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36 Surefire Ways to Entertain Guests at Wedding Reception Ideas

No one wants a boring wedding! There are a lot of creative ways to keep wedding guests entertained at your wedding ceremony and reception.

Everyone expects the traditional bouquet toss and dances, but do they expect a talent show or games? Now that’s a wedding your guests will remember 🙂 Here are 36 great ideas that you can use for your wedding and reception that will add some fun.

1. Hire Musicians

Whether it’s musicians for the wedding ceremony or a band at the reception, having live music is a fun way to entertain guests.

You could have a string quartet or harpist perform music at your ceremony for a beautiful touch! A live band at the reception is a nice step up from just hiring a DJ, but adds an element of fun to the event that is different than most wedding.

2. Have a Surprise Performance

We’ve all seen those surprise first dance videos on YouTube… but would your family expect YOU to do some thing like that?

Maybe your maid of honor has a hidden talent and will sing a song at your wedding ceremony. You could also higher a local artist to sing something special at your reception.

If you’re really daring, try organizing a flash mob at your reception. That would definitely make for a surprising reception!

3. The Shoe Game

Instead of doing a garter toss, play the shoe game! The bride and groom sit in chairs, back to back, in the middle of the dance floor and take off their shoes. Both of them should hold one of the bride’s shoes and one of the groom’s shoes. This is where the fun starts!

Have a designated person ask questions to the couple about themselves and their relationship. The bride and groom will hold up the shoe of the person who is the best answer to the question.

Some questions you might ask are:

  1. Who will do most of the cooking?

  2. Who said “I love you” first?

  3. Who has more siblings?

  4. Who made the first move?

  5. Who is the better driver?

  6. Who got better grades in school?

  7. Who is smarter?

  8. Who is more likely to get injured?

  9. Who is more likely to be running late?

  10. Who starts the argument?

  11. Who is first to say “I’m sorry?”

  12. Who will be most likely to wake up grumpy?

  13. Who is more likely to get lost?

4. Non-Traditional Guest Book

There are so many more creative ways to remember your guests than just having them write their names in a book.

  1. Get a Polaroid camera and have someone take pictures of your guests and put them in a book.

  2. Provide ink pads (and some wipes) and make a thumbprint tree. Guests put their thumbprint on a tree and sign their names under it.

  3. Have a large map printed and allow people to sign their names or put a thumbtack in showing where they’re from.

  4. Have a wooden slab cut (or you could use a pallet) and ask guests to sign it.

5. Share Words of Wisdom

On each table at your reception, provide note cards or paper and pens for guests to write out their best words of wisdom for your marriage.

You could even provide little prompts to give your guests inspiration.

  1. Love is never having too…

  2. … would be a fun date night.

  3. When the going gets tough…

  4. Do this before going to bed each night…

6. Mad Libs

Want some super funny reading when the reception is all over and you’re ready to kick back and relax. Print up some Mad Libs type cards and place them on the tables for guests to fill out. It’s sure to crack you up! 🙂

7. Hire a Caricaturist

I’ve never seen this at a wedding before, but what a great way to make memories of the day! Have your caricaturist capture a drawing of the bride and groom to display and invite guests to have their pictures done too. What a fun way to remember your wedding!

8. Have a Photo Booth

There are a lot of photo booth companies that you could hire or simply set up a DIY booth for yourself. You can get all sorts of wedding booth props to make the pictures extra memorable. This would also be a great option for a guest book alternative.

9. Video Booth

Whether it’s a place to share serious wedding advice or funny stories from the past, a video booth can be very fun. Plus, it makes for a great addition to your wedding video. If you’re hiring a videographer, ask if he/she can set up and run a “video booth” at your reception. You could also set up your own video booth with just a phone or digital camera.

10. Have a Campfire

It’s getting to the end of your reception, it’s dark and it’s a perfect time to startup the campfire and roast some marshmallows. This is a fun thing to do at outdoor receptions. Would be a great addition to a rustic or cowboy themed wedding.

11. Fireworks

What a great way to end the night. Go out with a bang, light up the night sky, and kiss under the fireworks. A magical send of that is sure to be remembered!

12. Confetti Drop

If you don’t mind little pieces of paper all over you and your guests, a confetti drop during the last dance of the night could be amazing. And imagine what the pictures will look like! This could also be done during your first dance or the final send-off of the night.

13. Wedding Party Introductions

Most of the time, a good DJ will have some great ideas and ways to introduce the wedding part and parents of the bride and groom. Think of childhood nicknames and fun facts that your DJ can incorporate into the intro.

14. Epic Send-Off

One of the most beautiful send off pictures are the ones where the bride and groom walk out between rows of sparklers. Other ideas are confetti canons, throwing rose petals, waving glow sticks, blowing bubbles, etc.

15. Non-Traditional Wedding Cake

Instead of serving a traditional wedding cake, you could go a completely different route with other dessert options. Here are some great wedding cake alternatives:

  1. doughnuts

  2. macaroons

  3. cake balls or cake pops

  4. cupcakes

  5. cookies

  6. pies

  7. waffle tower

  8. cheese cake

  9. ice cream cake

16. Awards Ceremony

With the wedding party as the judges, ask them to keep there eye’s open during the ceremony and reception for winners of the awards ceremony.

Make sure to have some fun prizes or “trophies” for the winners of each category.

  1. Best dressed woman

  2. Best dressed man

  3. Cutest kid

  4. Best looking dating couple

  5. Longest married couple

  6. Couple with the most kids

17. Karaoke

What could be more fun than a little karaoke. Encourage guests to get involved with prizes and hit songs. To make things a little easier and get the fun started, have a few people pre-selected to sing the first few songs. Also, limit the number of tracks for quick song selection.

For guests who do not want to participate, make sure there is still place for them to visit and chat with others on the side.

18. Treasure Hunt

This can be especially fun for kids. Create a card with the list of things to find and have someone place all the trinkets ahead of time. You can have them find pictures, items, food, colors, people, etc. Kids are sure to have a blast and stay occupied for a while.

19. Dance Competition

If you can get your wedding party to do this, it could make for an epic video! Choreograph a dance off between the bridal party and groom/groomsmen. Choose a playlist or song ahead of time to make it fun or let your DJ pick random songs to make it interesting. Be sure to capture a video for laughs later!

20. Chocolate Fountain

You might have a problem keeping the kids out of the chocolate fountain. But, what could be more fun than dipping fresh strawberries in a never-ending waterfall of chocolate! Use any type of fresh fruit, pretzels, marshmallows, cake pops, Oreos, etc.

21. Slideshows

Who doesn’t enjoy looking through old pictures? If your reception hall is big enough and provides a projector, you could easily create a slideshow of images of the bride and groom to show throughout the reception. Simply put the slideshow on repeat and see how many people stop and watch the slideshow play through.

22. Talent Show

A spontaneous talent show could be pretty funny! Invite your guests to come up front and make their best performance. This will work better with some groups than others. You may want to have a few people who already agreed to participate to help get the ball rolling. Once the crowd has seen 3-4 people humiliate themselves on stage, they’ll feel more comfortable getting up their and showing what they got! 🙂

23. Food Trucks

Since food trucks a quite popular in many parts of the country, you could easily higher a few different food trucks to show up at your wedding reception and provide all the food for your guests. By hiring more than one, you can give your guests options for what to eat. Hey, while you’re at it, you might as well have the ice cream truck show up for the kids too!

24. Ice Cream Station

Set up an ice cream station where guests can choose their flavor, add sauces, and add their own toppings. This would be a great idea for a casual summer wedding and a great alternative to a wedding cake. You can even have some root beer available for guests to make root beer floats.

25. Backyard Games

For a fun outdoor summer wedding, set up some bean bag games, sack races, ring toss, and other traditional backyard games. Depending on how much space you have, you can even provide a few footballs, baseballs, soccer balls, etc. for guests to toss around. This is another great way to keep kids occupied.

26. Wedding Favors

There are so many different creative wedding favors that you could leave at each seat of your wedding reception. Here are some great ideas:

  1. small pouch of personalized coffee

  2. smores kit

  3. small succulents

  4. teacup candles

  5. sunglasses

  6. seed packets

  7. cookie buffet with take-home containers

  8. homemade granola

  9. Flip flops (aka dancing shoes)

  10. candy filled mugs

  11. monogrammed candles

  12. tote bags

27. Song Requests

Setting up a wedding playlist can be consuming, even for the best DJ. If you’re asking people to send back their RSVP, make sure to include a place for them to share their song request. Also, if you set up a wedding website, you can easily create a page for guests to submit their song request online.

28. Get a Good DJ

No matter what you do at your wedding reception, the number one thing you should have is a good DJ! A good DJ knows exactly what to say and do to get the party going and get people on the dance floor. He or she should be high energy and have a great personality so that even if he doesn’t know the bride and groom, he can still make the evening fun and lighthearted.

29. Paper Lanterns

Paper lanterns are a really neat way to do a wedding send-off for the bride and groom and the photographs will look so neat. Make sure the weather is okay to use them – they don’t work too well if it’s windy.

Make sure to check with your venue and local fire code to make sure that it’s okay to light and send off the lanterns.

30. Build-Your-Own-Food Station

Having a build-your-own-food station makes for less work for you or your caterer. There are so many options for having a build your own food station and guests can make their food just they way they want it. It’s a win-win! Here are some build-your-own-food station ideas:

  1. coffee bar

  2. burrito/taco bar

  3. salad bar

  4. baked potato bar

  5. fruit

  6. meat and cheese

  7. trail mix

  8. popcorn

  9. nacho

  10. burgers and hot dogs

31. Board Game Centerpieces

Who said centerpieces could only be flowers and candles. Make things fun by putting a different board game at the center of each table for your guests to enjoy. It’s probably not a good idea to put super long board games or games with a lot of pieces, like Risk or Monopoly. You could put out card games, Yahtzee, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, etc.

32. Dry Ice Machine

You might feel like you’re walking on clouds, you might as well look like it too! 😉 Make your first dance extra magical with a dry ice machine and let it last throughout the song so guests and enjoy it too. And just think about the pictures!

33. Wedding Speech Bingo

Add a little more fun to the wedding speech time by letting your guests play bingo as you go. At least this way you know they’ll pay attention. Here is a great list of ideas to have on your bingo sheet, provided by

  1. Accidental innuendo

  2. Intentional innuendo

  3. A guest heckles

  4. The speech-giver is unable to read their own writing

  5. You’re crying

  6. The speech-giver is crying

  7. A joke falls completely flat

  8. A famous quote

  9. Marriage advice for the newlyweds

  10. Admission of nerves

  11. A reference to how gorgeous someone looks

  12. A how-we-met story

  13. Celebrity namedrop

  14. Wine spillage

  15. Rhyming verse

  16. Someone explains why their joke is funny

  17. Use of a prop

  18. A child under five has a meltdown

  19. Someone bursts into song

  20. Pop culture reference

  21. “Thank you”

  22. “I’m going to keep this short”

  23. Cringeworthy childhood story

34. Giant Jenga

If you’re having an outdoor reception, this is a really fun game for guests and kids to play. You can buy a giant Jenga set or make one yourself. You only need about 60 eight-inch 2x4s.

Giant Jenga is probably one of the most popular outdoor event games to play and almost everyone knows how to play it, no explanation needed.

35. Coffee/Tea/Cocoa Bar

People will drink coffee and tea all year round but if you’re having a winter wedding, a hot cocoa bar could also be a great idea.

Provide a few different kinds of coffee, tea, or cocoa with cream, sugar, flavored syrups, toppings and whatever guests might like to make their own favorite drinks. If you’re having a winter wedding, don’t forget the peppermint!

36. Kids Table

If you’re having kids at your reception, you can have an entire table set up with crayons, paper, crafts, coloring pages, and games to occupy the kids while the parents have fun dancing and visiting with the other guests.

You could even provide a tub of Legos and other building toys for kids to get their creativity on. Provide a few little kid-friendly sweet treats too!

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Hi, I’m Kristin. While I haven’t found my Prince Charming yet, I’ve been dreaming of getting married for a long long time. I started this site as a place to record all the things I’ve found and researched in preparation for my own wedding someday. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

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