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50 Ingenious Ideas for Your Wedding Reception

It’s all about the details as you plan your wedding celebration. Whether your style is conventional or offbeat, formal or rustic casual, a bit of creativity and whimsy makes the festivities your own. Even the most traditional bride can add a surprising twist or two, whether inspired décor or unexpected entertainment, fun favors, or innovative cuisine. You may find that one — or more! — of these 50 ingenious ideas is just the inspiration you need for a reception that leaves your guests saying, “I wish I’d thought of that!”

By: Mary Wozniak

Enter Slideshow
  • Imaginative Table Settings

    Imaginative Table Settings

    Custom hand-painted maracas combine a unique place setting with a fun favor. Opt for an elegant gold and white hibiscus design, or change it up with bright fiesta colors. Shake ‘em for a kiss!

    Photo courtesy of Vintage Baby Doll/Etsy

  • Imaginative Table Settings

    Imaginative Table Settings

    Delight your wedding guests with playful party crackers, filled with a paper mustache or crown and vintage toys.

  • Imaginative Table Settings

    Imaginative Table Settings

    Keep your littlest guests entertained with kid-friendly extras, like curly straws and play foam. This delightful children’s table features blooming flower lollipops and a fun-filled globe ornament with silly bands and glow-in-the-dark balloons. “Chargers” drawn on craft paper leave plenty of space for artwork.

    Photo Credit: A Bryan Photo via Calder Clark

  • Imaginative Table Settings

    Imaginative Table Settings

    Set your table with a sweet souvenir of your wedding dinner — your menu custom crafted in milk or dark chocolate.

    Photo courtesy of Delysia Chocolates

  • Creative Favors

    Creative Favors

    Create your own custom bride and groom cookies for a one-of-a kind wedding favor.

    Photo courtesy of Parker's Crazy Cookies

  • Creative Favors

    Creative Favors

    Spice things up with a wedding favor that will definitely be put to good use. Gourmet spices are customized with your smiling faces.

    Photo courtesy of Spicy Wedding/Etsy

  • Creative Favors

    Creative Favors

    Because they’ll want to sleep in tomorrow… welcome your guests with a fun gift bag that includes a witty door hanger.

  • Creative Favors

    Creative Favors

    An ideal keepsake for your nautical theme or beach wedding: Personalized crab mallets accompanied by Old Bay crab seasoning.

    Photo courtesy of Apropos Roasters/Etsy

  • Creative Favors

    Creative Favors

    Welcome your friends and family to town with a clever gift box that salutes your home state. Customized designs in a variety of colors and sizes are available.

    Photo courtesy of Ever After NY/Etsy

  • Unique Entertainment

    Unique Entertainment

    Surprise your wedding guests with an unforgettable performance by your singing waiters. They’ll be talking about it for years to come!

    Photo Credit: Alan Mooney via Singers for Hire

  • Unique Entertainment

    Unique Entertainment

    You’ll be sure to get everyone out on the dance floor when you play their favorite tunes. Include these printable song request cards with your RSVP cards.

    Photo courtesy of Charming Endeavours/Etsy

  • Unique Entertainment

    Unique Entertainment

    Fun and games keep the celebration lighthearted. Keep the crowd entertained with a game of wedding speech bingo.

    Photo courtesy of Chubby Sparrow/Etsy

  • Unique Entertainment

    Unique Entertainment

    Get the party started! Hire a flash mob for a once-in-a lifetime event.

  • Clever Drinks

    Clever Drinks

    Serve your favorite cocktails in an extraordinary sculptured ice luge. Professional ice sculptor Don Chapelle carves amazing drink luges, fountains, and even ice bars.

    Photo courtesy of Brilliant Ice Sculpture

  • Clever Drinks

    Clever Drinks

    Be inspired by this DIY bar setup, a creative addition to your outdoor rustic wedding.

  • Clever Drinks

    Clever Drinks

    Something borrowed, something brewed. Personalize your craft beer selections with printable labels.

    Photo courtesy of Make the Best Crafts/Etsy

  • Clever Drinks

    Clever Drinks

    You tied the knot, now take a shot! This replica vintage shot ski is a fun party activity, great for a winter wedding. 

    Photo courtesy of Shot Ski Shop/Etsy

  • Clever Drinks

    Clever Drinks

    What happens at the reception stays at the reception? Well, not likely! Downloadable signage adds some humor to your open bar. 

    Photo courtesy of Sunny Notes/Etsy

  • Clever Drinks

    Clever Drinks

    Wonderful for winter festivities, warm up your guests with a hot chocolate bar. Free printable labels provide a beautiful rustic presentation.

    Photo courtesy of Mountain Modern Life

  • Inspired Fare

    Inspired Fare

    Add a touch of elegance to your wedding dinner with hand-carved sorbet dishes by the ice artists at Creative Ice.

    Photo courtesy of Creative Ice

  • Inspired Fare

    Inspired Fare

    Bring out the fun-loving kid in your wedding guests with a visit from an ice cream truck. The grown-ups will enjoy the alcohol-infused frozen treats in awesome flavors like Whisky Bean and Mudslide.

    Photo Credit: Erin Mullins via Tipsy Cones

  • Inspired Fare

    Inspired Fare

    Treat your guests to a yummy buffet of flavored gourmet popcorn, with unique flavors such as sea salt caramel and piña colada.

    Photo courtesy of ConvoArtsCrafts/Etsy

  • Inspired Fare

    Inspired Fare

    Why limit yourself to just one fabulous wedding cake? Setting out a variety of layer cakes has a homespun feel, and there will surely be something for everyone.

    Photo courtesy of McCardell Photography

  • Inspired Fare

    Inspired Fare

    Add a bit of rustic style to your table. This simple but elegant cheese wheel display is a unique take on a wedding cake.

  • Inspired Fare

    Inspired Fare

    Whose favorite dishes will you choose for your reception buffet? No compromise necessary with this creative idea for a selection that features the bride and groom’s best-loved dishes. 

  • Unforgettable Décor

    Unforgettable Décor

    These gorgeous orchid-filled paper parasols are an inspired take on trendy hanging floral arrangements. 

    Photo courtesy of Rose Petals Vail

  • Unforgettable Décor

    Unforgettable Décor

    The traditional Japanese gift of 1000 paper cranes bestows one thousand years of happiness upon the wedding couple. Order a few strands or a full thousand for a lovely reception backdrop.

    Photo courtesy of Shining Crane Studio/Etsy

  • Unforgettable Décor

    Unforgettable Décor

    Add a bit of romance to the fiesta with charming tissue paper banners. Your personalized flags complement the hand-cut lovebirds and other traditional designs.

    Photo courtesy of Vintage Baby Doll/Etsy

  • Unforgettable Décor

    Unforgettable Décor

    Transform your reception site with impressive textured lighting, available in patterns to match your theme.

    Photo Credit: Jorge Lopez via J&M Entertainment

  • Unforgettable Décor

    Unforgettable Décor

    Lead your wedding guests to the festivities with a sparkling sequin floor sign. The sequined fabric shapes are cut to order and are available in a variety of shapes and colors. How about a glittery rose gold heart for your venue?

    Photo courtesy of Sparkle Pony Shop/Etsy

  • Unforgettable Décor

    Unforgettable Décor

    This lace doily piñata can also be created in your custom colors. It’s a sweet decoration that can double as a guest book: your guests add their wedding wishes, to be opened and enjoyed on your first anniversary.

    Photo courtesy of Nature Curios/Etsy

  • Unforgettable Décor

    Unforgettable Décor

    Colorful pinwheels add a touch of whimsy to your escort cards or table décor. Order custom made or opt for a DIY kit. 

    Photo courtesy of Rule 42/Etsy

  • Fun Extras

    Fun Extras

    Watch the guys go for it when the groom lets fly with this clever twist on the traditional garter toss.

    Photo courtesy of JB Conaway/Etsy

  • Fun Extras

    Fun Extras

    Opting for a donut cake? Make it even more unique with an adorable customized donut bride and groom. 

    Photo courtesy of Sam's Sweet Art

  • Fun Extras

    Fun Extras

    Don’t forget the small details that make your reception special. Your family and friends will appreciate a convenient charging station.

    Photo Credit: Capture Photography

  • Fun Extras

    Fun Extras

    Chill in the air? Keep your outdoor reception guests warm and cozy by setting out throws or pashminas in your wedding colors.

    Photo courtesy of Country Bliss Designs

  • Fun Extras

    Fun Extras

    A rustic kissing bell is a charming addition to your country wedding reception.

  • Fun Extras

    Fun Extras

    Cracker Jack boxes are a truly novel wedding treat. Fill these custom boxes with caramel corn or other snacks.

    Photo courtesy of 6 Elms Designs/Etsy

  • Preserve the Celebration

    Preserve the Celebration

    This unique guest book will make a beautiful keepsake for your future home. Your guests each add a thumbprint “leaf” and signature to your wedding tree.

    Photo courtesy of Signature Moments

  • Preserve the Celebration

    Preserve the Celebration

    Upgrade your photo booth with a fun slow motion video booth.

    Photo courtesy of The Slow Motion Booth

  • Preserve the Celebration

    Preserve the Celebration

    Capture your celebration with an on-site artist. What an extraordinary memento of a beautiful day!

    Photo Credit: The Schultzes via Wed on Canvas

  • Preserve the Celebration

    Preserve the Celebration

    They’re not just for extreme sports anymore! Attach a GoPro videocam to your drink of choice for a unique perspective on your celebration. 

    Photo Credit: Everly Studios

  • Preserve the Celebration

    Preserve the Celebration

    A lovely Dutch tradition has guests write their wishes for the happy couple to hang on the wishing tree.

    Photo courtesy of Paper Pixies/Etsy

  • Preserve the Celebration

    Preserve the Celebration

    Each of these time capsule cards designates a future anniversary. Place a card at each reception table and revel in your guests’ good wishes for years to come.

    Photo courtesy of Paper Notions/Etsy

  • Memorable Sendoffs

    Memorable Sendoffs

    What a fun idea for your travel theme or destination wedding: tiny wedding sendoff paper airplanes.

    Photo courtesy of Love Takes Flight/Etsy

  • Memorable Sendoffs

    Memorable Sendoffs

    Pretty ribbon wands, complete with bells, are a sweet sendoff alternative to confetti.

  • Memorable Sendoffs

    Memorable Sendoffs

    Exit to a shower of twinkling pompoms. The metallic poms can also be used to add sparkle to your table décor.

    Photo courtesy of Extravagant Exits/Etsy

  • Memorable Sendoffs

    Memorable Sendoffs

    The force is with you! For a very cool take on glow sticks, arm the crowd with glowing light sabers.

    Photo courtesy of Janet Howard Studio

  • Memorable Sendoffs

    Memorable Sendoffs

    Make a grand exit to the glow of LED balloons. 

  • Memorable Sendoffs

    Memorable Sendoffs

    Light up the night sky with Chinese sky lanterns. These are eco-friendly, as they are completely biodegradable.

50 Ingenious Ideas for Your Wedding Reception

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