I descend from a long line of “traditional” wedding receptions limited to three ingredients: dancing, eating, and drinking. Anything beyond that was considered too much flavor. “It’s a wedding, not a circus,” my mom would chide.
Thankfully, weddings have evolved. Yes, they’re still about the sacred union of a couple, but they’re also about showing guests a really good time. Today, a good time is more than a hayride or an organized line dance to the “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” or “Cha Cha Slide” (kill me now). Here are five fresh ideas to keep your guests from ducking out early, or snoozing in the corner with Aunt Edna (who was exhausted by the Electric Slide).
1. Message in a Bottle
Give your friends a chance to give back. Place cards on tabletops asking for marriage advice or for answers to playful prompts like, “What should we name our first child?”, “What was your first impression of my spouse?” or “Share your best memory from today.” Enjoy these as a couple after the wedding, or wait until your first anniversary.
Katie McGee Photography
2. Contain the Kids
When you’re a kid, there’s nothing more awful than going to an “adult party” where people stand around talking and drinking. And when you’re an adult, there’s nothing more annoying than kids playing tag on the dancefloor or using the tandoori chicken skewers as swords. So why not create a space just for the rug rats, complete with babysitter supervision, kid-friendly foods and play stations, all contained within an electric wire fence? (Just kidding about the last part—barbed wire will work just fine).
3. Comedy Sketch
Remember those funny drawings you had made of yourself when you were a kid at Sea World? Turns out they’re still funny. Hiring caricature artists to sketch your guests will give everyone a good laugh—plus, watching an artist draw is like watching a magic show. Just put up a disclaimer that sensitive guests should not apply.
Katie McGee Photography
4. Play Ball
Playtime isn’t just for kids; everyone enjoys a spirited game of bocce ball, croquet or cornhole. You can treat your guests to a hula hoop contest and ring toss, as well. There’s a lot of opportunity for personalization here: “Mr. & Mrs.” cornhole boards and hand-painted croquet mallets and balls. These also make for a great wedding keepsake.
5. Make Happy Little Trees
As an artist, my husband actually chooses restaurants based on if they have paper-covered tables on which he can doodle. Give your guests a place to create, too. Tabletops and blank canvases prevent idle hands. Invite the right people (i.e. artists) and you could walk away with beautiful originals for your walls.