15 Fun Wedding Reception Ideas

Forget stuffy. Be sure your guests let loose and truly enjoy your wedding with these entertaining ideas — straight from the pros!

1. Walk Down Memory Lane
Make the guest feel like integral parts of the day by incorporating them into the décor — in a gallery of meaningful photos. "We do something we like to call 'memory lane,'" says Northern California event planner Sasha Souza. "We hang pictures of the bride and groom with friends and family along the walk from the ceremony to the reception. It's a fun cocktail party conversation starter." As guests take a leisurely stroll and find pictures of themselves with you, they can reminisce and socialize.

memory lane photo wall
Photo Credit: Rochelle Mort Photography

2. Break the Ice Creatively
When you enter your reception for the first time as husband and wife, don't just take a conventional arm-in-arm stroll. "Run. Skip. Dance. Swoop in on a rope swing!" suggests Alyssa Brown of AE Planning+Design in San Francisco. Brainstorm with your groom about the most creative, appropriate way to make a big impression. This is a great way to break the ice and set up for a fun vibe for the rest of the event.

3. Play Party Games
"We did a wedding where the menus were puzzles, so each person got one piece of the puzzle at their place setting, then everyone had to put the pieces together to get the full menu description," says Brown. "Crossword puzzles are fun for the back of a program or if you have guests going on a long bus ride to get to the reception venue."

wedding mad libs
Photo Credit: Sweet Potato Shop/Etsy

4. Be Entertaining
Guests always love the energy of a live band but tend to want to hear the original artist sing their favorite tunes. As a compromise, a bride may hire a dance band but also play DJ'ed music during the breaks, or she'll arrange to have live music during some parts of the event and recorded music during others. Souza suggests combining the best of both worlds — at the same time. "We've worked with a band called The Infusion Experience," says Souza. "The DJ plays the original music while the percussion players play live. It's a huge crowd pleaser!"

5. Surprise 'em!
"Pablo Neruda is the world's most romantic poet," sats Bussen. "And a modern, pretty paperback edition of his love poems makes a wonderful, lasting guest favor that's much more meaningful that a bag of Jordan almonds! If you buy in bulk, you might get a discount — contact your bookseller directly. And don't forget to add a personalized bookmark thanking your friends and family for sharing your big day with you."

book centerpiece
Photo Credit: One Love Photo on Snippet and Ink via Lover.ly 

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Great tips! We featured this article in our own article, here: http://www.pittsburghweddingsupergroup.com/2014/12/08/8-ways-to-make-your-pittsburgh-wedding-uniquely-pittsburgh-without-being-tacky/ Hope that's okay! Collin

Is it wrong for me, being a guy, have planned most my wedding anyway? I know that sounds funny and it's really up to the bride, but it doesn't help that I'm a helpless romantic and an artist at the same time. These are great tips that I want to try out though, a stroll down memory lane is a big one for sure. I was also thinking of having everyone be barefoot. I know some people won't be able to because of their condition, but it would give a nice homely magical feel to everything. Yep, I'm excited for my wedding. http://www.manorhouseohio.com/weddingreceptions.htm

If you truly want a unique experience, I am an improvisational poet who can be brought to weddings to perform a personalized poem for the bride and groom (during the toast) and to entertain guests during the reception. Dressed in a Victorian Era costume (special costumes may be requested), children and adults are drawn into a world of poetic creativity. Based on word(s) and phrase(s) provided by them, right before their very eyes (and ears), a unique, unexpected, improvised poetry performance will appear. "You are amazing. You captured our history and the moment in a very unique and special way. Thank you!" More info at ImprovPoet.com

I love the idea of the campfire with guitarist and lattes! Such a nice chilled contrast to the party element. That's definitely going on my list. Some serious inspiration here, thanks! I've got so many ideas though that it's hard to know where you'd start. I think I'd want a chilled mellow, guitarist/singer and then a huge party band. I found this blog post that's got tips on how to avoid pitfalls and how to get it RIGHT, particularly when it comes to booking bands http://www.functioncentral.co.uk/blog/2015/03/wedding_reception_party_success/ hope this gives you all some more ideas! x

These are great ideas and that sounds fab having a percussionist alongside a DJ - I've also seen the option to have a saxophonist alongside this as well, which can make for a really chilled out vibe. If you are looking for some unique and unusual, but still great fun, ideas for entertainment then I enjoyed reading this article: http://www.warble-entertainment.com/wordpress/unusual-and-unique-wedding-entertainment-ideas/ I particularly liked the look of the walkabout acts :D Thanks again for this great piece though, Dx

Awesome tips. l quite like this ideas. <a href="http://www.scenarioweddings.com/">Cochin weddings planner</a>