Zones, props, and tattoos: 13 ways to make a reception more fun

Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Photo by Amy Ann Photography

If you're stressing about ways to make your reception as fun as it can be, we hear you. Any wedding planner can tell you that party planning is an art all about timing, finesse, and lots of food. Here are 13 of our favorite ways to make a reception more fun, including games, zones, selfies, and whetting the appetite for late night surprises.

Create zones

Catering to a wide audience in terms of "fun" can be a challenge, so try to accommodate your dancing guests and your lower-key guests by creating zones in your reception space. Think a lounge area for those needing to sit for a bit or get away from the crowd (preferably away from the music), a dance area, a board or video games area, and a place to nosh and grab a drink.

Find a good DJ

If you're hiring a DJ over live or DIYed music, try to find one who knows how to work a crowd, change the music when it's fizzling, and knows what will get people dancing. Similarly, don't be too attached to your signature music style. Definitely have it represented, but if you're aiming for lots of dancing, make sure there's some good dancing music on hand. Nobody complains when Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder starts.

Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Photo by Erika Nizborski Photography

Add some props

We've seen cardboard cut-outs, life-size TARDIS props, faux tattoo stations, and a whole bunch of other fun stuff to play with at weddings. Props will get guests taking photos, getting wilder on the dance floor, and generally making more merry than they would have otherwise.

Photo by Tino and Pip
Photo by Tino and Pip
Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Photo by Phil Bourne

What's more fun than GAMES?

We love us some board game weddings, video game weddings, and pulling out the giant Jenga for a lawn game wedding.

Try out some Mad-Libs programs, movie quote games, Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, "achievement quests," Minglo (mingling bingo), I-Spy, Rock Band, the shoe game, cornhole, and the many ways to avoid having to kiss on command.

roman_story_69 copy
Photo by Hildreth Weddings

Teach a dance lesson

Teaching everyone a simple dance from your culture or just for fun can be a great way to get everyone up and moving. Brittany and Louis taught everyone an easy eight-step dance that looked like a shit-ton of fun.

Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Photo by Justine Johnson Photography

Include activities from your theme

We love our costume weddings, movie themes, steampunk weddings, and geeky weddings, and these are ripe for adding fun just with decor and novelty alone. This movie-themed wedding used some fancy graphic designing to create amazing movie posters and a film to go along with their movie theme. These are definitely options with more work involved, but if you're already creatively inclined, run with it! Or just hire a certain type of guard…

Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Photo by Jeannie Guzis
Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Photo by Aga Matuszewska

Photo booths still kill

Photo booths may seem like an older concept to readers of this blog, but most people won't have seen them before or at least still love them. You can use those props we mentioned to make the booth extra giggle-worthy.

For a new twist, think about a slo-mo photo boothThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them or a photo busThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them.

Give out flip-flops

If you're thinking, "What the hell is fun about flip-flops?" then I can guarantee you've never worn heels for too long at a wedding. Nothing kills fun faster than sore footies.

Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Photo by Kandise Brown

Consider live entertainment if it's within budget

A live band can be spendy as hell, so tread carefully here. But if it's within your budget, consider a local band that plays music within your favorite style or even a karaoke DJ to let your guests become the live music.

But bands aren't your only option for live entertainment. Think acrobatsThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, fire eaters, burlesque dancersThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, or giant jellyfishThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them!

Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Photo by Ixi Photography

Plan a surprise for everyone later in the evening

Some of that live entertainment can become a pretty rad surprise later in the evening. You can pull out a choreographed dance routine, a surprise game, sparklers, a small fireworks show (check on restrictions for this), a fire-breathing, glitter-sneezing unicorn, or the food trucks we talked about earlier. Just make sure to tease it early in the night to keep guests from bailing early.

Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Seattle's Urban Light Studios

Choose a fun venue

Selecting an already-fun venue can mean a lot less work for you in the creating fun department. Some of our favorite vendors are weird and wild venues like The Quixotic WorldThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, Urban Light StudiosThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, local Renaissance fairsThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them, haunted venues, and generally unique venues are all awesome choices.

Ways to make a reception more fun on @offbeatbride
Photo by Mama Owl Photography

Feed everyone later in the night

Don't let your guests get hungry near the end of the night and start leaving for late-night food. Plan for a later night taco truck, order some pizzas, or make some s'mores by a bonfire. Speaking of bonfires, you can wring out some late-night fun with a big bonfire and sing-along if your venue is set up for one.

Food trucks as a treat near the middle or end of the night are always a fun option. Late night snacks, dessert, or frozen slushies will draw crowds.

Alternately, consider an after-party for your night owl friends at a nearby bar, your hotel, or back at home. Extend the fun, my friends!

Have a game plan for kids

If you're having a kid-friendly wedding, parents will thank you for providing some distraction for the kids so they can have some fun themselves. Have a games setup available or even consider hiring some babysitters to really keep the kids wrangled.

What activities are YOU planning at your reception, if you're having one? Let us know in the comments!

shoe-game

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  1. Some of our friends are not big dancers so we're going to set up a game area away from the dance floor and (keep your fingers crossed) a full sized Tardis for our entrance and for great photo ops. Oh and Smores Bar which I am more excited about than a grown person should be. Besides the regular marshmallows, we're special ordering different flavored ones and a gold leafed Champaign flavored one that will just be gorgeous and delicious.

  2. I set up zones without even meaning to. By the bar, we'll have our Caramel Apple Bar. By the entrance we'll have the guest "book", cards and presents table (which I realize is standard). At the far end of the room will be the sweetheart table, two family tables and the dance floor. the rest of the room is filled with random tables for people to converse and eat at.
    Because I don't know how many people are going to be dancing, we're also providing a few board games. I bought 3 or 4 on sale at Toys R Us a few weeks back and now I'm on the hunt for a cheap/free Guess Who? game that I can take the stock images out of and insert images of us and our families for a personal touch.
    The other thing I'm considering is some sort of cornhole game for outside. I really like the idea, but I don't think I can take the project on myself.
    Yay fun weddings!

    2 agree

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