You’re probably looking for fun wedding reception ideas and unique things to do at a wedding reception, or fun wedding reception ideas, so we’re here to show some fun wedding reception ideas, activities and unique ways to celebrate your special day.
The wedding reception is the largest part of your wedding day. Yes, getting married at the ceremony is the most important and is the reason why everyone is there, but the reception is the fun part that everyone looks forward to.
It’s so much fun to plan the moment after your wedding where family and friends gather around to enjoy the celebration of your love. We have some great tips on how to make your wedding reception the best you can, so that you can make this special day complete with a fabulous party.
Awesome Wedding Reception Ideas, Activities & Unique Things To Do
1. Be You!
Every bride and groom is different. Don’t try to have the wedding that everyone else has.
And don’t try to compete with any other wedding you’ve been to. Your wedding day should be about you and your groom…no one else.
Be sure to have the wedding reception you both want and the picture perfect wedding you are dreaming of.
Don’t try to please everyone else, because you will look back on your day and not recognize it as the day you envisioned.
2. Start with a Fun Cocktail Hour
A lot of brides will have a cocktail hour before their wedding reception while the bride and groom are taking their pictures.
You can decide if you want the cocktail hour completely separate from the reception, or if you would rather just have an extra long reception and open it up for the hour before.
A cocktail hour is a great way to break up a longer reception. You can have your guests hang out in another place that isn’t their tables for the night, and have them hang out in a different area instead.
This helps create variety during your big day, so it seems that there is more to do.
3. Put Thought Into Seating
While figuring out where everyone will sit during your wedding reception think about guests who already know each other and will get along during your reception.
You and your spouse won’t be as readily available to make introductions, so putting thought into where guests will sit during your wedding reception will avoid having uncomfortable guests.
4. Have Fun Wedding Favors
While wedding reception favors are meant to give the guests something to bring home in memory of this special day, you can have fun with these favors.
To be honest, most guests don’t even keep the favors, especially if it has the names and the date of the wedding.
How about giving your guests something they will actually use and enjoy? Edible favors are usually the most favored, as you can almost guarantee those will be consumed.
You can go for something sweet like personalized chocolates, candy, cookies, cake pops, or a small jar of honey, or something like mints, mini champagne bottles, or infused olive oil.
There are so many options out there on the internet for fun favors that you to purchase these days. You can even do a favor that guests will be entertained by during your wedding reception like…
5. Have a Photo Booth
Photo booths are all the rage right now and for good cause. First, guests can have a fun time taking silly pictures with props and cool backgrounds with all their friends and family.
And then, they get to take that special keepsake home with them to enjoy forever. Photos are always a great idea for a favor!
6. Get Creative With The Entertainment
What about having a wedding with a characterist where they draw your guests as cartoon characters?
Or you can have professional dancers or musicians putting on a show. Whatever ideas you may have, add in some creative entertainment that your guests will be sure to love.
Try the Wedding Shoe Game with fun questions for the bride and groom to answer.
7. Set Up Games
Outdoor lawn games are always a good time, especially during the cocktail hour. But you can actually have the games set up throughout the reception as well.
Start with fun games like Cornhole, Giant Jenga, and Giant Connect 4. Find a company that has some awesome bundles just for weddings that you can even customize for the bride and groom!
Your guests will love the extra fun touches they get to enjoy.
8. Invest in the Music
Your music can make or break your party. Depending on the vide you are going for you can hire a DJ, band, duo, or specialty group to perform during your reception.
You’ll want to make sure that if you are doing dances, your DJ or band will have your chosen wedding song checklist all ready for you to dance to, like your first dance song, or your Father Daughter dance song, Mother Son Dance Song, etc.
The music is what will set the tone of the evening, so be sure to put some thought into how you want your music to be played.
9. Plan for Kids
Now that the wedding ceremony is over, the kids are going to need a way to get out their wiggles.
Kids who’ve just sat through a wedding ceremony may need some activities to entertain them during your wedding reception.
Offer some kid-friendly games that kids can do without much adult supervision or interaction so that they can have independent play during your fun wedding reception.
Or set up a kids table full of activity sheets, crayons, and table games. We even have a free wedding activity book for you to download!
10. Choreograph Your First Dance
I’m sure you’ve seen it on YouTube a hundred times, the famous choreographed wedding reception first dance.
Now is your chance to shine as a newlywed couple, if you really want to make your wedding reception fun then it’s a must to make the first dance something that wows your guests and perhaps involves them too for some laughter and fun.
Or get your bridal party involved, or mom or dad. Those are sure to be memories that will last forever.
We actually did a bridal party dance for my sisters wedding 12 years ago when this was a new thing, and people are still talking about it!
11. Put on a Show
Entertain your guests with a slideshow of your relationship, or a fun game like the Wedding Shoe Game.
In this game, the couple sits in chairs, back-to-back and each holds one of the brides shoes and one of the grooms shoes.
The DJ or emcee will then ask several questions about the bride and the groom like “Who is the best driver?” or “Who is the messiest”.
Then the bride and groom will hold up the shoe of who they think is the answer. It’s sure to give a laugh to all your guests as the bride and groom duke it out.
12. Customize Food Options
If you really want to make your wedding reception fun, consider having a buffet style meal where guests can create their own food options.
There are many ways to do this, but we’ve found this to really be a fabulous way to ensure all guests have food they love and your guests leave full as well as happy knowing that their food options were enjoyed during your fun wedding reception.
Add in some of your favorite foods too! Who’s to say a wedding has to have chicken, fish or beef?
Rent your favorite food truck, have the best local restaurant cater…just bring in food you will actually enjoy, and your guests will love it too!
Plastic plates at your wedding don’t have to be tacky!
13. Set Up Fun Stations
There are tons of ideas for stations you can add to your wedding.
You can do food stations or food trucks…a whiskey bar or a cigar bar…a s’mores station or a chocolate fountain.
All of these can add a little bit of your personality to your wedding reception, and it can be more fun too!
14. Get Creative with Dessert
Sure wedding cake has always been the norm at weddings, but why not mix it up?!
Especially if the bride or groom don’t even like cake. These days, there are so many different options to choose from to have great desserts at your wedding.
You could do a candy bar, a donut wall, a popcorn machine, a pie bar, or s’mores station.
There is seriously unlimited options for what you can do. Remember the wedding is about you and your groom, so pick your favorite dessert and serve that at your wedding instead.
Of course you can always do a small cake for tradition sake, and we recommend grabbing a very affordable option at Sam’s Club.
15. Set Up An Awesome Send Off
The send off is a great way to close out your night, and there are tons of awesome ideas out there to do this.
Plus..think of the amazing pictures you can get! You can do anything from bubbles to ribbon wands, sparklers to led balloons. Check out our full list of wedding reception send off ideas.
If sparklers are your dream, check out I Love Sparklers where they’ll even customize your tags to go on them, and they have confetti bombs as well!
16. Add Personalized Touches Wherever You Can
I’m a redhead, so I grew up LOVING The Little Mermaid of course. So I walked down the aisle to an instrumental of “Kiss The Girl”. Everyone thought it was so unique and so ME.
My husband is a pro fisherman, so we had little fish bowls on the tables with tiny fishing poles.
Traveling is one of our favorite things, so we had photos of all of our travels at each table, and named the tables different places we have been.
Think of things that are special to you and your fiancé and add in the little touches that will mean the most.
Awesome Wedding Reception Ideas & Activities
Here’s a quick list of fun ideas you can do at your wedding reception.
- Choose personal music
- Do an alternative guest book
- Do something different for your unity ceremony
- Have fun games and activities for cocktail hour
- Always have something going on
- Add personalized touches to your decor
- Write your own vows and add in some funny wedding vows
- Involve your wedding guests
- Play the silly group dances and funny wedding songs
- Have surprise entertainment
- Choose food your guests will love
- Think of bringing in a “midnight snack”
- Have your best man or maid of honor give a funny speech
- Pass around a GoPro or camera to create a memorable video
- Find an awesome venue that has beautiful views
- Play games at your reception
- Let your guests eat while you do your dances
- Come up with your own signature drinks
- Have mini cakes at each table
- Do an anniversary dance
- Do a selfie challenge run (Have the dj play a song, and run around to take selfies with as many guests as possible)
- Play a funny song for the garter toss and bouquet toss song
- Do an alternative bouquet and garter toss
- Add pieces of paper for guests to write advice, or date ideas
- Do a dollar dance
- Have an awesome dessert bar
- Do a “who gets the cake” money jar…whoever gets the most money in their jar, gets cake in the face!
- Play a funny wedding cake cutting song
- Plan fun kids activities
- Think of having an after party
- Have a sparkler exit
When you’re planning to make your wedding reception a party you’ve always dreamed of, it’s really all about putting a little bit of your newlywed personality into it.
Just add a bit of you and your significant other into your planning, and it’s sure to be the best party you’ve ever thrown!
So get creative, forget the things you’re “suppose to do” and plan your own unique and fun personalized wedding reception!
Sara, a seasoned expert in wedding planning and date ideas, brings a wealth of experience to our couples blog. With a background in the television industry and hands-on involvement in a dozen weddings, including working as a wedding assistant on "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera," Sara has an innate understanding of the magic that makes weddings truly special. Growing up with four sisters has given her unique insights into the dating world, making her a go-to source for practical and heartfelt dating advice. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her the perfect guide for couples seeking to infuse their relationships with creativity and love.