When it comes to wedding receptions, we know that giving your guests options comes to mind. Almost inevitably, you start to worry if anything more than wedding dancing will even be fun.
It can feel overwhelming to come up with non-dance ideas for your reception when you have no idea what people might be into. Wedding games are always a fun alternative at a reception, but it’s not all you have to work with.
Here are a few that we really loved (and we’re always into reading even more if you’ve got them):
If you’ll have guests seated at tables, stock up on Legos! You can even purchase them in bulk by color, if you want to keep it stylish. Trust us, those blocks have no age limit. Invite your guests to create their own Lego centerpieces and be prepared to be blown away (or at least act like it) by their creations.
Board games and puzzles are awesome additions because few things bring people together like a cardboard challenge. Cooperative games are great for adults and kids: think Pandemic and Forbidden Desert for the older crowd, and Wildcraft or Race to the Treasure for the younger. If you’re the daring type, you can always introduce a game of Cards About Matrimony after a few drinks. (It’s like Cards Against Humanity… but about weddings and marriage.)
There are so many ways you can do this one. Theme the crossword puzzle for each table (include hints and answers for the guests seated there). Theme the puzzle so that it’s all about you guys. Use pop culture themes (grunge bands from the ’90s, international capitals, US presidents, current events), make it about animals, or just do what you want. The more crossword puzzles you have the better, and invite your guests to partner up with someone they’ve never met to complete it.
A scavenger hunt is a good way to get your guests up and moving. You can stay inside and explore the reception hall, or if your reception is near a park, forest, or otherwise appropriate spot (not, say, on a street jammed with local businesses that might not love having tons of wedding guests coming and going), take it outside.
You might not have any kids at your reception, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be kids… at least, in spirit. If it makes sense for your space, why not move the reception outdoors and embrace some of the best parts of childhood? Bust out the bubbles, the rainbow chalk, and a few sets of badminton. If it feels right, set up a record player or two in strategic spots and let your guests choose their own tunes while they spot shapes in the clouds.
Brunch weddings that include colorful cocktails and sangria are fabulous (who doesn’t like mimosas?), but you know what is even more fabulous? A coffee bar at your wedding, especially if you’re getting married at mid-morning. Coffee gets people chatting, chatting gets people feeling jovial, and jovial-but-not-drunk guests mean your wedding reception will be a hit. (If you’re planning a dry wedding.)
If you’re planning to host a reception well into the night, offer up blankets and a bonfire to your guests. There are few things more magical than cozying up under the stars, watching nature do its thing while a fire crackles.
One of our favorite types of receptions is the classic dinner party: long tables that can accommodate twenty people at a time, family style servings, and candles for ambiance. Everyone enjoyed four incredible courses, lots of wine, and by the end of the night everyone knew everyone quite well.
Consider hiring a local band that plays classic rock, classical music, or jazz. Sure you can dance to each of those, but if your wedding is outdoors and there’s plenty to drink, people will be just as inclined to sit back and just dig.
Hire a few teachers to offer lessons to everyone at your reception. Be it contra, folk, or Old English, there are plenty of types of dance that are fun to learn in groups. Participation can always be optional, and if the only pros are the teachers, it’s more likely the whole gang will jump in and learn.