The bride and groom have been pronounced husband and wife, the ceremony is over and now
everyone is hungry and thirsty.
It’s time to talk about the reception. The reception part of the wedding typically features music, dancing, food and laughing, and your guests want to have a fun time. If you want to throw a reception that everyone will remember, you can, but you don’t have to go all out and break the budget.
Here are a few ideas to create a reception worth remembering.
While it’s not cheap, guests appreciate an open bar because they can get any kind of drink they want. Create a menu of signature cocktails as a way to give people more fun options. Have the bride and groom pick their favorite drinks, or one of their own creation, and name the cocktails after them. Have a “Just Married” cocktail ready for guests to order, and drinks picked by or named after the parents of the bride and groom.
Other cocktail name ideas include “Happily ever after,” “Hope this doesn’t hurt too much in the morning,” and “Yes, it’s too early to ask the bride and groom about kids.”
Make the menu a contest and have people vote for their favorite drink. Serve non-alcoholic versions for the kids and guests who do not wish to drink alcohol.
You can also set up traditional drinking games, like Cornhole and beer pong as activities for guests if it’s a casual wedding and reception.
Guests will gladly eat all the food on their plates and dance the night away. However, in a few hours and after a few drinks, people usually get hungry again. Set up high top tables to offer snacks. Eating late night snacks also slows down alcohol consumption. Provide finger sandwiches, desserts, candy, pretzels, and the favorite snacks of the bride and groom.
Instead of having a traditional plated meal or buffet, brides and grooms can hire three or four food trucks with different types of food for guests to choose from. Guests won’t have to wait for their table to be excused to get food, and it creates a more relaxed and laid back feeling.
Make sure to get a variety of foods, from barbecue to grilled chicken and or
salads so everyone will appreciate the originality.
Some brides and grooms hand out gift bags to guests before they leave. Instead of trying to figure out what to put in the bag, have a “Candy Land” station at your reception with jars full of sweets and bags for guests to put the candy in. You can put out any candy you want, from chocolates, to Reese’s, to Starburst.
Photo booths are a fun addition to a wedding, but you can go a step further. Hire a caricature artist to draw your guests. They will love seeing exaggerated versions of themselves, and they will love getting to take them home. It’s a good idea to have the caricature artist take photos of their drawings with the subjects, and give those photos to the bride and groom.
Order life-size cardboard cutouts of the bride and groom, with a hole instead of their faces. Guests will love putting their faces in the open space and taking pictures.
Tips for safe partying
An open bar at a wedding is popular among guests, but it can be incredibly dangerous. If people are drinking and driving back to their house or a hotel after, bad things are bound to happen. Here’s how to avoid drinking and driving situations.
Before the wedding
Monitor the drinking
If someone in the bridal party, or the bride herself, is a nervous wreck and wants a drink, one or two drinks will not hurt. However, make sure everyone stays sober enough to appropriately participate in wedding festivities and the ceremony. Appointing one person to monitor everyone’s drink levels is recommended.
Weddings are a celebration, but save the serious drinking until after the wedding.
To make sure the entire bridal party gets to the wedding safely and on time, take a large party bus to the venue. If the bride and groom don’t want to see each other until the ceremony, one bus for each group is recommended. This will ensure the groups arrive together, and it will make it harder for someone to sneak a drink if they are so inclined.
After the wedding
Many hotels near popular wedding venues will provide shuttle services that will take guests from the wedding to the hotel. These shuttles have planned times they arrive and leave, so attendees will have to make sure not to miss one.
Using a shuttle service is also a good way to ensure the party is over at a certain time so cleaning can begin.
Having the reception at a friend’s place or in your own backyard, if it’s big enough, can help eliminate this problem.
Talk with your venue contact
Venues don’t want guests to drive drunk either. Talk with the venue staff about limiting the number of drinks people can have and choose the time for last call. Many venues already have rules like these.
Talk to the bartender about watering down a certain someone’s drinks if that someone is known to be problematic when drinking.