Of course we want you to have fun at your own wedding. But as Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group, points out, making your wedding a fun experience for guests is a major component to pulling off a successful wedding. “There are probably 50 to 250 more people who are also choosing to spend five-plus hours with you, so it is important to keep their comfort and enjoyment in mind,” Nichols said. So here’s how to ensure that yours is the most fun wedding reception your guests will ever attend — trust us.
1. Keep your guests comfortable.
The No. 1 enemy of fun? Discomfort. Case in point: If your guests are sweating to proverbial death at your outdoor reception or getting eaten alive by mosquitos, they might not enjoy the signature cocktails or epic dessert bar you so carefully crafted. Consider what your guests will go through at your wedding, Two Little Birds Planning owner Jaclyn Fisher says, and then go from there.
For example, if you’re hosting an outdoor fête with a chance of serious heat on the side, consider greeting your guests with cold lemonade or tea. Conversely, winter wedding guests would love a cup of hot cider or cocoa when they arrive, she says. “A basket of flip flops near the dance floor is a much appreciated gift for your guests’ tired, dancing feet,” she adds. “And be ready with amenities in the restrooms full of items that your guests might need including mints, safety pins, and a sewing kit. These little extras will make your guests feel well taken care of.”
2. Keep the party moving.
Almost as important as keeping the party going is keeping it moving in the right direction, Nichols says. “Sitting around and waiting is a buzz kill,” she warns. “So work with your planner to ensure things happen at the right pace. Cocktails should be no more than one hour. And guests shouldn’t wait more than 20 to 30 minutes between courses. Guests notice when things drag, and ultimately they want to get on the dance floor.”
3. Get your guests on the dance floor ASAP.
According to Fisher, “The key to a super fun reception is a lot of dancing, but waiting until the end of the night to get your guests on the dance floor could be a mistake.” Rather, she says, open up the dance floor the second you finish your first dance. “The focus is already on the dance floor and guests will be excited to join the couple for a few songs,” she explains.
4. Add in some unexpected entertainment.
Guests come to your wedding expecting to eat and dance. What they don’t expect? A salsa performance or palm reader, says Fisher. “Lawn games such as oversized jenga, giant chess or checkers, bocce ball, and corn hole are a great way for guests to have some good old-fashioned fun,” she adds. “Or a tasting station with beer, wine, and your favorite spirit, complete with an expert, offers a unique interactive experience.”
5. Make sure there is enough food.
According to Nichols, “A fed guest is a happy guest!” That means making sure there is ample food for every guest to have his or her fill. “There’s nothing worse than arriving to a reception where the hors d’ oeuvres have already been wiped out by other guests,” Nichols says. Plus, she adds, you’ll want to talk to your caterer to make “sure that the flow of the food service will be efficient and timely so that guests will have more than enough to meet their needs.”
6. Offer a late-night snack.
Your guests may have the nibbles after an intense workout on the dance floor. If you feed them a snack in the wee hours of your wedding, Fisher says, they’ll be forever grateful. “Treat guests to some of your local favorites with a late-night food station guaranteed to give everyone the extra energy needed to keep the party going,” the Philadelphia-based planner suggests, adding that, “Philly soft pretzels, Philly cheesesteaks, and Federal Donuts are among the favorites of my Philadelphia couples.”
For BRIDES, by Jillian Kramer.