So you’re getting married but feeling uninspired by your parents’ wedding photos? We talked with Lauren of The Lion House, Amanda of Amanda Blair by Design, and Tiffany of The Details Events to think up some unique ideas to keep your reception fresh and fun for you and your guests! Read below to find some things that might help you create a more unique reception experience that will leave everyone wanting more!
Idea #1: Find Your Focus
For the typical wedding, there are a lot of decisions to be made. From flowers and dresses to food and dessert, there can be a lot of (distracting) options, especially as trends come and go and you continue adding to your Pinterest board. Lauren suggests taking some time to find your focus — determine what is TRULY important to you and stick with that.
She breaks it down with this example. Let’s say what’s important to you is music, flowers, and drinks:
- If it’s music – splurge on the live big band to get your guests shaggin’.
- Let’s say flowers are a focus. Find an interactive way for guests to show them off. Say maybe a flower crown escort wall followed by a photo booth where they pop in to capture all the floral goodness!
- Love tequila? Well, why not a tequila shot at everyone’s seat, rather than champagne? That’ll surely step up the good vibes!
Idea #2: Make an entrance
You know how everyone leaves their wedding in a flurry of bubbles/sparklers/flower petals? Well what if you flip this tradition and enter your reception using one of those? Lauren suggested setting the tone for the rest of the party with the entrance, and as light-loving photographers, we couldn’t agree more. We’d love to see a reception entrance!
Idea #3: Movement & Mingling
While Amanda can whip up old-school seated dinner arrangements that are absolutely beautiful, she suggested breaking with the usual by including stations and small plates:
Here are a few fun ways you can mix things up!
- Stations and small plates allow for your guests to move about and mingle.
- By utilizing stations you can choose to not do traditional seating for everyone and with the space you free up, bring in a lounge or two!
- Although weather is always a factor, if your venue has an indoor and outdoor space, create a reason for guests to travel through them all – whether it’s with an activity, a fun bar, or food throughout!
Tiffany had an important reminder about this, though! She said, “So many couples are deciding to do ‘open seating’ for the dinners but are forgetting what it’s like to be on a blind date! I’d love to see couples provide ice breakers at the tables so that people can get to know each other, and quickly, so that new acquaintances are made and the dance floor is packed!”
Idea #4: Nix the group shots
Now, this is an idea we can fully get behind. Tiffany suggested not going around to every table at dinner to get group shots with each person invited to your event. You should absolutely get a chance to greet everyone, but as she explains, “It drags dinner out and it’s boring for those attending! What are you going to do with those photos anyway? Just ask your photographer to capture you and your guests on the dance floor. Because, hey, you spent way too much time curating the most perfect song list to miss it!”
Our favorite alternative? Set up a photo booth instead! This way, guests can take a break from the dance floor to take some memorable shots of themselves without interrupting the flow of the evening. Plus, you can jump in on some! We came home from our minimoon to an album of shots from our photo booth and absolutely loved them and the sweet messages our guests left for us!
Idea #5: Let Loose
Another idea for creating a more relaxed reception is to play with your timeline. Even though she’s a planner, Lauren suggested letting go of the regimented schedule to create space to be with your guests and just have fun. For example, you can take your photos before your ceremony or even a few days after your wedding to spend more time with each other and friends and family. We totally love this idea!
If you are going to have a timeline packed with all of the traditions, Tiffany suggests grouping them together: “Try to keep your timeline moving smoothly. Many starts and stops (like for dances, toasts, cake cutting, etc.) or times when the couple disappears for photos will ruin the mojo and people will lose enthusiasm. Try to group ‘events’ together, like cutting your cake right after your first dances, or get as many photos done before the reception as possible.”
Have other fun ideas for a reception? Leave us a comment below — we would love to hear them!
Choose your own adventure!
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