7 Fun Ways to End Your Reception

A bride and groom watching a fireworks display in an evening sky.

It hardly seems imaginable if you’re currently knee deep in wedding plans, but there will indeed be a last moment of your wedding reception. The food and champagne will be gone, and the guests will be eager to say goodbye and good luck to you. So when this moment finally arrives, how do you envision it happening?

If the idea of the traditional flower or rice throwing makes you yawn or if you think a sparkler exit has been overdone, you’ll need to think of a creative exit that is sure to wow your guests. To help spark your imagination, we’ve gathered seven of the most memorable ways to end your reception.

1. Serve Some Late Night Snacks

A rustic- and vintage-looking milk and cookies bar at a wedding.

If your reception is going late into the night, it’s likely that your guests have had several hours of drinking champagne and dancing, which means that a late night snack is on the horizon. Save your guests that trip to the Taco Bell drive-through and surprise them with some late night munchies like a cookies and milk display, a slew of pepperoni pizzas delivered to the venue, or even your favorite food truck rolling up into the parking lot after the reception. Anticipating the needs of your guests at the end of the night is just one of those details that they won’t likely forget anytime soon.

2. Have a Performance

We’ve all seen those viral videos of couples breaking it down during their first dance—so why not flip that idea on its head and have a breakout performance at the end of the evening? Wow your guests with your rendition of Grease karaoke or surprise them with a choreographed dance to your favorite soundtrack. Whatever your secret talents are, this is your chance to make them shine and create an unforgettable wedding exit that your guests will be talking about for years to come.

3. Light Some Wish Lanterns

Someone letting a paper wish lantern into the night sky during a wedding with stars.

Is there anything more breathtaking than watching a bunch of white lanterns illuminate the night sky? Incorporate the use of “wish lanterns” into your reception exit so that your guests can send you good wishes out into the universe as you embark on this new journey of marriage. Not only will it be a memorable experience for you and all your guests, but it’ll also look stunning in photographs and make a nice ending for your wedding video. But before you go out and purchase some lanterns on Amazon, double-check with your venue and with your local fire codes that they’re allowed.

4. Have an Exciting “Celebrity” Appearance

Every town has their own version of a celebrity—why not invite them to join the party? Whether it’s a team mascot or a famous local band, making arrangements to surprise your guests with a cameo at the end of the night is sure to keep them talking. Have a band play you out to your favorite song or have a mascot do some crowd work as you exit the building.

5. Make a Speech

A bride and groom giving a speech at their wedding reception.

You’ve spent your evening talking to as many guests as you can, but a great way to end the evening is to make a speech thanking everyone for celebrating with you. Spend some time drafting this speech and be as creative as you can. Introduce some humor or go with something sweet and sentimental. Either way, your guests will appreciate hearing your voices before you embark on your honeymoon.

6. Have an Exciting “Celebrity” Appearance

Every town has their own version of a celebrity—why not invite them to join the party? Whether it’s a team mascot or a famous local band, making arrangements to surprise your guests with a cameo at the end of the night is sure to keep them talking. Have a band play you out to your favorite song or have a mascot do some crowd work as you exit the building.

7. Host an After Party

A bride and groom in a van with friends toasting after the wedding.

Who says the party has to stop when the venue closes down? Many couples are choosing to extend the fun of the reception by hosting an after party at their favorite bar or hotel lobby so that they can get extra time with their guests and pop some more champagne. After all, how often is it that you get all of your favorite people in the world in the same room? If you choose to go the after party route, be sure that you make arrangements for it beforehand so that the bar staff is prepared for a large party. Reserve a room at a bar or have them put a few tables together before you arrive.

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