Let’s Get This Party Started!
Quick: How many weddings have you attended? And how many of those weddings’ reception have followed the same pattern?:
Gather for Cocktails while you await the formal photos to be completed.
Sit down and watch the grand entrance.
Dinner is served
Dance and drink more cocktails
Cut the cake
Toss the bouquet and garter
These days, brides & grooms are looking for more memorable moments on their wedding day and are willing to break the mold when it comes to everything from their invitations to the getaway.
Here are some great ideas for reception games that will have your guests talking about your wedding for months to come!
The Newlywed and Not-So-Newlywed Game:
With the bride & groom the obvious choice for the newlyweds, choose 3 other couples - perhaps one married 5-10 years, one married 10-20 years and one married more than 25 years - to participate. If siblings, parents and even grandparents of the newlyweds are available and willing to participate, this could be made even more humorous! But be sure to keep the questions family-friendly so nobody gets their feelings hurt.
- The basics:
Set up 4 chairs in the middle of the room/on the dance floor. First, send out the guys with a beer and someone to make sure they stay out of earshot. Your DJ asks the questions, such as
"If your husband was a cartoon character, which one would he be?" and "Who initiated your first kiss?". One by one, the answers are given and recorded, then the ladies are ushered out of the room and the guys enter to be asked the same questions. When the guys have had their turn replying to the questions, bring the ladies back in to stand behind their hubbies and read off the questions a third time, with the answers being read out loud. Enjoy the reactions of the "contestants" and the laughter of the audience. Give out a prize to the couple with the most matching answers.
A MadLibs Toast:
Remember playing with MadLibs when you were younger? This game can be translated into reception party entertainment to great effect and also serves as a perfect ice-breaker for guests to work on at the table while awaiting the grand entrance.
- The Basics
Determine the number of answers needed for your MadLibs sheet based on the number of tables at your reception. Place one or more answer card(s) and a pen on each table (numbered for the position they will take in the final story) and instruct guests to decide upon a word of the type (noun, verb, adjective, etc.) with their tablemates. No further information need be given at this point. During dinner, the DJ will pick up the cards from each table and insert the answers into the script. As a final toast, the DJ will read the script to the bride and groom and hilarity ensues.
A sample script goes something like this:
When (name of groom) met (name of bride) his initial reaction was __________(exclamation)! After all, her eyes were __________ (adjective) and her hair was like ______________ (plural noun).
(Name of bride) was similarly _____________ (reaction, past tense) to have found the _____________ (noun) of her life and immediately _______________ (verb, past tense)
____________ (name of someone in the room) to commence with wedding planning.
(Name of groom) wasted no time, and before ____________ (amount of time) was shopping for a __________ (noun) to present to (name of bride) as an engagement gift.
As you can see, (name of bride) was certainly impressed and here we are today witnessing this display of _____________ (emotion) shared by two of the most ____________ (adjective) people we could hope to know.
We wish (name of bride) and (name of groom) all the best in their future life together, including ________ (number) children who will grow up to be __________ (profession, plural), ___________ (profession, plural) and _________________ (profession, plural).
With a Little Help From Our Friends:
Everyone knows that a good support system is needed for any successful marriage. Why not invite the guests to provide their best, funniest, and most unusual advice to the new bride and groom?
- The Basics
Leave a stack of cards by the guest book and instruct each guest to take one card and to pen their advice to the new husband and wife, noting that the cards will be collected later. Creativity and advice from children (if present) should be encouraged!
As the guests watch your ceremony, they’ll be thinking about what makes a marriage successful and what wisdom they’d like to share. Leave a bowl at the reception to drop the advice cards, then have them read throughout the evening by the DJ or MC, interspersing the sweetest with the most unusual and funny advice for the couple.
Kisses With A Twist:
A common wedding reception activity is to ring a bell or clink cutlery to glasses to demand the bride and groom share a kiss for all to see. This game provides a twist on that by teaching them some new moves.
- The Basics
Go ahead and place your cute little bells on the table, but instead of the usual protocol - guests ring bells, newlyweds kiss, end of story - try this on for fun:
A public kiss we’d love to share
but ask your help, if you dare.,
We’re new to this, you see
so show us how it ought to be.
Ring the bell and show us how
then we’ll do the same and take a bow.
The idea is that guests will demonstrate funny, passionate or sweet kisses for you to replicate. A good idea would be to ask members of your bridal party who are in attendance with their partners to take the lead on this one. The results can be great fun!
The Shoe Game:
Sort of similar to The Newlywed Game, but different. This game involves just the bride and groom and spontaneous responses which are sure to invoke sweet “awww” moments, as well as laughter from your guests.
- The Basics
Set up two chairs, back to back, on the dance floor and each of you (bride & groom) takes a seat. Take off your shoes and pass one to your new spouse, holding the other, so you are each left with one of your own shoes and one of your spouse’s shoes. Questions will be asked, and you’ll hold up the appropriate shoe to signal your answer.
Potential questions to be posed by your DJ include:
- When you two were first dating, who made the first move?
- Which of you is the better driver?
- Which of you is more likely to be late?
- Who is better with money?
- Who will be paying the bills?
- Which of you will be the stricter parent?
- Who gets the remote control?
- Who is most likely to cry to get their way?
- Which of you snores (more)?
- Who is the better cook?
- and, of course, who is the love of your life?
The fun of this game is in the fact that you don’t know what your new spouse is answering or if your answers agree or disagree. You only know the guests’ reactions and will have fun revisiting this game after the day is over.
table names - lead to spontaneous stories.
Table Name Storytime:
Use names for your tables instead of numbering and let the guests invent the stories.
- The Basics:
Rather than numbering your tables (boring!) at your reception, try coming up with a variety of names or catch phrases related to your courtship. Something like “Elvis Meets Elvira” for the night you two met at a costume party or “Bicycle Built For Two” to refer to your first date. Leave a note on each table asking the guests to collaborate on what they think the story behind their table name is and to nominate a member of that table to come up to the microphone and tell the story later, to the amusement of all. Give prizes to the guests at the table with the best story.
What’s your favorite wedding reception game or activity?
By Joyce Buczek
Joyce Buczek was the founder and original owner of Invitations4Less.com in 1999. She continues working with Invitations4Less.com as a consultant and guest blogger. In her spare time, Joyce enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with her family, including 2 spoiled cats.