Weddings are fun by definition, but if your goal is to make your big day a memorable moment for your family and friends — not just for you and your groom — you’ll want to focus your attention on your guests. Here are ten secrets to throwing the Most Fun Wedding…. Ever!!!
Okay, they’re not secrets—just excellent ideas we encourage you to steal.
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 ceremony 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.”
Guests are surprisingly good at rolling with the (non-traditional wedding) punches, if they know what they’re getting into up front. If you’re having a reception where you’re only serving cake and punch, let people know on the invite. They’ll come with full stomachs, ready to have a good time. (Or they’ll decide they’re not into it and won’t come at all. Guests are grownups like that.) Use your invitation, a wedding website if you have one, and word of mouth to let people know what kind of party they’re in for.
Almost as important as keeping the party going is keeping it moving in the right direction, Fisher says. “Sitting around and waiting is a buzz kill,” she warns. “So, work with your planner to ensure things happen at the right speed. Cocktails should be no more than one hour. Also, 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.”
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.”
According to Fisher, “The key to a super fun reception is much 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.
According to Fisher, “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 at a reception where the hors d’ oeuvres have already been wiped out by other guests,” Fisher 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.”
Maybe 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.
Wedding toasts are all about quality over quantity, so ask anyone who’s speaking to make sure their toasts are no more than two minutes. If they have any longer anecdotes, they can feel free to share at the rehearsal dinner.
To keep the little ones entertained throughout the night (and to give their parents an opportunity to hit the dance floor), give them their designated area. In a separate room, arrange for a babysitter to set up and oversee movies, games, crafts or a kid-centric dance party. You can also set up a few tables topped with coloring books, crayons, games, and small toys.
Let’s put it this way: You won’t have a good time at your reception if you can’t take two steps without snagging your train, right? So, after the first dance, brides can swap the veil and bustle for a fabulous little white dress or jumpsuit, and grooms can change to a more relaxed suit. If you and your new spouse are comfortable enough to move freely, you’ll dance more, chat more, laugh more and eat more cake—that’ll rub off on your guests.
When putting together your wedding, the goal is to balance your what you love, as well as what your multi-generational guest list will like. That may mean mixing some Motown into your indie rock playlist of wedding reception songs, or it may mean having board games and a cocktail hour.