Wedding Reception Forum

Cocktail Hour & Reception Entertainment/Activities

I'm trying to come up with some ideas for entertainment and/or activities for our guests during cocktail hour and the reception other than a photo booth. We are having a 30s/40s Old Hollywood meets Rustic Chic themed wedding in the Fall. We are going to have some dancing entertainment for guests but I'm looking for ideas of things they can DO or experience while we mingle, if they so choose. Not many of our family members are dancers so we fear the dance floor will remain empty. We'd rather have things for them to do if they aren't eating/socializing.

Anyone have any ideas?

Re: Cocktail Hour & Reception Entertainment/Activities

  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited November 2013
    Adults do not need entertainment and activities. They can entertain themselves with good refreshments, music, and conversation.

    ETA:  Also, your theme confuses me. I cannot fathom pairing old Hollywood glam with rustic. Just....why?


    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    doeydoRebeccaB88SKPM
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree with Addie that guests really don't need to do anything other than visit with people.  Often at weddings, some of the people that gather have not had a chance to see one another for some length of time. 

    This is a good time to have the guest book available for people to sign.  The last few weddings I have attended, the guest book had an interactive "spin" to it.  The couple may have made an album with their engagement pictures.  Another couple used their photo booth to have guests place a strip into an album.  Guests were encouraged to write notes rather than simply sign their names.  That was more than enough of an "activity" to do.  Trust your guests will know how to entertain themselves.
  • When did it start that brides think that they need to entertain guests with games?  Food and drinks and conversation is enough to keep them "entertained" for an hour or so.
    doeydoRebeccaB88
  • manateehuggermanateehugger member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited November 2013
    Hollywood and Rustic...alrighty. 

    Anyway, yes - no activities needed. Think about when you go out to a bar or go out to eat with friends. Do you have "activities" beyond good food/drink, conversation, and company? Nope - because that's all you need to have a fabulous time. People know how to attend weddings. Relax.
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    doeydoclimbingsingleSKPM
  • sarahtrg said:
    I'm trying to come up with some ideas for entertainment and/or activities for our guests during cocktail hour and the reception other than a photo booth. We are having a 30s/40s Old Hollywood meets Rustic Chic themed wedding in the Fall. We are going to have some dancing entertainment for guests but I'm looking for ideas of things they can DO or experience while we mingle, if they so choose. Not many of our family members are dancers so we fear the dance floor will remain empty. We'd rather have things for them to do if they aren't eating/socializing.

    Anyone have any ideas?
    Do you mean you are staging some sort of performance for your guests? That may not go over well and is absolutely not needed.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    sarahtrg said:
    I'm trying to come up with some ideas for entertainment and/or activities for our guests during cocktail hour and the reception other than a photo booth. We are having a 30s/40s Old Hollywood meets Rustic Chic themed wedding in the Fall. We are going to have some dancing entertainment for guests but I'm looking for ideas of things they can DO or experience while we mingle, if they so choose. Not many of our family members are dancers so we fear the dance floor will remain empty. We'd rather have things for them to do if they aren't eating/socializing.

    Anyone have any ideas?
    I can't even picture these two themes blended together.....they don't even remotely go together.  Please don't get caught up in themes......WEDDING and LOVE is theme enough for your big day.

    That said, if you provide good food, drink and music, people will be able to keep themselves entertained.
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Hollywood meets rustic.  Is that like glamping?  

    Please leave the games at home.  Adults are perfectly capable of mingling and socializing for an hour.  People don't dance during cocktail hour anyway.  They chat with friends and family and enjoy the refreshments.  They don't need constant activities and entertainment.  
  • Hollywood meets rustic.  Is that like glamping?  

    Please leave the games at home.  Adults are perfectly capable of mingling and socializing for an hour.  People don't dance during cocktail hour anyway.  They chat with friends and family and enjoy the refreshments.  They don't need constant activities and entertainment.  
    LOL
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I don't understand how your themes work together, but that's a whole other thread.

    Don't do games or "activities."  Your guests will enjoy themselves just fine with good food and drinks.
  • Truthfully, I get a little annoyed by planned activities. They cut in on socializing, and I feel like a grump if I don't participate. (And agree with many above remarks- I can visualize 30s/40s rustic chic, or Hollywood vintage glam, but can't visualize them together. I keep visualizing the Waltons with tiaras, and that can't be right.)
  • I think that it should be just fine with "just" dancing. To be honest, when I go to events like a wedding, I don't expect it to be a birthday party atmosphere where we constantly are being entertained.
    I mean, I don't mind a lawn game during the cocktail hour maybe, but after that why not just let people relax, eat some appetizers, mingle around and socialize? Why does there have to be events? It gets kind of overwhelming if there is too much stuff going on.
    There will already be plenty going on.
    The most fun wedding I've ever went to literally just had a dj and we all hung out and danced for hours. There were no games at all. I've never been to a wedding with games and it's not anything I feel is needed at them.
  • Er, to get this many responses about my "theme" I think I must be choosing some incorrect terminology...



  • sarahtrg said:
    Er, to get this many responses about my "theme" I think I must be choosing some incorrect terminology...


    What are you picturing when you use those words? Because this is what I get:
    Old Hollywood
    image
    Rustic "Chic" (I really don't think those words go together either and it's a trend made up by Pinterest)
    image
    I'm not seeing those things meshing well at all.
    image
  • Another for Old Hollywood since the picture apparently doesn't work.
    image
    image
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Yeah, you must be using the wrong wording because old hollywood and rustic just don't go together at all.

    As for entertainment.  When I go to parties at friends houses, guess what we do?  We eat and drink and mingle.  Why do weddings have to be any different?  Why do brides feel the need to add games and other activities to keep their friends entertained and/or happy?  If you guests are perfectly content mingling and eating and drinking with other people they know at regular, everyday parties, then why in the world do you think that will change when it comes to your wedding?

  • scribe95 said:
    Whenever I hear someone say their theme is X-meets-Y I think that just means they couldn't decide which one. And in this case the two themes don't go AT ALL. You might want to narrow it down to one.

    As for activities, don't worry about it. People will amuse themselves. Dancing, chatting, eating. That's what a wedding is. It's not a festival or something.
    Exactly this. The whole thing.
    *********************************************************************************

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  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I'm also really throw off by the theme you're going for. Can you explain more?

    I don't think you need to schedule any games or activities for your guests. I've never seen that at a wedding before. 

  • We chose a venue where there would be plenty of space for guests to mingle outside of the dance floor and while not sitting at the tables. Maybe we'll be able to put a couple high cocktail tables near the bar or something along those lines, and I'd LOVE to have a couple benches/couches/ottomans or something for some additional seating, but highly doubt we can afford it. This way even people who aren't dancing will have space to mingle and talk. I just hate the feeling of being "trapped" at my table.

    We're also planning to do one of those "conversation starter" guest books, to get guests to write a note instead of just sign their name. Not an activity, but if there are some particularly shy or socially awkward guests, they'll be able to look at it/write in it at least and not just sit quietly at their tables (unless they choose to). 

    Finally, the cocktail hour space at our venue has a large flat-screen monitor that you can use to show a photo slideshow. We'll just have that running in a loop in the background. Not any kind of show or entertainment, basically just as "decoration". Again, if people are socially awkward and have nothing to talk about, they can at least start a conversation about the photos. We haven't yet decided if it will be our engagement photos, or photos throughout our childhood, etc. 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    MandyMost said:
    We chose a venue where there would be plenty of space for guests to mingle outside of the dance floor and while not sitting at the tables. Maybe we'll be able to put a couple high cocktail tables near the bar or something along those lines, and I'd LOVE to have a couple benches/couches/ottomans or something for some additional seating, but highly doubt we can afford it. This way even people who aren't dancing will have space to mingle and talk. I just hate the feeling of being "trapped" at my table.

    We're also planning to do one of those "conversation starter" guest books, to get guests to write a note instead of just sign their name. Not an activity, but if there are some particularly shy or socially awkward guests, they'll be able to look at it/write in it at least and not just sit quietly at their tables (unless they choose to). 

    Finally, the cocktail hour space at our venue has a large flat-screen monitor that you can use to show a photo slideshow. We'll just have that running in a loop in the background. Not any kind of show or entertainment, basically just as "decoration". Again, if people are socially awkward and have nothing to talk about, they can at least start a conversation about the photos. We haven't yet decided if it will be our engagement photos, or photos throughout our childhood, etc. 
    Your guests may well ignore this.  I wouldn't do it.
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    I have to agree with the others. I just can't picture your theme as you describe it. I don't think Hollywood has EVER had anything rustic about it.  Are you thinking Old Hollywood, as in, antiques, classic cars, classic movies, classic movie stars?  Old Hollywood is more classic glam. Rustic is...not glamourous, lol.  I really think you should just pick one and go with it.

    And seriously, all you need are food, drinks, people, and PLENTY OF CHAIRS.  Please, please, have a chair for every butt in attendance, plus about 10-15% extra.  People will mingle just fine if they have a place to sit, leave their purse, set their drink down, etc.  Not all of us view having an assigned table as being 'trapped'. In fact, most of us will leave early if there isn't enough seating so that everyone can find a place to sit easily, especially those of us with good reasons why we can't stand all night. The more comfortable people are made (chairs, food, chairs, drinks, chairs, dancing, chairs, friends, chairs), the longer they will stay and enjoy your reception.

     

     

  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Good music and an open bar is plenty for me. I dont enjoy mandatory fun.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • OP I was once like you, looking for ways to entertain guests and provde fun activities to do.  After I bounced an idea or two on here I quickly learned that MOST people will DISLIKE them.  I was a bit reluctant at first, but as time has passed I realized that these ladies are very smart and always give honest feedback.

    In the end I have scrapped my plans on "games/activities" and have used the money to upgrade the desserts from wedding cake to dessert bar.  No one seems upset about the loss of an activity, but everyone is thrilled to have more food!  In the end adults can entertain themselves just fine.

    JoanE2012
  • Jen4948 said:
    MandyMost said:
    We chose a venue where there would be plenty of space for guests to mingle outside of the dance floor and while not sitting at the tables. Maybe we'll be able to put a couple high cocktail tables near the bar or something along those lines, and I'd LOVE to have a couple benches/couches/ottomans or something for some additional seating, but highly doubt we can afford it. This way even people who aren't dancing will have space to mingle and talk. I just hate the feeling of being "trapped" at my table.

    We're also planning to do one of those "conversation starter" guest books, to get guests to write a note instead of just sign their name. Not an activity, but if there are some particularly shy or socially awkward guests, they'll be able to look at it/write in it at least and not just sit quietly at their tables (unless they choose to). 

    Finally, the cocktail hour space at our venue has a large flat-screen monitor that you can use to show a photo slideshow. We'll just have that running in a loop in the background. Not any kind of show or entertainment, basically just as "decoration". Again, if people are socially awkward and have nothing to talk about, they can at least start a conversation about the photos. We haven't yet decided if it will be our engagement photos, or photos throughout our childhood, etc. 
    Your guests may well ignore this.  I wouldn't do it.
    I don't think guests are more or less likely to ignore this than they are to ignore a typical sign-in only guest book. It's literally just a guest book, that happens to have some statements at the top of some pages for guests to respond to if they want, instead of just writing "congrats". And not having a guest book at all isn't an option for me--you pick your battles, and this is so minor to me, but I know my mother and future mother-in-law would be appalled if I didn't have one. 
    jenniferurssouthernbelle0915
  • And seriously, all you need are food, drinks, people, and PLENTY OF CHAIRS.  Please, please, have a chair for every butt in attendance, plus about 10-15% extra.  People will mingle just fine if they have a place to sit, leave their purse, set their drink down, etc.  Not all of us view having an assigned table as being 'trapped'. In fact, most of us will leave early if there isn't enough seating so that everyone can find a place to sit easily, especially those of us with good reasons why we can't stand all night. The more comfortable people are made (chairs, food, chairs, drinks, chairs, dancing, chairs, friends, chairs), the longer they will stay and enjoy your reception.

     

     

    Misunderstanding if you're referring to my post--I do often feel "trapped" at my table, but would still prefer that 100 times over as compared with not having enough seats. I'm agreeing that there should be even MORE seats than is needed, so people can get up from their assigned seats and still have room to sit and mingle with guests that aren't at their tables. Seriously, I'm ALL about the sitting. :-) 
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    MandyMost said:
    Jen4948 said:
    MandyMost said:
    We chose a venue where there would be plenty of space for guests to mingle outside of the dance floor and while not sitting at the tables. Maybe we'll be able to put a couple high cocktail tables near the bar or something along those lines, and I'd LOVE to have a couple benches/couches/ottomans or something for some additional seating, but highly doubt we can afford it. This way even people who aren't dancing will have space to mingle and talk. I just hate the feeling of being "trapped" at my table.

    We're also planning to do one of those "conversation starter" guest books, to get guests to write a note instead of just sign their name. Not an activity, but if there are some particularly shy or socially awkward guests, they'll be able to look at it/write in it at least and not just sit quietly at their tables (unless they choose to). 

    Finally, the cocktail hour space at our venue has a large flat-screen monitor that you can use to show a photo slideshow. We'll just have that running in a loop in the background. Not any kind of show or entertainment, basically just as "decoration". Again, if people are socially awkward and have nothing to talk about, they can at least start a conversation about the photos. We haven't yet decided if it will be our engagement photos, or photos throughout our childhood, etc. 
    Your guests may well ignore this.  I wouldn't do it.
    I don't think guests are more or less likely to ignore this than they are to ignore a typical sign-in only guest book. It's literally just a guest book, that happens to have some statements at the top of some pages for guests to respond to if they want, instead of just writing "congrats". And not having a guest book at all isn't an option for me--you pick your battles, and this is so minor to me, but I know my mother and future mother-in-law would be appalled if I didn't have one. 
    I'm not saying not to have a guest book-I'm saying that it probably won't work as a "conversation starter"-and if one is shy or socially awkward, one may well not understand what you have in mind for it.
  • Just have some relaxing music, bar open & apps. Your guests will come gradually during the cocktail hour, some will do the photo booth, others will take the time to sign your guest book & visit with other family/friends a little before the formal events of the evening get started. Keep things simple.
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