We absolutely LOVE wedding receptions. The reception is our favorite part of any wedding because it’s time for the couple to mingle and the guests to dance, party, and eat delicious food! For this reason, we highly recommend prioritizing planning your wedding reception thoroughly to make sure that you and your guests have the best time imaginable. To help, we’re providing you with our favorite tips on how to have the best wedding reception EVER! Let’s dive in.
Get Everyone on The Dance Floor
Getting everyone on the dance floor should be your top priority because guests that are dancing are guests that are having fun! Having the best wedding reception means lots and lots of dancing, so here are a few ways you can encourage your guests to let loose!
Allow Song Requests
There’s nothing more exciting than being at a wedding reception and hearing your favorite song. Even people that don’t like dancing can’t refuse getting up to shake their booty when they hear their favorite tune! So, we recommend allowing song requests so that everyone feels included and inclined to groove the night away. Accepting song requests can sound like a hassle. You don’t want your DJ to get overwhelmed and you’ve probably already provided them with a specific set of tunes for your reception. However, did you know you can accept song requests before the wedding?
With Guestie’s Song Request feature, you can allow guests to submit song requests until you’re ready to hand the playlist over to your DJ! And even better, you don’t even have to worry about adding the songs to a Spotify playlist yourself. Guestie will do all of the legwork for you! When guests make song requests through their guest portal, they’ll automatically be added to a Spotify playlist that you can easily hand over to your DJ without even thinking twice about it!
Get You Guests Acquainted Beforehand
Nothing makes it harder to dance than feeling awkward in a crowd of strangers. So why not make every face a familiar face for your guests? Introducing all your guests in the weeks leading up to your wedding will build a communal and comfortable feeling among your guests.
With Guestie, you can set up an event for your wedding and create profiles for your guests. They can scroll through the guest list and click on other guests’ profiles to learn more about them! They can even play the Name Game, which allows guests to get familiar with putting names to faces. That way, when they meet in person, they aren’t forgetting names right after the handshake. If you have family and friends from two different areas, or from across the world, this is an excellent way for them to learn more about each other before meeting in person!
Start With a Song or Dance That Everyone Knows
Before the spouse-parent dances, it would be a good idea to encourage guests to get up out of their seats and get close to the dance floor to watch. After the last of these dances is complete, picking a fun song everyone knows will help them take those 2-3 steps to nudge them on the dancefloor. Get your reception started with a couple of well-known classics with a fun beat. There are classics for every decade, so if you want to make everyone feel included, play one from each! That way, guests both old and young will feel called to shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake their boooooties.
Reception Food and Drink
To have the best wedding reception, you’ve got to keep your guests energized and hydrated! Don’t forget about the food and drink at your reception–they’re a big part of your guest’s experience. Here’s your recipe for success:
Consider an Open Bar
An open bar at your wedding reception is a necessity. An open bar means that the hosts foot the bill, so guests don’t have to worry about bringing cash with them or spending money on drinks while at your wedding. This will ensure that all guests will be able to let loose and have fun without having to worry if they have enough in their pocket to cover the tip! Not to mention they’ll probably stick around longer and keep the party going later.
Keep Food Options Available Throughout The Night
There’s nothing worse than wanting to stick around at a party, but needing some grub for energy and having to leave. Your wedding guests are going to be dancing their hearts out. They will more than likely need to refuel at some point in the night if you want them to stick around, so keep snacks available throughout your reception. There’s nothing like the joy brought on by some late-night pizzas!
Have a Hydration Station
Your hydration station can be a bucket of water at your bar, a water fountain, or even a stand-alone refrigerator stocked up with water, Gatorade, or anything of the non-alcoholic variety. You can even add sodas or other fun non-alcoholic beverages to your hydration station for kids and sober adults! After a night of dancing and drinking, they’ll definitely be parched. Not to mention, having a non-alcoholic hydration station will keep your guests from getting too intoxicated because they’ll have an alternative to wine, liquor, beer, and Whitelaw!
Do Your Vendor Research
Lastly, the most important aspect of reception food and drink is your vendors. Be sure to choose them wisely and do plenty of research before booking. Your food and drink vendors can make or break your big night, so be super intentional about who you book. When shopping around for vendors, try some of their meals. Ask previous clients who used the vendor at the same venue about their experience. We promise it’s worth the time you put in to have the best wedding reception ever!
Provide Easy Entertainment
While wedding receptions are a great opportunity for guests to let loose and have some fun while celebrating you and your partner, some guests will prefer a bit more structure than the typical reception provides. Dinner and dancing are both super fun, but there’s nothing like a few additional activity options to keep the party going. Adding a few extra activities to your wedding reception will also keep those guests that seek structure or like to stay busy with plenty of different options throughout the night.
Wedding Photo Booth
We’ve never been to a wedding where the photobooth or hired portrait photographer hasn’t been a hit. People love making memories, especially when they get to take those memories home with them! Having a photobooth at your wedding (bonus points if you provide props) will keep your guests entertained for hours!
Want to encourage guests to take photos at your wedding while also giving them another fun activity to be a part of? Supply guests with polaroid cameras throughout your reception venue and encourage them to channel their inner photographer for a bit. Have a scrapbook that they can put the photos in at the reception. That will be a fun memento to look back on for years. And guests can bring some shots home with them as well!
Wedding guests love games. They’re a great way to bond with other guests and take a break from dancing. Cornhole is usually a big hit and you can have fun personalizing the cornhole boards with your wedding theme. Horseshoes and bocci are also fan favorites depending on the venue! I mean really, who doesn’t love a little friendly competition?
Conversation Starters or Fun Cards
A couple more activities that you can provide guests with are conversation starter prompts or a few fun card games. Conversation starter cards are a great way for guests that are seated at the same table but don’t know each other very well to connect. And fun card games like The Impressions Game, What Do You Meme, or Texas hold’em, are a great way for guests that are already acquainted to share a few laughs with each other while cooling down after the Cupid Shuffle.
Don’t Forget to Be Accommodating
The number one thing that will make your wedding reception the BEST wedding reception ever is making sure that you have totally streamlined your guest experience. This means making sure that you’re being considerate of the needs of all of your guests. Whether old, young, single, or married. Here are a few ways you can make sure everyone feels taken care of at your wedding.
Multiple Seating Options
Providing multiple seating options to accommodate guests is a must at any good wedding reception. For introverts, provide smaller table options so that they don’t have to sit at a communal table all night, surrounded by strangers at all times. For the extroverts, provide an open lounge area so that they can sit and chat with whoever is brave enough to take a seat next to them. Grandma, grandpa, and any other family members that aren’t as agile as they used to be need a few tables near the dance floor so that they can still feel like they’re part of the action. These are just a few examples–you know your guests better than we do, so you may have different needs. However, the more accommodating you are with seating options and areas, the longer your guests will stick around! So don’t skip this tip!
Reception Part 1 & Reception Part 2
Splitting your reception into two parts will allow guests that aren’t able to stay for the full night a way to gracefully exit without feeling guilty for leaving early. Or like they have to sneak out! An easy way to do this is by ending the first part of your reception at the venue and moving to a second location afterward for an after-party. Of course, all guests are welcome to come to the afterparty. However, if they are unable to stay out late, they won’t have an overwhelming sense of FOMO leaving the venue while everyone else keeps dancing. Because everyone else will be leaving too!
Sprinkle in Some Personality
Our last recommendation for how to have the best wedding reception is this: Make sure there’s a little bit of personality sprinkled throughout your reception! There are so many ways you can add a bit of you and your partner to your reception; however, we definitely have a few favorites! For example, signature drinks. Signature drinks are a great way to make your guests feel like they’re getting to know you just a liiiiitle bit better. Especially if your signature drinks are significant to you and your partner’s love story–the drinks you shared on your first date, perhaps?
We also love the thought of personalizing your send-off. Instead of opting for traditional sprinklers or confetti, consider choosing something a bit more you. If you and your partner like to garden, you could have guests shower you in dried petals as you exit. If you and your partner are artistic, you could have guests send you off in a whirlwind of technicolor streamers! You can also personalize your exit by choosing a unique-to-you exit vehicle. Are you and your partner outdoors enthusiasts? Then bike off into the sunset together! Do you love adventure? Exit your party in a decked-out RV and kick start your cross-country honeymoon road trip. There are so many fun ways to personalize your exit, so don’t miss out!
If you need more tips for planning your wedding, we’ve got so much valuable information on our blog! If you’re still in the process of planning decor, food, and other visuals elements for your big day, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok for inspiration!