If you are planning a wedding, you’ll be all too familiar with the must-haves that you need to book ahead of the big day. Although your wedding day is all about you as a couple, it goes without saying that you want your guests to have a good time and keep those dreaded lulls between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast to a minimum.
Securing an excellent caterer and an impressive band or DJ is a given, but what about those extra touches that will really imprint on the minds of your guests?
Arranging a top-notch seating chart is only the first step to keeping your wedding guests happy at the reception table. Even if you’ve deliberately seated your friends and family near others with similar interests and compatible personalities, consider providing them with fun table entertainment too. It’s an unexpected but appreciated addition that’ll be worth the small extra effort. We went to two pros—wedding planner Michael Russo and Guesterly cofounder Rachel Hofstetter—for fun ways to keep your guests entertained at the table.
You and your partner may have a hectic wedding day planned, one that starts with hair and make-up at the crack of dawn and ends well after midnight and only after the last guest has departed.
But your guests have a far less busy schedule, one that probably includes lots of waiting; waiting for you to arrive at church, waiting in line to greet you after the ceremony, waiting between the ceremony’s end and the reception venue opening for guests, then actually sitting and waiting for you and your new spouse to arrive and kick off the reception.
All that waiting can add up to many, many hours, so though traditionally couples tend to let guests fend for themselves between the reception and ceremony, increasingly, newlyweds are finding novel ways to entertain guests in the hours between the ceremony and the reception.
It doesn’t have to be expensive and, it’s easier to do if the reception is being held near where the ceremony takes place, but there are a few thoughtful things a couple can do to ensure guests don’t end up sitting in their cars for hours while they go off to have their photos taken.
Making the guestlist for a wedding is a great honour. Although the day should be about the bride and groom, it is important to recognise guests and make the day just as unique and fun.
Over the past few years of running Love and Lavender, I have seen many awesome ideas that allow your wedding to be fun for every age group, whether you are looking to entertain for the time between the ceremony and reception or throughout the evening.
Weddings are exciting, but they are hectic and can take a toll on the person planning one. You must give your guests the best and especially entertainment. The people you invite to attend your wedding expect to get the best entertainment, including food, music, and other creative activities. Still, most of them are available at the reception.
Between the ceremony and the reception, wedding guests tend to feel lost. Some sit in their cars or at the wedding venues before it officially begins. Others might even decide to leave and look for something entertaining to do.
Table of Contents
- 1 Here are ideas on how you can ensure your guests do not get bored as they wait to go to your wedding reception
- 1.1 Host nibblies and cocktails
- 1.2 Book an experience afternoon
- 1.3 Think beyond a photo booth
- 1.4 Go all out with the favours.
- 1.5 Drink Tickets
- 1.6 Fabulous Food
- 1.7 OrganiseOrganise Fun Activities
- 1.8 Get an Entertainer like Comedian, Magician or a Band
- 1.9 Guest Guide
- 1.10 Set Up a Mystery Tour for Your Guests
- 1.11 Hold A Dance-off
- 1.12 Guest Book
- 1.13 Newlywed Shoe Game
- 1.14 Commemorative Poster
- 1.15 ‘wow’ With Performers
- 1.16 Host Your Wedding In An Amazing Location
- 1.17 Serve Your Favourite Food.
- 1.18 Personal Glass
Here are ideas on how you can ensure your guests do not get bored as they wait to go to your wedding reception
Host nibblies and cocktails
Many couples arrange for cocktails and nibblies at the local pub or hire a room at the reception venue where guests can await their arrival. It is up to the couple whether they choose to cover the bar tab or just let guests pay for what they drink; however, the couple will generally cover the cost of some finger food/snacks and, of course, room hire, if there’s a charge involved.
Book an experience afternoon
If you’re holding your event out of town at a country manor house or hotel and your guests will have a few hours to while away, the venue sometimes offer discounts on their pampering services for guests of the wedding party, especially if you’re providing them with a great deal of business.
Some venues offer to pamper packages for guests that include manicures and pedicures as well as spas and facials! Others offer group wine tastings, walking historical tours of the local town and even cookery classes.
Think beyond a photo booth
Photo booths have become a wedding staple, but if you want to impress your guests, why not opt for something a little out of the ordinary? Some of the latest innovations in photo booths include selfie- stands (or iPad booths), GIF booths and ‘glam’ booths (you may have seen the Kardashians use these at their events!).
To create something spectacular, install a show-stopping backdrop for photo opportunities. Many options can be adapted to fit your wedding theme, from stunning flower walls to sparkling cascades of fairy lights.
This won’t take up lots of time, but it is one way to add an element of fun while they wait. Many photo booths come with props, allowing guests to dress up or leave video messages for the couple. Of course, you can also have the photo booth available throughout the reception.
Go all out with the favours.
Don’t underestimate the power of your wedding favours! Choose wisely, and you could keep your guests entertained for hours. Some of our favourite wedding favours have included temporary tattoos, personalised name badges (these make great conversation starters) and mini board games. If you have children at your wedding, keep them busy with treasure hunts and colouring-in books.
Add some flair to a classic ice breaker by creating conversation prompting drink tickets. “Hand guests a ticket when they enter the reception that says something like, ‘Find someone wearing red and ask them about their best vacation,'” Hofstetter says. Once they’ve mingled, they can take their ticket and new acquaintance to the bar to redeem it for a drink (a cocktail is usually a good incentive!).
Nothing gets people “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” like unique food and drinks. Make a statement with your catering choices and opt for exotic flavours, signature dishes and unexpected packaging on edible favours.
OrganiseOrganise Fun Activities
If your guests have to wait for more than an hour, you should have fun activities organised for them. To make it more fun, tell your guests in advance so that they can create teams. Have the games series drafted and various activities divided according to age groups. The best events will not make your guests sweat or find the need to change clothes. It not only keeps your guests busy but also helps them mingle and get to know each other.
Get an Entertainer like Comedian, Magician or a Band
Hiring an entertainer will ensure your guests are well entertained. Depending on the type of audience you have, you can choose to have a band, a magician, or a comedian. Such entertainment helps to set up the right mood before the party starts. As long as you get professionals, your audience will be entertained for hours. If your financial muscles allow you to get a caricaturist, they will draw beautiful portraits of the guests, and they can have lifetime keepsakes for your wedding.
Use Guesterly to create a completely customised photo guide for all your guests. Your Guesterly facebooks (either in print or digital format) are the ultimate who’s who party roster, like a yearbook for your wedding! Each includes a photo, bio and any other fun details for every person there, so everyone feels welcomed and instantly involved. It’s also a beautiful wedding day keepsake.
Set Up a Mystery Tour for Your Guests
While it’s always good to let your guests know what you have in store for them, a surprise would be great, mainly if the guests consist of your family and close friends. They will not be expecting anything more than just the ordinary. Please give them a pleasant surprise by organising a mystery coach or a bus tour with different interesting stop-offs in a neighbouring town. However, confirm the number of people attending so that you have enough space for everyone. Some of the ideal stop-offs include some family-friendly spots like a bowling alley. If your guests consist of adults only, take them for a wine tasting activity in a snazzy local bar. Choose where to take your visitors carefully so that they all feel comfortable and well-entertained.
Hold A Dance-off
This is so much fun, especially for kids and, if there’s one way to help guests build up an appetite, it’s with an energetic event like a dance-off.
Ideally, it should be held somewhere en route to the reception venue, such as a relative’s house or even a room at the venue itself. In the interests of fairness, you may want to organise the competition according to age category, with a small medal or prize for each winner. Don’t make it too serious and include fun dances like Grease Lightning or Thriller or even a dorky free dance category. You’ll have the crowd in stitches, and it’s the type of activity that kids will love.
While signing a book is not popular nowadays, it is one of the best ways to interact with your guests. You can make it enjoyable by asking them some questions and allow them to speak their minds. It would be fun to read them later after the wedding.
There are so many ideas on how to entertain your wedding guests between the ceremony and reception; all you need is to be a little creative. However, always consider the majority of the people you expect to be among your guests. You have to do all it takes to make this day count. Take time to plan the content of the entertainment. The efforts you put into it will payback.
Newlywed Shoe Game
Place two chairs back-to-back on the dance floor for you and your partner. Remove both of your shoes, then trade a shoe with your new spouse so that you’re holding one of each. Have guests ask a series of questions about your relationship (i.e. “Who will do most of the cooking?” “Who said ‘I love you first?”). After each question, hold up the shoe of the person you think is the answer to the question.
Instead of your run-of-the-mill guest book, have a custom poster designed for your big day. Guests sign the poster, and you have a beautiful art piece to frame and hang in your house for years to come.
‘wow’ With Performers
You don’t have to stick to a string quartet as your entertainment between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast- think outside the box to get your guests talking. There are so many more obscure acts that can be hired for your wedding day, from live painters to palm readers and comedians. For traditional weddings, opt for an opera singer or a harpist, or for the more eccentric couples, consider circus acts or singing waiters.
Host Your Wedding In An Amazing Location
At The Brewery, we pride ourselves on being the ideal place for those looking to host a unique wedding. We have a wide variety of rooms, all of which come with that all-important wow factor to impress your guests. From small intimate spaces to huge areas fit for hundreds of people, we have the right place for you. What’s more, The Brewery has a wealth of interesting history and royal connections, which can all be tied into your day.
Think about any fun activities that you’d like to include on your special day; some of these may need larger rooms or outside spaces. You’ll need to take this into account when looking for a location.
Serve Your Favourite Food.
Making the day unique to you as a couple means including all the things you like – and that includes the food. Many people believe that a wedding breakfast should be an elegant, fancy affair. This is great if this is the type of food that you enjoy but if not, feel free to choose something different. If your favourite food is fish and chips or a steak dinner, why not go with that? Your guests will enjoy having something a bit different if they know it reflects you.
Have you ever been to a wedding or a party where you misplaced your glass, confused it with someone else’s, or the service staff is good and cleans it up faster than you can take your next sip? It can be frustrating and wasteful. Avoid this hassle by giving everyone their personalised cup or heart-shaped tag that they can hold onto all night long without misplacing it.