Wedding Reception Ideas To Make Your Night Fun

A wedding reception can offer a lot of moving parts timeline wise…and body parts for that matter. Regardless, guests want to have fun and couples want to celebrate their family and friends for being apart of the their journey for so long.

Nowadays, there are so many variants of wedding receptions. All the blogs, magazines and Pinterests posts can have you running around like a chicken with your head cut off, wondering “what do I do?”, “what do I not do?”, “what even is a champagne tower?!”

In this post, I will give you the answers for how to make your reception as laid back as possible while still prioritizing a good time. So, if you’re a people pleaser like me, I invite you to read more.. and as always, if you have any questions, reach out to me!

1. Don’t Be Afraid To Skip Stuff During Your Wedding Reception

Fun dancing wedding reception photos with direct flash and colorful editing. Funny wedding reception dancing photos. Tie limbo

Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way. You know when you’re shopping and pick up a piece of clothing and go “can I see myself wearing this?” and if the answer is no, then you put it back? Now, I want you to do the same thing with every little thing that a wedding reception entails. Think about cutting your cake, having your first dance, listening to toasts, etc. If you are not 100% excited about it, then skip it.

I always tell my clients, “if you’re miserable, no smile can hide that.” Meaning, if you aren’t genuine in your emotions then you look stiff, awkward, and unrelaxed in photos. My style is based around authenticity. I like to capture the true emotions of the day. So save yourself some stress and time and just cut out all the unimportant stuff… never let anyone tell you that you have to do something… even if that person is paying for the wedding.

Especially, if you are prioritizing dancing, then don’t be afraid to cut stuff out. It will allow your guests to party without interruption.

2. Have A Live Band At Your Wedding Reception

interactive live wedding band with cool lights and fun vibe. timeless and ambient

The Dickens Band, North Carolina

So, I know that I just told you to never let anyone tell you what you should be doing, but this is a suggestion. Having a band or not having a band depends of your vision for the wedding. I have been to plenty of weddings that use a DJ or even a Spotify playlist and the guests have great time. However, nothing gets the party going like a good live band (emphasis on the good).

Not only does a band do music but they also can give announcements and direction to guests. For example, if you have 300 guests at your wedding and you want them to line up around the dance floor for your first dance, it would be pretty hard to do direct them. But if you have a band, they can easily announce what needs to be done, and everyone hears them perfectly.

Now, think about the aesthetic of your wedding. I find most couples that value timelessness, and ambience also find value in a live band. Bands can add something special to the look of your wedding reception.

My advice is to think about your guests. Are they the type to interact with a live band? If so, then a live band would be great investment. From my experience, I can confidently say that a live band knows how to keep the party going and they know when to slow it down and give your guests a break.

3. Do Toasts After Dinner Is Served

Ambiance at wedding reception, lighting ideas for wedding reception, candid and meaningful wedding reception photos

view post

Alright, now for the thing I consider the most important. I tell ALL my couples “Do your toasts and speeches after dinner is served!!”

Your guests are hungry, and tired. They will thank you for letting them eat first. Think of it like a dinner and a show, or a movie with popcorn.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen speeches go on and on and on, without an end in sight and everyone is looking around wondering when the food is going to be served.

Pro Tip: let your photographers eat after the wedding party but before the guests, so they are finished with their food the same time you are and they can get back to work once things start picking up again. If they eat at the end, they will likely miss important photos or miss their dinner.

4. Approve Your Song List Beforehand

Fun dancing wedding reception photos NO flash and colorful editing. Funny silly wedding reception dancing photos.

my wedding playlist

Music taste varies from person to person… and while there seems to be a general consensus on what wedding music is, with this new age of weddings, couples are straying further and further away from traditional. This can leave your band or DJ a little lost on what you might want playing during your big day.

Music sets the tone for everything, and one song can ruin the vibe. I can’t tell you how many times I have been at a relaxing, mature wedding and Baby Shark comes on the speakers. Suddenly there’s heads turning with confused faces and your wedding morphs into a children’s birthday party.

Now, I know that it’s probably impossible to approve every single song for your wedding reception, but this is my advice.

  1. Give your band or DJ a list of “do not plays”, so even it a song is requested, they know not to play it.
  2. Give your band or DJ a list of “must have’s”, so you can hear your favorite songs and it gives them a general idea of what kind of music to play.
  3. Most importantly, hire someone you trust!! Not just a person you trust… hire a business you trust! Invest in vendors you trust so you can relax on your wedding day!

5. Don’t Offer Too Many Fancy Food Options… Keep The Reception Flowing

Romantic wedding reception dinner lighting and ambiance in the mountains of virginia

Hanks Grille and Catering

Picture this… it’s Thanksgiving, you’ve got your plate and you’re in line to get your food. You’ve been waiting all day for this and your mouth is watering… if only the person in front of you would get to moving!

That’s how it can feel at a buffet wedding. Sticking to the basics will allow your guests to get through the line faster, so that everyone can eat quicker and enjoy more time to munch and socialize over dinner.

Same thing applies to plated meals… stick to the basics (nothing too fancy), offer 1-2 options, and there will be less room for mistakes when food is being served.

My advice is to offer two meats, 1-3 sides (veggies and starches), and bread… you can’t go wrong bread, ever. Keep drink options basic. Always offer plain water. Don’t be afraid to have simple things like canned sodas, water bottles, and simple desserts like cookies or brownies.

If a fancy wedding reception is what you desire, I would recommend investing in fancy decor before fancy food. Prioritize taste over looks!

Fun dancing wedding reception photos with direct flash and colorful editing. romantic wedding reception dancing photos

Overall, the best way to get the most out of your reception is to keep it simple, focus on people, music, and keeping your timeline easy going. If you are still feeling overwhelmed with planning, I always recommend hiring a wedding planner who is also an of-day coordinator. You can communicate your vision to your planner and they will help you effortlessly put together the wedding of your dreams.

A Wedding Planner that I recommend: Heart and Soul Weddings

Elegant Outer Banks Beach House Wedding

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