45 tips to pull off an epic wedding reception.

After months of planning, your wedding day arrives and seems to fly by in the blink of an eye.  This is why it’s so important for you to live in the moment and make the best of every second.  Here are our 10 secrets to an epic wedding reception:

45 - Set a good example

When it’s time to showcase the wedding dance, typically the bride and groom are right in the center of the crowd. The guests take their cues from the couple. If your guests see you smiling, eating, drinking & dancing – guess what, they will too! So, show them how it’s done and enjoy each special moment of your big day.

44 - Make a grand get away

Give your farewell just as much attention as your entrance. At this point the remaining guests have  partied the night away with you and stayed until the last song, why not treat them to something special? Sky lanterns, sparklers, bubbles, and even wedding glow sticks by Glowtopia for your guests to wave are just a few great choices. The perfect send off will leave your guests in absolute wonder and in awe of what an epic night they just had.

43 - Do a final check 1-2 weeks prior to your big day

Have a final meeting or at least a phone call to confirm every detail with your venue event manager and other vendors. You don’t want any surprises or even questions on the day of your wedding. Final payments, final guest counts, table placements, timing and any other day-of logistics should be confirmed. If you are not hiring a day of coordinator make sure your vendors have a point of contact (not you or your new spouse). Your vendors will communicate with them if needed on your wedding day. If anything goes wrong it should be fixed before you ever even hear about it.

42 - Timing is key

Creating a wedding day timeline with the help of The Spruce wedding template helps you stay organised and on track when your day arrives. The more detailed you can make the plan, the better. It should start as early as “hair and make-up” and go all the way to the reception. Allow yourself an extra 15 minutes to account for any unforeseen traffic or hold ups. Also, a copy of the timeline should be provided to anyone involved in the wedding; vendors, wedding party and parents. Your reception timeline should be reviewed with your DJ because as the MC it’s their job to ensure that it flows seamlessly.  Most importantly, stick to the timeline as best you can. Starting the ceremony or reception too far off schedule can frustrate your anxious guests.

41 - Keep those dancing feet happy

Every bride and most female guests want to have stunning shoes on the wedding day. Unfortunately the most stunning shoes are usually the least comfortable. They look great, but they are not for dancing! So bring some flat shoes or flip flops to give your feet a break. Tower Ballroom Dance offers a wide range of feminine dancing shoes options to choose from so the bride can glide through the happiest day of her life like walking on clouds. If you have room in your budget to spare,  you can provide flip-flops, flats or colorful socks for your guests too.

40 - Keep the bar close and entertainment even closer

If the space allows, keep your bar and other entertainment in the same room as the dance floor.  It’s no secret that cocktails encourage guests to loosen up.  If the bar is in another room you will lose quite a few lively dancers.  Your photo booth should also be in the same room so that guests don’t miss out on any important moments throughout the night. Finally, have your DJ right next to the dance floor, not in a corner. Andy Murphy is an award-winning interactive DJ that will make several trips to the dance floor engaging with your guests. 

39 - Set the mood with lighting

The easiest and most cost effective way to transform your reception venue is with lighting. Uplighting, texture lights, string lights, candles and lanterns all create ambiance and add warmth to your wedding. Dim lighting with a couple of LED foam batons from Festive Lights makes for a pretty fun time too! 

38 - Avoid hangry wedding guests

Make your hungry guests happy by keeping the food flowing. Wedding days are long. You are going non-stop and your guests are too. Serve the first course as early as possible. Also consider having a late night snack. Appetizer sized munchies like sliders or french fries are sure to give your guests a second wind. Other great choices include extra desserts or salty snacks like chips and popcorn.

37 - Let the DJ do their thing

Prior to hiring your entertainment, make sure you research and select a professional that you trust like Jonny Ross Music.  Your DJ should know how to really put on a show and engage your guests.  So don’t add anymore to your plate by trying to create the entire playlist for the night.  Other than your special dances and entrance/exit songs, give the DJ 5-10 additional songs you want played.  From there your DJ will read your crowd to create the right vibe.

36 - Don't plan too many events during the reception

The traditional formalities such as introductions, first dance, parent dances, dinner service, toasts & cake cutting take quite a bit of time. Your time for dancing can be pretty limited if there are too many additional events added to your timeline.

35 - Upgrade your welcome bags

Chances are, you won’t be able to greet all of your guests upon their arrival, so make out-of-towners feel welcome with a personal touch. A thank you note printed from Photobox and locally sourced treats that include snacks, sips, weatherproof essentials, and hangover helpers will make visitors feel super special.

34 - Schedule unexpected entertainment

Surprise your friends and fam with a totally unexpected event. Hire a mariachi band, belly dancer, or acrobatic act provided by Julia Charles Event Management for a serious *WOW* factor.

33 - Change into something comfortable

After your first dance, swap your veil and train for a little white dress. If you’re free to move comfortably, there’s a good chance you’ll have a lot more fun — and your guests will follow suit.

32 - Hire a wedding planner to manage the day for you

If you already have an event planner, awesome. If not, look into hiring one like Martha Brook to oversee the details of your wedding. It’s worth it since you’ll be too busy celebrating your newlywed status to organize a rockin’ entrance or a round of Champagne for toasts.

31 - Fireworks display

Is there a more magical end to a wedding than a fireworks display in the grounds of your venue? Have your wedding DJ or master of ceremonies tell everyone to gather outside before surprising them with a spectacular fireworks display offered by The UK Firework Company. Add sparklers for an extra fun element and a beautiful wedding photo opportunity.

30 - Movie screening

If your venue requires you to cut the music early due to its location or local regulations, why not create an after-wedding disco screening space offered by Add To Event? Guests can cosy up with a drink, rest their dancing feet and chill out in front of a movie. Make it one of your favourite movies as a couple, for an extra personal touch.

29 - Karaoke

If your guests are in the mood to sing and perform, Karaoke is a fun way to turn the spotlight onto them for the balance of the evening. Hire a DJ who offers karaoke if you can stay on late at your venue or make a reservation at a karaoke bar. Alternatively, what about hiring a karaoke equipment and mobile disco, like this one by Hire Karaoke?

28 - Club night

If you’re getting married in a city centre location or are within easy reach of a nearby town or city, you could always head out to a club post-wedding. Put the idea out there ahead of the day and see who might be up for continuing the celebrations elsewhere and then book a VIP table. Lots of clubs like The Union club in London will be open until 2am or 3am on a Saturday night so there’ll be plenty of time to keep dancing.

27 - Food van

Just like at the end of a regular night out, you’ll probably be feeling peckish and ready for something a little bit naughty and delicious when the dancing is over! Why not hire a street food van like the Feast It? You can enjoy late-night pizza, burgers, hot dogs or anything you fancy as you chat to your guests at the end of the night.

26 - Silent disco

If you want to stay at your venue but can’t play music out loud, a silent disco offered by The Silent Disco Company is the perfect compromise. You’ll each get a headset with different channels of music and you can dance to your favourite genre. 

25 - Stand up comedian

Why not take the weight off your feet and sit down to a comedy show at the end of the evening? Hiring a comedian like Dean Keating is a unique and unexpected wedding after party idea that guests will love. It’s a great idea if your venue won’t let you continue playing loud music but you aren’t ready to stop the laughter and fun.

24 - Party bus

If you’re getting hitched in the city, taking guests on a tour around the bright lights with some quality tunes by Booker Limo is a great way to end the night! Serve up drinks and get the disco lights going too.

23 - Throw a house party

If there aren’t large numbers of you, you might be able to go back to someone’s house for your after party. This is an excellent budget option as you can supply your own alcohol and throw on a Spotify playlist. If you’re having at back at your house and you know it could go on late, it’s only polite to warn your neighbours first – they’re unlikely to mind, it’s your wedding day!

24 - Hire aerialists, mermaids, and interactive performers

From aerialists pouring Prosecco to mermaids swimming in pools, performers create a “wow” factor at your wedding. Think about what makes the most sense at your event. Will professional dancers in disco-ball-inspired outfits help move guests to the dance floor? Do you want an entrance to remember with moving statues?

Hire a company like Alive Network that specializes in costumes, rigging, and performers. You won’t have to worry about any of the logistics. Sit back and enjoy the show.

23 - Ceilidh (Scottish Dance)

Ceilidh is a social event with Scottish folk music and singing, traditional dancing and storytelling. Hiring a Ceilidh band like the Triple Scotch Ceilidh Band is a fantastic form of entertainment for your guests at the wedding! Everyone gets to dance together and it is so much fun, hard to beat this! A favorite amongst so many couples!

22 - Offer a build-your-own cocktail bar

Have your guests participate in the mixology of their drinks with a build-your-own cocktail bar offered by Mix & Twist. The bartender will mix up the base beverage, such as a gin and tonic, then guests can add their own garnishes from an herb and botanical station. Or, host a martini bar where guests can customize their cocktail by choosing between gin or vodka, shaken or stirred, and olives or a lemon twist.

21 - Guide guests through a wine or spirits tasting

Make your bar into interactive entertainment by hosting a live tasting of your favorite wines or spirits. It’s easy. Come up with a theme, such as a tasting of beers from local breweries like Laithwaites or a whiskey flight of your favorite American and Scotch spirits. Then, have a bartender or sommelier guide groups of guests through the tasting during the reception.

20 - Mr. and Mrs. quiz

Whilst we see this game less and less at weddings, many people do still love it and so many couples love playing it! A great way to get the audience laughing and maybe find out a thing or two about each other.

19 - Ask an artist to paint the room

Commission your very own wedding art with this very creative wedding reception idea. Hire Stephanie Struth Live Event Painter to capture the scene of your wedding. Guests like watching the scene unfold on the canvas throughout the evening. Place the artist in an area where they have a good view of the room, but where guests can also standby and observe. One tip: Give the artist early access, so they can paint the background before guests arrive for dinner.

18 - Challenge guests to a game

This wedding reception idea takes advantage of the great outdoors. Set up croquet or other lawn games. Options include monogrammed corn hole, giant Jenga, and bocce ball. Set the game time to the background of bluegrass music or soft jazz by Entertainment Nation, and let guests get a little competitive, drink in hand.

17 - Marshmallows by the fire

No matter how big or small the event, something sweet by the fire will always be a welcomed treat, for all ages! Especially if you’re planning for a Summer/ Autumn wedding, having a fire outside when the weather is nice is never a bad idea!

If your event is on private land, you might need some roasting sticks for the marshmallows. They are extendable and perfect if you have children joining and want to keep them safe. You can also reuse them long after your event!

16 - Unique props for your guests

There’s one common thing that unites all of your guests – they all want to have fun!

So whether you’re getting lots of masks some props they can use on the dance floor,  it will always make for great fun and awesome pictures!

You can get something really cheap and simple but very effective, like some pixel sunglasses or an inflatable props set, they are equally fun!

15 - Role play

If you’re from an artistic background (don’t have to be, though) and maybe have some friends who are talented “actors”, ask them to do a role play for your guests!

It can be a day in the life of the couple or how they met or any story that’s truly fun and can be slightly exaggerated! It will make everyone laugh with tears, I promise you! It’s such a great ice breaker during the canapés time, for example.

16 - Concert wedding

Do you have lots of musician friends? Or maybe you’re one yourself? Why don’t you turn a corner of the venue into a stage so that you can have your friends, yourself or Wedfest Wedding Musician perform for the rest of the guests?

15 - Instrumental music

During the cocktail hour, a beautiful and non-intrusive way to create an atmosphere would be to hire an instrumental band by Entertainment Nation.

14 - Dance-off competition

If you’re hiring a live band for your wedding in the evening, ask them to organize a dance-off competition between guys/ girls or between groomsmen/ bridesmaids, and so on where everyone can rock some crazy moves on the dance floor! Best off – this idea doesn’t cost you a penny!

13 - Bonfire

Organizing a bonfire in the evening doesn’t work for any type of wedding or location but if it does, it’s such a wonderful idea! Having people around the fire is just the right way to end a very exciting day! There’s something truly magical about fire so I don’t need to convince you it’s a good idea.

12 - Confetti canons

It’s ideal during the first dance when the couple is in the middle of the stage swinging around and feeling slightly embarrassed. A brilliant way to make this much more fun and to get the party started would be to have some friends launching some confetti on stage.

Immediately, people would jump in with you and these moments turn out to be some of the most beautiful and fun wedding photos during the reception! Definitely worth doing as you can get affordable confettis from Party Delights, too!

11 - Beer pong

You may have heard about beer pong before, but have you ever seen it at a wedding? We’ll tell you, it is SO much fun! It brings complete strangers together and everyone has a good laugh! You can get affordable wedding pong tables at Zazzle. Or if your wedding venue happens to have a ping-pong table at hand, don’t miss this chance!

10 - The bride or groom to DJ

If you or your husband are passionate about DJ-ing, your wedding can be a perfect occasion to do this! Even if it’s just for a little fun, you can make some awesome beats and have the best time ever, too!

9 - Table trivia

Simply prepare a set of questions about the bride and groom and at the end, the table who got the most answers right should receive a prize- like a bottle of wine or champagne. You can get some unique wedding trivia ideas from Zion Bride.

8 - Heads or tails fun questions

Have someone organize it and get people at the tables to actually flip the coin. The last one standing gets to win a prize, of course! A bottle of champagne or a chocolate box is a simple and cheap idea to get everyone entertained.

7 - Piñata

If you’re the non-traditional type, then having a Piñata from Party Delights for your wedding is the best idea ever! It can be hung from a tree outside or somewhere inside the venue and it can even replace your wedding cake! Fill it with candies and let the fun begin!

6 - Bouncy castle

Another fantastic idea if you have children attending your wedding – have a bouncy castle to keep them happily entertained outside. You’ll soon find everyone loves it and grown-ups will most likely be trying it, too. Another one for your wedding entertainment ideas list!

5 - Slideshow sing-along

This one works really well for the groom actually- last chance to embarrass him with pictures from college, in front of his new wife and family.  Simply ask the groom’s friends or family who know him best to put together a slideshow with some really funny or embarrassing moments from his childhood. Make a poem or sing a song to describe the images.

It can go on for ages and gets the best reactions from everyone! It is also totally free!

4 - Popcorn stand

This doesn’t need much explanation, we am sure. But a popcorn stand would be such a fun (and inexpensive) idea to have for your guests especially if you have many children involved. You can hire a popcorn machine for cheap from Mersey Entertainment.

3 - Selfie stick on dinner tables

Do you have lots of younger people invited to your wedding?

Then have a selfie stick on the tables and make sure you create your wedding hashtag so they can tag you if they post the photo on social media! That way, you get to see lots of fun and silly poses during the wedding reception.

2 - Collect your guests behind the scenes moments with an app

The cost to have a professional videographer at your wedding can vary widely from several hundred to over three thousand pounds or more!  One way to collect your guests behind the scenes moments while saving some money is to seek out fun and affordable wedding video app like Vidicrew

1 - Get your guests to help make your own epic film

Your photographer is only one person, they can’t be everywhere at once. Collect as many guest photos as possible to see the different perspectives! 

Vidicrew is a wedding video app that allows your guests to easily add photos and videos to an online wedding album from any device. This includes a desktop, which is perfect for your guests who don’t have an iPhone or any smartphone for that matter. You can control who sees the photos using a specific code name for your album. Add your code to a sign, on your ceremony programs, or link it from your wedding website. Friends and family can finally share wedding images your photographer would not have captured – how awesome is that!

To conclude:

If you want your guests to talk about your wedding for a long time afterward, there’s one thing you should make sure you plan well – your wedding entertainment. Which wedding reception ideas are you going to try out for your wedding? Comment down below!

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We got to see our friends and family's moments, we otherwise would have missed.

Polly Mee | Vidicrew user