5 Simple Tips for Keeping Your Guests Engaged at Your Wedding Reception

Not many things are worse than being bored at a wedding reception. I’m not saying this happens very often, but if you’re not thoughtful about your reception, it can. Read on and you’ll find five simple tips to ensure this doesn’t.

Toasting and holding your first dance right away helps keep a good pace during your reception.

Hold your first dance right away to keep a good pace.

1. Toasting and First Dance Right Away

Think about reworking your reception timeline just a bit. At a wedding I recently attended, the couple chose to do their first dance right after their grand entrance and also had the champagne pre-set on the dining tables so that toasting could take place right after their first dance. Not only did this help keep guests engaged right from the beginning, but these two events being placed so close to the beginning of the reception ensured that dancing started right after dinner service. Waiting until after dinner for toasting and then to sit through the first dance, makes guests a bit tired. Think about it, you just had a wonderful dinner, and now you’re sitting for another 30 minutes to 45 minutes and starting to feel kind of lethargic – definitely not what you want your guests feeling on your big day.

2. Thoughtful Assigned Seating
I am the biggest proponent of assigned seating. One of the main reasons is because it takes the guess work out of your guests having to scramble to find a table or risk sitting with people they don’t even know and feeling awkward.

Assigning seating has many advantages.

Assigning seating has many advantages.

For example, at my wedding, instead of letting everyone sit wherever they wanted, which causes you to have to over-set the room to ensure you have enough seats and groups can sit together, I placed all of my co-workers together, friends from college all at one table, cousins of the same age, aunts and uncles together, to ensure that everyone was with someone they either had many things in common with or people they already knew. Nothing is more awkward and puts a damper on a reception than when guests don’t know anyone else and have to choose for themselves where to sit. Be thoughtful about your table arranging and even if there are a few couples who don’t know anyone else, put them all together! Chances are they’ll be buds by the end of the night.

Mrs. and Mr. Lents dancing the night away at Hotel Albuquerque! -Photo by Cutmaster Music

Mrs. and Mr. Lents dancing the night away at Hotel Albuquerque!
-Photo by Cutmaster Music

3. Start the Dancing Early

If you’ve decided to wait until after dinner to start the toasting and to do your first dance that is perfectly fine. My suggestion in this case would be to start the dancing early. Instead of cutting the cake and tossing the bouquet right

after this, take a break from the traditions and open up the dance floor for half an hour to an hour. This will get the energy up in the room so that when you stop to do those traditional events later in the evening, everyone is in a really excited mood already.

Photo booths can add something extra to your reception. Here, our chapel doubled as a photo booth during the May 2014 LGBT Wedding & Honeymoon Expo.

Photo booths can add something extra to your reception. Here, our chapel doubled as a photo booth during the May 2014 LGBT Wedding & Honeymoon Expo. –  Photo from Max Woltman Photography

4. Plan One Other Activity Within the Reception
One of the best examples is a photo booth. These are still so popular and for good reason. They are fun! They give your guests something to do if there is a lull at any point during the reception; they are fun for guests of all ages and serve as a great alternative to a guest book. Bonus: Instant favors if guests get to take a copy of their photos.

5. Trivia About the Couple

Here’s one last detail that can make a huge difference when it comes to a buffet style dinner meal. Buffets are a popular option because they keep you from having to keep track of which guest has which entrée, but the process of dismissing tables can seem

Ask a trivia question to determine which table visits the buffet first.

Ask a trivia question to determine which table visits the buffet first.

weird. Your DJ or MC is going to do it or your banquet captain can quietly dismiss tables. One of the best ways I’ve seen this done is to play a trivia game about the couple. The first table to get the answer right gets dismissed to the buffet and so on. It’s easy to have your DJ or MC facilitate this and it makes the whole “getting in line for the food” seem cute and fun!

Don’t get too bogged down with tradition. There are no rules anymore! Switch up the timeline, be mindful of your guests, throw in some fun activities (don’t forget a great music selection!), and you’ve got reception gold.

Cheers,

liz-signature

 

 

 

Photo of Liz Robinson

Corporate Special Events Manger, Liz Robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Corporate Special Events Manager Liz Robinson shares her expert tips, tricks and Pin-spirations to make your big day great.

Have a question for Liz? Leave a comment below.

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