When you imagine your wedding reception, do you picture time-honored traditions like tossing the bouquet and cutting your cake? Or are you creating a party that doesn't look anything like your parents' reception? Weddings today are throwing out the rulebook and focusing on the couple, so you can include anything that strikes your fancy. If you want a wedding reception that goes beyond a DJ and dollar dance, here are some new ideas to delight your guests:
Choosing Your Music
Music isn't new to the wedding world, but you have more options than ever before. Want to build your own playlist and hook it up to some speakers? Go for it. Hire the band you and your husband-to-be saw on your first date? See if they're available. Choose a DJ who will keep your guests dancing all night long? Of course. You could even opt for all three. There are plenty of ways to get your guests on their feet.
But if you want to go beyond the classic choices, another option is to teach your guests something new. Hire hula dancers to teach an authentic Hawaiian dance for part of the night. Showcase your heritage with Irish dancers. Hire someone to teach your guests how to swing, salsa or ballroom dance for a while. It's a memorable way to shake up the dancing portion of the evening, and a fun way to get your guests involved.
Games and contests are hard to resist, so even your guests who avoid the dance floor will want to play. The activities can start at the ceremony with Mad Libs, a fun facts card about the couple and activity books for kids. Reception lawn games are a big hit for 2017 - think corn hole, croquet or a horseshoe toss. Some couples opt to go the board game route, and leave out chessboards, playing cards, Jenga and puzzles. Work the fun into your wedding favors by leaving a custom word search or lottery ticket at each seat.
Give your reception a larger-than-life feel with impressive theatrics. This doesn't always have to cost you, by the way. For example, if your venue is near a sports center, your summer wedding might be treated to a fireworks show, free of charge to you. Getting married at a winery that hosts live entertainment every weekend? Your guests could join in the after party fun. But you can also go big on your own terms, whether that be hosting a fireworks show of your own, making a grand entrance on a motorcycle, bringing in confetti blasters or a balloon drop to get the party rolling, or paying your college mascot to make an appearance.
Technology is also a surefire way to get your guests involved. Photo booths are always a hit, and some even offer beauty filters and GIF creation. Making up a wedding hashtag? A social media screen can allow your guests to tag their photos and share them with the rest of your guests on the big screen.
Feed the Fun
Food is always an event in itself, and there are endless options to add to your reception. Hire a food truck to stop by your venue, swap out cake for a sundae bar and bring in late night snacks to keep your guests fueled for more dancing. Food bars are always a hit - whether that's a coffee and cocoa bar, candy table or build-your-own decadent donut station. If you can imagine it, you can add it to your reception menu.
Ultimately, when it comes to your reception, the sky is (sometimes literally) the limit. Let your mind run wild and create an experience your guests will talk about for years to come.