Have you ever been to a wedding reception where guests sit around in little groups of people they know and no one mingles or looks like they’re having a very good time? And it’s all slightly awkward? Yep, I have too. This is not how you want your wedding reception to go. You want people to mingle and get to know each other, especially both sides of the two families involved. Plus, you want everyone to have a good time.
Let’s explore ways to help your guests feel comfortable so they’ll relax, open up, and enjoy themselves.
1. Start the bonding between families and friends at the bridal showers and bachelor party. That way the people at these events will have some common ground with each other when it comes time for the wedding reception. Even if they didn’t previously know each other, they will now have some shared history.
2. Music is important, even if you don’t plan to have dancing. Keep it loud enough so that people can hear it, but not so loud they have to shout to be heard over it. The type of music is important too. Make sure it’s light and uplifting.
3. Have a slide show running on one wall featuring the bride and groom from babies to adulthood, lots of shots of friends and families, and as many funny (and potentially embarrassing) pictures as you can find. This opens everyone up for a good laugh and brings out the conversation as the bride’s mom tells the groom’s sister the story that led up to a certain picture, etc.
4. Make the room on the smallish size. If the room is huge and the number of guests small, they have plenty of room to go hide in the corners. You want the room size to force them to be closer together so they will mingle.
5. Group dancing such as line dancing, the Stroll, the Hokey Pokey, and even the Bunny Hop get people together. The more ridiculous dances are usually good during the latter half of the reception after the ice has been broken.
6. The dance with the bride (money dance) is a tradition for some families and one you should consider doing as it’s lots of fun and gets everyone involved. Basically everyone lines up to dance with the bride and puts some money in the hat for the privilege to do so.
7. A tango contest or limbo contest is another activity to try half way through the reception. This can be hilarious and entertaining for everyone, not just those who are involved. Be sure to have someone video tape it as you might end up with some footage suitable for the America’s Funniest Videos show.
8. Give the loners at your reception a job to do. You can assign these guests disposable cameras and ask them to be in charge of getting some candid shots during the reception.
These are some ideas to help you have a reception where your guests feel comfortable and have a good time. Keep these in mind and your reception may be talked about fondly for years to come.
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