that tempts them to tear up that dance floor!
6. Wedding favors are awesome! I mean who doesn't love getting a little present right? There are so many ways that you can go with wedding favors too! I have seen little packages of cookies, seeds to grow beautiful flowers, can koozies and bottle openers. There are lots of websites out there that give great deals when buying favors in large quantities.
7. Feed your guests!! I think we have all heard of the term "Hangry". If not, it is a combination of hungry and angry! You definitely do not want a mutiny to take place amongst your guests. Be sure that they have something to snack on durring cocktail hour, as well as plenty to eat for dinner. Which brings me to my next point.
8. Dessert tables are fun! Donut walls, smores bars, hot chocolate stations etc. will help your guests not only satisfy that sweet tooth, but the sugar rush will have them up and about and having fun! People enjoying treats is also another fun photo op!
9. Come up with a wedding hashtag! Im sure that all of the guests want a chance to play photographer during your reception. This will give them the chance to! This will also give you an easy way to view everyones shots the next day. You can include your hashtag in your wedding invitations to get all of your guests ready to use it on your big day!
10. Shake things up at the first dance. Everyone loves a good first dance, but why not shock the crowd? If you aren’t the dancing type, maybe take lessons! A couple twirls and a well timed dip or two will definitely get the crowd's attention.
11. Along the lines of a snappy first dance, why not throw in a costume change as well? I know that you spent a lot of time and money on your beautiful wedding dress, but can you move in it? Your first dance will be much more awesome if you aren’t stiff as a board. At my wedding, my wife could not have looked more gorgeous. And then right before the grand entrance, she changed into another gorgeous flowing dress that let us rock our first dance!
12. Have a place for guests to mingle. In between dinner and all of the trips to the dance floor, some of your guests may want to hang out and chat. This is especially true if you have guests coming in from out of state or even further! Try to find a place that is away from the Dj's speakers so they can talk and enjoy each other's company.
13. Have some games! Not all guests are into dancing, so giving them other activities will give them the opportunity to have fun as well. This can be done in several ways. I have seen Jumbo Jenga blocks, bean bag tosses and other yard games, or as mentioned above, you can have the dj play games with the crowd. You can do trivia, dance contests and limbo! The guests are guaranteed to love it when there are interactive elements. It also makes for great photo ops!
14. If children are going to attend the wedding, keeping them entertained is huge!!! Bored kids are noisy kids! During the open dancing at the reception, they can make all the noise they want. But during your vows is another story. During the ceremony there are options to keep them busy like coloring books or letting them watch an iPad with headphones. And during the reception you can either put a movie on for them in the bridal sweet (with a babysitter of course) or you can have legos or paper table cloths that they can draw all over. Happy kids means more fun time for the adults!
15. One thing that I love to see most, is when a wedding represents who the couple really is. Pinterest is great and all, but your guests will really appreciate if the decor and personal touches really have something to do with you! That is who they came to see! A slideshow with pictures of both of you growing up, and your relationship up to this point is always a lot of fun to watch! :)
16. Pay tribute to your guests. There are many ways to do this. One of my personal favorites is the anniversary dance. It is a really nice touch at weddings. If you haven't seen one before, it is when the Dj starts a song and starts calling up all the married couples according to how long they have been married. It usually goes something like 1 year, 5 years, 10, 20, 30 and so on. It is always super cute when there are grandparents or older guests that have a ton of years together!
17. Going table to table during the reception is a great way to interact with your guests. Even if it is a short interaction, it gives them a chance to give you a hug, say congratulations and possibly get that selfie with you that they have been dying to get all day! It also gives you a chance to let them know how much you appreciate them being there!
18. RELAX!!!! Quit checking to see if every cupcake on your desert table is exactly 1 1/8 inches apart from the next one. Your guests are watching you. They want to see you having a great time! And you should! You worked so hard for this day! Let the vendors do their job and go enjoy the party. Seeing you have a blast on the dance floor will really encourage your guests to do the same!
19. And last but not least, why not end the evening with a bang! Fancy send offs are getting more and more popular these days. Not only are they a lot of fun for your guests, but they are a great way to get one more epic shot of your wedding!
I hope that these tips will help you maximize the awesomeness of your reception and give your guests something to talk about for years to come! Have a great day everyone!