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Fun Reception Activities Ideas

I am having a spring wedding and my theme is ethereal woodsy. Anyway, one of the possible venues is gorgeous and we'd be saving tons of money but they don't allow alcohol and we would have to be done by 11:00 pm!!. 

My question is, what are some fun activities I could add to the reception besides the dancing that might be in keeping with the theme but also keep people entertained.  I like to throw big and complex parties (some examples would be I've thrown personally written murder mystery parties for 15 + people where the murderer is randomly decided and everyone can play, Harry Potter parties with 'classes' and Quidditch, End of the world party with games to determine whose "Tribe" would survive the Apocalypse, entire town sprawling water balloon fight/scavenger hunt.) and I want my wedding to be as unique and fun as those but I won't be able to be in charge of the little things if I want to enjoy myself. 

Does anyone have an ideas of fun things that could essentially run themselves?

Re: Fun Reception Activities Ideas

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    I agree with Addie. 
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    AddieCake said:
    Lawn games. Other than that, most people around here agree that less is more and that trying to make your wedding "unique and fun" ends up being a bit of a mess. Adults can entertain themselves with dancing, good food/beverages, and conversation. Maybe have a photo booth or caricaturist. 
    Agreed. Ooh maybe the caricaturist could draw people as fairies or whatever else goes with "ethereal woodsy." Otherwise, keep the theme to the general decor scheme.

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    All you need is good food, drink and music.  Don't over complicate it.....it's a wedding, not a themed party.
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    I agree with the yard games. Weddings is a time where family members who may not see each other very often get to see each other & use they use that time to talk & catch up. I love the themes of the parties you have thrown in the past, but you don't need to plan things out so much for your wedding. Let people. relax, eat, drink & be merry as the saying goes.

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    Yard games, a caricaturist, and a photobooth are all fine, but for a wedding, people mostly just want to eat, drink, and mingle.  They don't need more than that to have fun, and a wedding that gets too "themey" can be too complicated to plan and just not go off the way you'd like, because it could actually impair the guests' abilities to enjoy themselves if there are too many planned activities and they can't just eat, drink, and chat (maybe dance) with each other.
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    I'd say even lawn games are pushing it.

    Its a wedding, not a childs birthday party. I've never found myself at a wedding and unable to entertain myself.. Typically people want to eat, drink, dance, and talk.. Its a fairly foolproof formula to stick to.

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    Thanks for your help. I agree but people keep mentioning drink, which we might not be able to do. :'( I don't mean some kind of huge all encompassing activity, but maybe something to encourage people to mingle and laugh without the added alcohol. 

    Like something off to the side or on their table..... hmm, maybe I actually don't have any idea. Anyway, thanks for the input. 
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    Thanks for your help. I agree but people keep mentioning drink, which we might not be able to do. :'( I don't mean some kind of huge all encompassing activity, but maybe something to encourage people to mingle and laugh without the added alcohol. 

    Like something off to the side or on their table..... hmm, maybe I actually don't have any idea. Anyway, thanks for the input. 
    Adults can and will mingle and laugh without any further guidance. Maybe put on some low, mellow background music, but you shouldn't need anything more.
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    Thanks for your help. I agree but people keep mentioning drink, which we might not be able to do. :'( I don't mean some kind of huge all encompassing activity, but maybe something to encourage people to mingle and laugh without the added alcohol. 

    Like something off to the side or on their table..... hmm, maybe I actually don't have any idea. Anyway, thanks for the input. 
    People are mentioning "drink" b/c ALL beverages are drinks, so people WILL be "drinking,' despite there being no alcohol. 

    Again, no encouragement is needed for people to mingle and laugh. Adults are perfectly capable of enjoying themselves with food, music, beverages, and conversation. My wedding had only mimosas for alcohol, which not everyone was even drinking, and had no dancing. There were people talking and mingling all over the place. 
    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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    Sorry, my cousin had a small wedding and it was nice but the dance floor was completely empty. No one but me and my siblings were dancing the entire time. It may be because half of his family was really uptight (they really hated dancing or merryment of any kind) but I am terrified of this happening with my wedding because it will also be smaller. I am only inviting maybe 150 people but I'm hoping to cut it down to 100 if possible. 

    My fiancee and I don't drink at all but we know that other people do and we don't want to ruin a good party with everyone leaving early because there isn't any booze. 

    Thanks for your help.
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    You could  put mad libs personalized to you and your fiancée on the table, something I have thought about doing. You could extend this to word searches about you two, or crosswords. You could have each table work together on a mad lib that's a different part of each of your lives and then read the stories out loud, to get the tables to talk to each other since these ideas can be solitary. It might be fun. I have definitely been to weddings where I only knew the bride or bride & groom and not many guests and it can be hard to have a good time. I say go with your gut, sounds like you have put together some great parties in the past.

    Good Luck!

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    You could  put mad libs personalized to you and your fiancée on the table, something I have thought about doing. You could extend this to word searches about you two, or crosswords. You could have each table work together on a mad lib that's a different part of each of your lives and then read the stories out loud, to get the tables to talk to each other since these ideas can be solitary. It might be fun. I have definitely been to weddings where I only knew the bride or bride & groom and not many guests and it can be hard to have a good time. I say go with your gut, sounds like you have put together some great parties in the past.

    Good Luck!

    It's a wedding, not some corporate team building event.  If you want to play games, the shower would be more appropriate.  Whatever happened to just introducing yourself to someone and starting up a conversation?  Or mingling and catching up with others you do know?  When did this become so hard?
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    It's not about mingling being hard. We are having a smaller wedding with only close family that really know each other. I just want to incorporate my own added party flair without overwhelming the guests. 

    What do you guys think about an after party? What does it entail? And would an after party pretty much negate a brunch (my mom wants both, one for the young people and one for the older folks, but I feel like that's overkill) .
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    It's not about mingling being hard. We are having a smaller wedding with only close family that really know each other. I just want to incorporate my own added party flair without overwhelming the guests. 


    What do you guys think about an after party? What does it entail? And would an after party pretty much negate a brunch (my mom wants both, one for the young people and one for the older folks, but I feel like that's overkill) .
    To add your own flair, I'd stick to decor and personal touches via your venue, centerpieces, linens, menu, attire, music, etc. If you can do this well, your wedding will be unique and nothing more is needed.

    I agree with you that inviting everyone to an after party and brunch kind of makes it into one of those marathon weddings. If you do one or both and you formally invite people, you need to host it. If you just informally say "we'll be hanging out at the hotel bar afterwards if anyone wants to stop by" or "we're going to ___ for breakfast around 10. You're welcome to join us if you want." I don't think you need to host it.
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    tammym1001tammym1001 member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited July 2014
    It's not about mingling being hard. We are having a smaller wedding with only close family that really know each other. I just want to incorporate my own added party flair without overwhelming the guests. 

    What do you guys think about an after party? What does it entail? And would an after party pretty much negate a brunch (my mom wants both, one for the young people and one for the older folks, but I feel like that's overkill) .
    We hosted an after party. We actually paid for rooms for everyone to spend the night with us in a private villa. Our original plan was to take everyone out to breakfast the next morning. We never mentioned that to anyone though. We were just going to say something to everyone in the morning. Nobody, including DH and I, was in any kind of shape to go anywhere the next morning. LOL If we had scheduled something I think everyone would have been miserable. An after party and next day brunch is a lot.

    ETA: we did have doughnuts at the villa so everyone got some sort of breakfast if they wanted it :) (there was also some munching on cold pizza).
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    Aray82Aray82 member
    First Anniversary First Comment 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    A thoughtful seating chart, more than enough of whatever food/drink you're hosting, and good music. Those are what the best weddings I've been to had going in the way of activities. Even when guests were not dancing types, I've seen other activities largely ignored.
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    I will have to talk to my mother about the whole after party/brunch thing. It's possible that she wants to have a brunch after we get back from the honeymoon but I also think that's stretching it. 

    The after party would probably be more informal (if we do it at all, my fiancee and I aren't big drinkers) so we might just find a nice locale and the groomsmen might hook everyone up with some drinks or something. 
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    You should have a Photo Booth or a  scavenger hunt! My sister used Weddingmix for her wedding video but they send you HD cameras that you can rent and maybe you guys could set up a scavenger hunt or like a "shot list" and get everyone involved in filming on their phones or with the cameras a list of 10 things and whoever does it first wins! Some of the "shots" could be like the bride and groom canoodling, the grandparents dancing, the flower girl picking her nose... ect!
    I actually love this idea ^^. I had a friend that used WeddingMix but she didn't do anything like a scavenger hunt but I think that would be a really cool way to get everyone involved! Either way with WeddingMix at her wedding we all took turns taking hilarious videos of everyone at the reception and used the bride and grooms "hashtag" which was just a game within itself
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    That's a great idea because I actually just graduated with my film degree and I would love to incorporate film into the wedding. I also love scavengers hunts. But how does that site work? Is there only a certain number of videos that can be uploaded and do you get access to all that info or have to buy it from them when it's all done? 

    Also, what do you guys think about a choreographed dance for my attendants? My fiancee and I wanted to do the majority of our song then the attendants come on and we do this awesome salsa dance or something. We want to surprise people and get them laughing and having a good time. 


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    That's a great idea because I actually just graduated with my film degree and I would love to incorporate film into the wedding. I also love scavengers hunts. But how does that site work? Is there only a certain number of videos that can be uploaded and do you get access to all that info or have to buy it from them when it's all done? 

    Also, what do you guys think about a choreographed dance for my attendants? My fiancee and I wanted to do the majority of our song then the attendants come on and we do this awesome salsa dance or something. We want to surprise people and get them laughing and having a good time. 


    I still think you are adding unneccessary items/ activities. The videos or scavenger hunt would completely bore me and I would not partake because like someone said it feels like a corporate teambuilding crap. I also can't stand choreographed dances so I don't think that would "get me laughing".

    I do not drink alcohol. I still smile and laugh and tear up the dance floor at weddings. Not everyone sits in a corner pouting that they don't have alcohol and therefor can't mingle.

    Also you keep saying it's small and it's just family like that's something out of the ordinary. 100-150 people who are family and friends is basically what 90% of weddings are.

                                                                     

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    Also, what do you guys think about a choreographed dance for my attendants? My fiancee and I wanted to do the majority of our song then the attendants come on and we do this awesome salsa dance or something. We want to surprise people and get them laughing and having a good time. 


    I'd skip this.  Attendants really, really tend not to like to be shoehorned into choreographed dances as part of the "entertainment."
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    You should have a Photo Booth or a  scavenger hunt! My sister used Weddingmix for her wedding video but they send you HD cameras that you can rent and maybe you guys could set up a scavenger hunt or like a "shot list" and get everyone involved in filming on their phones or with the cameras a list of 10 things and whoever does it first wins! Some of the "shots" could be like the bride and groom canoodling, the grandparents dancing, the flower girl picking her nose... ect!
    I actually love this idea ^^. I had a friend that used WeddingMix but she didn't do anything like a scavenger hunt but I think that would be a really cool way to get everyone involved! Either way with WeddingMix at her wedding we all took turns taking hilarious videos of everyone at the reception and used the bride and grooms "hashtag" which was just a game within itself
    Why does everyone need to be involved in something?  Can't they just eat, drink, dance, talk and mingle?  I'd much rather do that than participate in a scavenger hunt.  With a scavenger hunt, I would feel like I'm transported back to my camp days when I was 10.  
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    I cringe every time I see choreographed dances outside of sports arenas or dance competitions.
    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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    If you're worried about the dance floor being empty, I think you have two things you need to do. First is to spend a good amount of effort finding the right DJ for you. You want someone who really knows what they're doing and can read the crowd. And you need to know your crowd...will they be into a "typical" wedding DJ who will want to make corny comments and play things like the Electric Slide? Or will they want the opposite of that? (We're paying a little extra for a DJ that is the opposite of that!). And second, you should discuss this with your wedding party and your immediate families. If they know you want them to dance, and that you want other guests to dance, and the DJ is playing the right music for your crowd, then it shouldn't be a problem!
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    Should I include a line in the rsvp that asks for a song they want to hear at the reception?
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    Should I include a line in the rsvp that asks for a song they want to hear at the reception?
    So... honest question. Has every wedding you've been to before bored you to tears? It sounds like you're expecting your wedding to be boring if you don't add all this extra stuff, but it won't be. Nearly all of the weddings I've been to were a lot of fun, without a bunch of added "stuff." The DJ knew the right songs to play to get people moving without being told what to play, people talked without team-building exercises, and laughed without choreographed dances. If you want to add some flair similar to other parties you've thrown to "make it your own" then by all means, do it. But then it should come natural to you and be far easier than this. 



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    I think you are over thinking this.

    1st, 100-150 people is not a small wedding, it's average.

    If you want you guests to have fun, then make sure you provide really good food and drinks of some sort, and invest in a really good DJ.  If you have a good DJ and a bunch of dancers in the crowd, that's all you need to get ppl on the dance floor.

    Skip the lawn games, etc.  I think the photo scavenger hunt is fine if it is totally voluntary and is simply a small list of shots you want to encourage your guests to take.  I think those sort of things work well if you have a crowd that is heavy into Instagram and you have a hashtag for your wedding for guests to upload photos.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


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