Remember when weddings were just cake, punch, and kisses? While some brides and grooms are eager to throw a simple, sweet bash, others are scheming up ways to make their reception truly wow their guests. If you want to go far beyond the traditional dinner and drinks reception and create an experience your guests won’t soon forget, here are 19 entertainment ideas for a truly unique wedding reception.
What’s more magical than an evening celebrating love? A real-life magician! Hire a magician to perform sleight of hand that will keep your guests guessing.
Make ’em say wow with a fireworks display that will keep the whole neighborhood talking.
3. Bar Trivia
Is there a favorite bar trivia night that you go to weekly? Why not ask them to set up shop at your wedding reception? You could even make it couple-themed and have your guests answer questions about the two of you!
4. Dog Adoption Event
Are the two of you wildly passionate about puppies? See if a local animal shelter would be willing to host an adoption event at your wedding reception! Not only will your guests get to cuddle the pups all night, but a couple of lucky dogs may find a new home.
5. A Themed Cover Band
Sure, you could hire a typical wedding band that will perform the classics—or you could go all out and hire a band that specializes in playing the hits of a specific decade or even a specific band. (Because what’s better than a pop punk band playing the songs of your youth? We can’t think of much either.)
Skip the wedding favors and hire a caricaturist to capture the essence of your guests. Don’t forget to get special ones of the bridal party and the happy couple!
7. Dove Release
Want something memorable and romantic? This gorgeous and breathtaking wedding tradition won’t go unnoticed.
Does the band or DJ need a break? Entertain your guests with a karaoke session—featuring all of your wedding party or some very brave wedding guests.
9. Play the Big Game
If you’re having your wedding during a sports league playoff or while there’s an important college football game, you could skip the groans of guests who are missing the game (or secretly checking the score on their phones) and play the game on a big screen in the reception area. Put on closed captioning so that you can still hear the music, and be sure to put the dancing on hold if the game goes into overtime!
10. Lawn Games
Lawn games are an old standby of picnics and reunions, but why not have them at your wedding? Bust out the croquet, horseshoes, and shuffleboard inside your venue or out on the lawn if the weather is appropriate.
11. S’mores Bar
Having a fall wedding? There’s nothing better than cuddling up around a fire pit and roasting some marshmallows for s’mores. Up your game by offering gourmet and unexpected combinations of marshmallows, chocolates, and graham crackers.
12. Bourbon or Wine Tasting
If you and your partner love to do liquor tastings, this is something fun you could have your guests do at the reception. Set up stations for wine, bourbon, or whisky that will allow your guests to discover a few favorites.
13. A Petting Zoo
Are the two of you big animal lovers? Nothing could be cuter than having a petting zoo outside of your reception.
14. Release Paper Lanterns
What could be more romantic than releasing paper lanterns into the sky at the end of your wedding reception? This will make for an unforgettable experience for your guests—and will look gorgeous in photos.
15. A Fortune Teller
You already know who you’ll be marrying, but what else is in store for your future? Have a fortune teller set up a booth at your reception and allow your guests to peer into their future lives.
16. Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides
Getting married in the country or near the park? Have your guests pair off and enjoy a beautiful horse-drawn carriage ride during the reception.
17. DIY Cocktail Bar
Love crafting cocktails? A DIY cocktail bar for your guests lets them create their own concoctions, using herbs, bitters, liquors, and seltzers to make that perfect combination.
18. Bouncy House
Bring out your inner child and take turns jumping in the big bounce house (just make sure that the one you’re renting is made for adults!).
19. Board Games
Are you a big fan of spending an evening tallying up your points during a rousing game of Scrabble? Do you live for figuring out the killer in a round of Clue? Having board games available for your guests at their tables might be your idea of a perfect evening.