Unique Wedding Entertainment Ideas
Once the ceremony concludes, the celebration is just beginning! Make your reception even more memorable with these unique wedding entertainment ideas.
A wedding reception is no mere party. It’s a way to greet your guests and thank them for attending your wedding. It’s also the newlywed couple’s first presentation in public. But, yes, it’s also a big party.
The term reception (“to receive”) refers to the receiving line tradition, where the couple stands and personally thanks every guest as they pass by in a line. Today, the couple is usually just announced when they enter the reception. However, that is about the only aspect that’s become shorter.
Until the post-World War II era, the reception (and many weddings) took place in the bride’s home (about a third of newly married couples skipped the reception altogether). Only wealthy families threw elaborate balls. Most celebrated with a small home-cooked luncheon.
That changed as dance halls became popular and prolific, which provided an affordable location for post-wedding parties. Today, most receptions last several hours (and some are lavish blowouts). Here are 20 wedding reception entertainment ideas to help ensure that everyone at your party has a blast.
Wedding activities for guests
A silent disco is an event where people dance to music played over wireless headphones. To anyone not wearing headphones, it appears the dance floor is full of people dancing to nothing.
The trend is big at music fests because it lets the party continue without violating noise ordinances. However, there doesn’t need to be a noise curfew for you to throw a silent disco. It’s an inventive way to create conversation breaks without interrupting the party. It’s also a fun activity that looks wild to anyone without headphones.
Usually, at a reception, you want everyone’s spirits high, but with a limbo competition, it’s all about how low you can go. To enhance the limbo atmosphere, consider hiring a steel drum player to keep the beat for the gravity-defying contestants.
Dancing plays a central role at wedding receptions, and here’s a way to get everyone involved: bring in a dance instructor to choreograph a routine. This doesn’t need to be complex choreography. Instead, try to find a dance anyone could accomplish, such as line dancing or beginner hip-hop moves.
You have two options when hiring performers for your event. The first is having wedding entertainers wander through the crowd, which is a fun and surprising way to entertain your guests. Possibilities include:
- Celebrity impersonators
- Favorite team’s mascot
- Mariachi band
The second possibility is to have the guests go to the entertainer by designating an area or having on-stage performances. Some options are:
- Fire performers
- Circus performers
- Tarot card reader, fortune teller, or palm reader
- Dancers (hula performers, belly dancers, flamenco dancers, cabaret performers, ballroom dancers, etc.)
Wedding reception entertainment ideas games
The shoe game tests how well the newlywed couple knows one another. It’s a new trend quickly becoming one of the most fun things to do at a wedding. For anyone unfamiliar with the game, the newlyweds remove their shoes and exchange one. Then they sit back-to-back so they cannot see each other and answer a series of questions, such as:
- Who said “I love you” first?
- Who is funnier?
- Who is the bigger baby when they have a cold?
- Who is nerdier?
- Who takes longer showers?
- Who is more likely to drop their phone in the toilet?
- Who has better taste in films?
- Who spends more time on social media?
- Who is more likely to get lost?
The newlyweds don’t answer verbally. Instead, they raise either their shoe or their partners. The answers lead to murmurs of agreement or dissent, occasional applause, and always laughter.
Wedding guest bingo
There are many ideas for wedding bingo games. Some entail spotting specific events, like “someone spills a drink,” “someone has a wardrobe malfunction,” or “someone is overserved.” However, the fun factor of identifying random incidents is questionable, and some of these feel cruel and finger-waggy.
Another option is wedding speech bingo with options like “shady comment about an ex,” “a how-we-met story,” and “marriage advice.” However, don’t you want people paying attention to the speeches instead of dividing their attention by playing a game (or having speeches interrupted with shouts of “bingo!”)? Plus, you know some chucklehead groomsman will think it’s funny to cram all the prompts into a single speech, simultaneously ruining the game, the speech, and the moment.
Instead, here’s a wedding bingo idea that serves as a thoughtful tribute to your guests and a conversation starter. Create cards filled with personalized information about the attendees. Some suggestions include:
- Went to grade school with the bride
- Owns three or more dogs
- Collects baseball cards
- Sings professionally
- Studied ballet
Try to create clues that include a mix of family and friends, so it’s harder for a single guest to fill in the boxes from memory. The goal is to make people talk to one another. (“Do you know anyone here who studied ballet?”) Place a line under each prompt to fill in the name of a matching guest. The winner is the first (or however many you like) to fill in their entire card.
Picture scavenger hunt
Your wedding photographer will get great shots, but even a professional can’t be everywhere at once. If you’re someone who wants to make sure that every second of the reception is covered from every angle, this suggestion is for you.
Create a list of Instagrammable moments and place the cards at each seat to encourage your guests to capture these events. Be sure to include a cloud folder for people to upload the photos (you don’t want them locked behind some social media barrier). Possibilities include:
- Newlyweds holding hands
- A smiling couple
- The wedding cake
- Group photo of your table
- Selfie with a guest you don’t know
- Full dance floor
- A toast
- Children having fun
- Parents with one of the newlyweds
Bring the childhood thrill of smashing things with a stick to your reception. There are plenty of wedding-themed piñatas available, including bride’s cakes and linked golden rings. As for the treats inside the pinata, get creative and include things like:
- Lottery scratch-off tickets
- Plastic mini liquor bottles
- Glow sticks
- Party favors
- Candy, you must have candy
If you want to encourage some friendly competition, try scattering a few games around your reception venue. Here are some popular options:
- Table tennis
- Jenga (giant or table-top)
- Connect Four
- Chess (life-size or standard)
- Ring toss
“You’ll poke your eye out” wedding entertainment
Just kidding, sort of. These are all popular activities where adult libations are served, and people seem to leave as intact as when they entered. So, as long as you follow all safety procedures, these activities could really liven up your reception.
Ax throwing is not a DIY activity. If you want to celebrate your wedding day with the satisfying “thrunk” of an ax blade hitting wood (and the less satisfying “chroink” of an ax bouncing off the target and pinwheeling to the ground), please hire a company that specializes in setting up and monitoring the event. Your guests’ extremities thank you in advance.
Setting up a darts section is a fun way to inject a casual, pub-like atmosphere and a little healthy competition into the big day. To add a festive wedding twist, replace the dart board with a wall of balloons.
Fine, a confetti canon probably doesn’t belong in this section, but it doesn’t fit in the other categories either, so here it is. Plus, you certainly don’t want to take a blast from one of these things to the face. Anyway, confetti cannon; shoot it in the air, confetti rains down, everyone has a grand time. Wee bit messy, though. Before firing the first glittery round, you’ll want to get approval from your venue and have a solid grasp of their clean-up policy.
Foodie things to do at wedding reception
Usually, the couple is starving when they hit the reception. However, receptions aren’t always known to have the best food. The following suggestions will change that perception.
We’re sure there are people out there who don’t like s’mores, but we’re also sure that we haven’t met them. If your venue has an available fire pit (or room for a large indoor s’more station), put out some skewers and rows of graham crackers, chocolate squares, and marshmallows, and let your guests go to town. Since s’mores tend to be the messiest food ever (although barbeque ribs are also in contention), this station is recommended for a casual event.
If your venue has the kitchen capacity, fire up the ovens and lay out a buffet of pizza toppings. You can have guests roll out their dough (maybe provide a pizza dough tossing demonstration from a professional) or have trays ready to go. Once someone perfects their cheesy creation, a server takes it to an oven and returns about ten minutes later with a perfectly cooked, delish dish.
The first food truck was created by a Texas rancher named Charles Goodnight. While preparing for a cattle drive in 1866, Goodnight outfitted an old army surplus wagon with shelves, storage, counter space, a water barrel, firewood, and preserved food, like dried beans, salted meat, and corn meal. By doing so, he invented the chuck wagon.
Food trucks underwent a dramatic change since the 1800s, eventually becoming a trendy source for surprisingly fancy fare. From a banh mi to a Mayan-style taco, food trucks are a fun way to provide your guests with a wide variety of tasty options.
Hot chocolate bar
Another recent can’t-miss wedding trend is a DIY hot chocolate station, and it’s relatively easy to set up. You’ll need a large urn of hot water (and someone making sure it stays filled), plenty of cute mugs, some hot cocoa mix (homemade is impressive, but packaged mix is much easier and perfectly acceptable), and a selection of add-ins and topping, such as:
- Marshmallows (a must)
- A selection of “chips” (i.e., chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, etc.)
- Peppermint sticks (you can crush them or keep them whole to use as stirrers)
- Syrups (chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, etc.)
- Whipped cream
- Ground spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc.)
If your reception includes adult libations, stash some options at the bar for anyone who wants to create a nightcap (Irish cream, coffee liquor, peppermint liquor, bourbon, whiskey, etc.). If hot chocolate is not your thing, consider an ice cream sundae bar or a chocolate fountain.
Creating a signature cocktail (“cocktails” can be non-alcoholic mixed drinks) for your wedding reception is an ingenious way to personalize your party and save money. Signature cocktails are also known as “batch cocktails” because they are prepared before the event begins. Batching is cost-effective because you control the ingredients (it’s impossible to over-pour) and is a time-saver for drink servers.
There are a few aspects to consider when looking for the perfect signature cocktail. The first is choosing how many signature cocktails you want to serve. Trying to keep up with more than three batched drinks can become cumbersome.
Next, you want to find a drink that represents the personality and preferences of you and your spouse. Is there a drink that is meaningful to you as a couple? Maybe something you shared on a first date or the day you became engaged. Or is there a band or style of music you both enjoy (for example, margaritas and tiki drinks are associated with folk-rock and calypso music).
The third consideration is the setting of your wedding. Is there a drink style associated with the region or local ingredients and flavors you can utilize?
Double-duty wedding performers
The following folks not only provide entertainment, but they also fulfill a vital function at your reception.
They walk among your guests, bringing drinks and clearing plates. They don’t draw attention to themselves until one waiter begins singing at the top of their voice. It’s not long before another waiter joins the chorus and then another. Soon, three singers weave through the crowd, putting on a show.
The “singing waiters” concept began in Europe and is just arriving in the States. The service exists in a few cities. Unfortunately, the DFW area is not one of them, yet. However, if you like the concept, we’re sure you could reach out to a local college theater program or community theater and find willing participants.
Unique food and drink service
Sure, you could have waiters offer your guests hors d’oeuvres and cocktails from a tray, but it would be much more fun and memorable to have a server ride a tricycle through your crowd that doubles as a mobile bar. Another fun idea is converting server uniforms into roaming hors d’oeuvres tables (picture a Marie-Antoinette-esque Rococo dress that fans out to become a table at the waist). Just make sure you have plenty of space for the waiters to move around, as these costumes can take up a significant amount of space.
Children’s wedding entertainment ideas
We were all children once. While your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life, you know what it is to an eight-year-old child: boring. However, you can change the little-one’s minds by giving them a dedicated play area. Here are some possibilities:
- Face painter
- Animal balloons
- Treasure hunt
- Dress-up area
- Movie and popcorn
Now that you have some great ideas for fun things to do at a wedding, we have the perfect location to host your wedding entertainment: DFW Celebrations. Our Dallas wedding venues have all the amenities your selected entertainment could need, including private dressing rooms, large stages, and a spacious prep kitchen. To learn more about our gorgeous ballrooms and schedule a tour, please contact us here.