Your wedding guests are the key to your good time! Ever been to a wedding where each person stays in their small circle of folks they already know? Nobody mixes or mingles and you feel hesitant to intrude into the cliques. Everyone goes home having an okay time, but no one meets anyone new and what’s supposed to be a joining of circles becomes a night of separate celebration.
Now, picture the difference. Guests making new friends, one person’s energy inspiring another person to laugh and dance and so on…Fun is infectious, great social energy has an amazing domino effect of creating more fun, positive energy.
The atmosphere at your wedding reception can be so much more inclusive and fun when your guests socialize with each other. This goes for before and after the wedding too.
Of course, it’s a little scary to put yourself out there to strangers you don’t know. That’s where wedding planning comes in. You’ve got the power to make the magic happen and keep guests from feeling awkward or excluded. We’ve got a few easy ways you can help make socializing at your wedding easier, exponentially amping up the celebratory atmosphere, which is what your wedding day is about. So let’s get the party started!
Begin With The Engagement Party
The engagement party is a great opportunity for people to meet. So are the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Guests at the wedding reception may feel a little shy or awkward around people they don’t know, but as the bride and groom, you can break the ice and introduce people to each other. You could say something like, “This is Brittany. She and I do yoga together.” This could be an easy way to introduce someone who you know is into fitness. If you can scope out who’s who at your event, you should be able to create a common ground between your guests through these kinds of introductions.
Start an interesting conversation between them early and that way they’ll be more inclined to chat at your wedding instead of standing around looking awkward. It’s also a great way to get these introductions out of the way so you aren’t spending the precious moments of your wedding day doing nothing but introductions. Not what you always dreamed of for your big day, we’re sure.
Bust Out the Photo Booths
A photo booth can help your reception be a blast. Having a photo booth will give your guests a chance to have some silly fun time. Add a few fun and unique props like hats, and sunglasses or something they can wear to make the photos even more memorable and wild. People will be laughing and chatting with each other while waiting to take their photos and while it’s happening. You can help encourage more mingling with signs that encourage guests to take pics with someone they don’t yet know.
Get Creative with Table Placements
During the planning stages of your wedding, a good option is to seat your guests outside of their familiar group. People will get up from their seats eventually and move to different tables later anyway. What if you group the guests according to their lifestyle activities or hobbies? They’ll eventually learn that the person they’re sitting next to may have a lot in common with them. As an added touch you could add cool nicknames for each table. This could be a great way of tipping the guests off that they have something in common and get the conversation ball rolling at each table.
Strategically Scatter Food and Drinks
When we say, “Spread out the drinks and food,” literally spread out the offerings at the reception. Have a separate table for wine and a different one for the beer selections. You can do the same thing in regard to the food. By placing one table for appetizers and another for dessert items, you’ll encourage guests to move around the room, socializing at each stop they make. This is especially effective when you’re planning the layout of the room, so you won’t have to work at personally initiating conversations between guests who don’t know each other.
Maximize Cocktail Socializing
After the ceremony, your guests will head over to the reception for the cocktail hour and social time before the reception kicks into high gear. The cocktail hour is a perfect time for the bride and groom to greet guests, spend time with out-of-town guests and give kisses and hugs to family and friends. This is a perfect time to make your guests feel appreciated and welcome. Your guests will probably be flocking to you for pics and asking what the hashtag is for the event. Having your maid of honor or another member of the wedding party close by to act as mixer, keeping you from getting cornered. They can play a key role, helping to chauffeur you through the crowd while you introduce guests to one another.
Play Wedding Games with Guests
All-inclusive games are a great way for guests to interact with each other. This is a perfect icebreaker for guests who may not know each other. A unique idea is to play the Wedding Shoe Game. This is where the bride and groom are seated back-to-back and remove their shoes. Before the game, have your guests chat at their tables and come up with some funny questions to ask the bride and groom. (like, who is the tidier roommate, or who has the most clothes, etc.)
During the game, the questions the guests came up with are read out loud and the bride or groom lift one of theirs or their partner’s shoe to reveal which one is the culprit. (Sort of a twist on The Newlywed Game!) This will make the guests get involved with each other and break the ice. Plus, it’s a unique form of entertainment that your guests won’t soon forget!
Other fun wedding games to get guests socializing:
Lawn games like giant jenga, bocce or croquet – quick games like this are easier for guests to play over large-scale checkers or chess that take a time commitment to play.
Elegant indoor casino games like roulette – there’s many game event rental services that offer attendants to run games to give them a classic Monte Carlo look and feel
Karaoke and Dance-offs – Your DJ or live entertainment may already offer an interactive component to get guests mixing it up together.
Create a Conversation-Starting Quiz for Your Guests
Another fun game will get friends and family alike involves in a tableside “How well do you know the bride and groom?” This will get everybody involved at every table and talking amongst themselves. The best time to set up this little quiz would be after the speeches. The maid of honor or the best man could act as quizmaster for the tournament! This is a hilarious way for the guests to interact with each other.
Your combined sets of parents and family members can play an integral role in the socialization between your guests. This can make it easier for you to integrate everybody. Many parents pay or contribute to the wedding cost and this is a chance for them to be more involved in the event.
If your parents are on board, enlist them for the task of introducing people and passing on thanks on behalf of the bride and groom which frees you up to do other things. Your maid of honor and best man will also take pride in helping ensure your day runs smoothly and you both are happy. They can totally jump in and initiate conversations by approaching guests at the party.
Although you’ll naturally want to walk around and mingle with your guests, you probably don’t want to spend your entire wedding trying to break the ice for them. Instead, strategically place conversation starter cards or games at each table. You could even sweeten the appeal by offering a prize to the most creative table. Or team up tables on a wedding scavenger hunt. There’s plenty of fun ways like this to help strangers get to know each other without feeling awkward and stumbling through small-talk.
An At-Home Digital Party Starter
The more connected your guests are before the wedding, the easier it will be to get them socializing during the party. Guestie makes it easy to get the excitement going weeks, even months before your wedding day. Your guests can browse each others’ profiles, connect names to faces and find out who they have things in common with — all while sitting on their sofa in the comfort of their home. Nothing for you to arrange or host!
Get the conversations flowing by sharing announcements, confirming transportation, and where to go for the afterparty! You can even take song requests before the event, which seamlessly compiles a list of your guests’ favorite tunes in Spotify you can share with your DJ. Guestie is also an easy way to let guests share stories, memories and well wishes and effortlessly create your digital guestbook (perfect if they forget to sign the version you set out on your wedding day). Get the party literally started today by signing up and adding your guestlist here.
Remember, this is your special day and your guests will help make it memorable. Encourage your guests to be more social using these tips for your wedding reception and watch the party come to life. You’ll host a wedding celebration that you and your guests will look back and remember like, “Wow, that was epic!”