Wedding reception ideas: A bride and groom on the dance floor while confetti rains down around them

It’s your big day, your special moment, your once-in-a-lifetime evening. And while you’ll remember your wedding day for the rest of your life, you want it to be equally memorable for everyone on your guest list. You want all eyes on you at the wedding ceremony, but come the reception, you want each guest having the time of their life. You’re on the hunt for fun wedding reception ideas for all to enjoy, whether that means tweaking the cocktail hour, offering activities beyond the dance floor, or getting really creative with table settings.

Your wedding reception should be a blend of your and your soon-to-be-forever partner’s personalities. Now is the time to take a good hard look at your wedding reception venue, and find ways to put your unique touch on the decor, menu, and party favors.

8 Wedding Reception Ideas for Your Special Day

Wedding reception ideas: A champagne coupe centerpiece

Every happy couple wants their wedding reception to be the most memorable one of the year. Whether you’re searching for party favors your guests will truly enjoy or want to arrange out-of-the-box entertainment, here are eight ways to make your reception one to remember.

1. Have an Outfit Change

If Clark Kent managed to change into Superman in a phone booth, you can maneuver out of your wedding dress and into outfit number two at the reception.

If you’d be more comfortable having your first dance in a wedding romper than a wedding dress, we see no reason why it can’t make an appearance as your second act. If the guys can remove their ties, the women can certainly don a shorter dress or swap out their mermaid-style gown for something more dance floor-ready.

2. Don’t Forget the Late-Night Menu

What’s the best part of wedding planning? Easy: taste-testing the wedding cake. Devising the menu is a close second. But sometimes, we get so caught up in constructing the menu (with dietary modifications for everyone on the guest list) that we forget about late-night munchies.

Also known as the most important meal of the day, the munchies consist of snacks and apps guests can enjoy after sipping a few cocktails or busting some moves on the dance floor. Consider setting up a Candyland-themed sweets station, hiring a food truck, passing around dozens of donuts, or having 56 pizzas delivered to your reception hall (hey, we’ve seen it happen).

3. Offer Onsite Childcare

And by childcare, we mean activities that will keep the kiddos occupied into the evening.

Let’s face facts: Wedding receptions are tailored to adults. Adults-only beverages, adult dancing, and (most likely) an adult menu. If you want your adult friends to truly enjoy their evening, they can’t be constantly worried about the younger ones in their family.

To make it a family-friendly wedding — and ensure those 16 and under still have the time of their lives — consider setting up a few kid-friendly activities. Take away a few reception tables and create an arts and crafts station, pass out bottles of bubbles (while the adults enjoy their bubbly beverages), and give the kids goodie bags of activities upon entrance (not exit) so they can enjoy all night long.

4. Forgot the Floral Arrangements

Flowers may be beautiful, but those centerpieces are taking up prime real estate in front of each place setting. For a memorable wedding reception idea, consider losing the flower arrangements for something more interactive.

There’s no limit to the items (and activities) you can place at the center of each table. Consider creating a pyramid of disposable cameras, transforming every guest into a human photo booth. Or, create a print out of a questionnaire about the happy couple (bonus: give prizes to guests who get the most answers right at the end of the night). Lastly, ditch the seven-tiered wedding cake in favor of one tier per table number, all in different flavors. That way, guests will be encouraged to travel to different tables (and mingle with other guests) to find their preferred slice.

5. Rethink Your Escort Cards 

When devising your wedding seating chart, you’ll eventually come to the stark realization that your wedding venue has a finite amount of space. And you’ll be on a personal mission to use every square inch of it.

Your wedding place cards are an often overlooked element of the reception, but they can double as unique wedding favors for guests. Rather than simply writing guests’ names on a piece of paper, consider staking their names in a succulent or small potted plant. For a more rustic wedding, place it in a mini mason jar with a single floral arrangement. Or, stake your wedding guests’ names in a gold-foil wrapped piece of chocolate, giving them a sweet taste of the events to come.

6. Think “Backyard BBQ” as Much as Dance Floor

We have no doubt your wedding party will result in a mighty fine rendition of the chicken dance, led by your capable bridesmaids and groomsmen. That being said, dancing isn’t for everyone. Some guests will be looking forward to the wonderful opportunity to catch-up with people they haven’t seen in years.

To help spark the conversation, set up lawn games at your reception. Larger-than-life Jenga blocks, chess, or tic-tac-toe can be fun ways for guests to collaborate. Looking for a few 21+ ideas? Return to your college days, and set up beer pong or cornhole.

7. Serve Your 13-Year-Old-Self’s Favorite Foods at Cocktail Hour

Your 30-year old friends can enjoy their mini quiches and salmon puffs elsewhere — because at your cocktail hour, you’re keeping it old school.

Give your cocktail hour a personal touch by passing out retro wedding food. Work with your caterer to think of after-school snacks you once enjoyed, like Pizza Rolls, Cheetos, and pigs in a blanket. Save the cupcakes for the formal reception, and pass out double-stuffed Oreos and muddy buddies at the cocktail hour.

8. Get Really Practical About Your Wedding Favors

If you spend time carefully selecting — not to mention, paying for — custom keepsakes to send home with guests, you don’t want them ending up stuffed in a drawer.

As a fun wedding idea for the reception, offer your guests something they can use. Lay out pairs of white sandals so your guests can ditch the heels and dress shoes and keep shimmying on the dance floor. If you know your guests will be out late (and have a slight caffeine addiction) give out custom bags of luxurious ground coffee. Consider sending them home with a nightcap, wrapping up individual bottles of champagne or wine with ribbon in your wedding colors. Or, give them individually-wrapped desserts, like cupcakes, caramel apples, or donuts.

Your Wedding Reception Should Fit Your Personality

Wedding reception ideas: Guests throw confetti at an outdoor reception

This is your wedding reception — so don’t hold back. Have fun with it. Find ways to weave your personality and love story into various aspects of the evening, from your online wedding invitations to your party favors to the menu and table settings.

Depending on your wedding theme, you can find tons of unique ways to add a little flare by coming up with a few unique wedding reception ideas. Do a retro menu, think beyond flowers for centerpieces, add activities beyond dancing, and customize every last bit of reception decor (down to the escort cards).

From all of us at Greenvelope, we’re sure your reception is going to be one party to remember. Now, get brainstorming, and get that party started.