Your wedding reception is supposed to be a wonderful celebration following the marriage ceremony. Some receptions are a blast, while others end up falling flat. This is how to make your wedding reception a fun party that your guests will wish would never end.
Keep the food relaxed. There is a strong trend right now towards comfort food served in an elegant fashion. We're talking mashed potato bars, mac and cheese shooters, tiny grilled cheese sandwiches, mini Angus beef sliders, cones of fresh crisp fries, and all the good stuff. Family style service is also increasingly popular, as compared to the more traditional stuffy seated dinner. If there is one thing that any great host knows it is that lively and enjoyable food sets the stage for a relaxed and convivial atmosphere at dinner. So if you want your reception to be more fun, serve the foods that your guests will be most excited to eat. And if you really want to keep the party going, bring out late night refreshments like fresh hot donuts or even a hot dog truck.
Keep the toasts short! How do you do this? Alert the wedding party that you want to keep toasts brief at the reception. Tell them before the rehearsal dinner, so that they will have the opportunity to say their piece during a longer speech then. Another tip: skip the lengthy video montage showing the bride and groom's life in pictures. While you may think it is precious, with the exception of your parents, most of the guests would rather mingle or dance than sit captive for twenty minutes watching a presentation. If you think a slideshow of sentimental pictures is important to your wedding, project it along one wall of the reception in an endless loop so guests can take a peek at it as they wander through the party.
Plan the music carefully. Have you ever been to a wedding where the d.j. played nothing but lame outdated songs that inspired no one to dance? What about the wedding where just as the party was really getting going, the band took a break and killed the mood? When hiring the musicians for your reception, be very clear about what type of music you do and do not want played. In addition, be sure to have a plan in place for breaks. A band could rotate out members and keep a small crew playing continuously during breaks, or in the case of a band or d.j., an iPod with your favorite tunes can be set up to keep the music flowing while the musicians "take five".
Provide a lounge area where guests can chill during the reception. This is a fantastic way to transform your reception space into a true party-like atmosphere. Your guests will love having a comfy place to relax, chat, and sip their cocktails besides the stiff chairs at the dinner table. The bride can increase the effect by changing into party clothes after the ceremony. Exchange your formal wedding gown and traditional crystal jewelry for a slinky sparkly party dress with more exuberant crystal wedding jewelry. You will be a lot more comfortable for dancing, and the change of clothes will really signal that the party has started.
Finally, when you want to have a fun and lively wedding reception, be sure to add a few elements of surprise. That will definitely make the whole experience more exciting for your guests and will keep the evening from getting stale. The surprise could be almost anything, as long as it has a "wow" factor. Hire a team of dancers to do a show, have a Chinese dragon, dazzle your guests with a fireworks spectacular, or blow them away with an incredible Viennese hour in a separate room. Whatever you choose, the big surprise will be just what you need to make your wedding an incredible party that no one will ever forget.