Five Ideas for a Great Reception

On occasion, a bride will voice her inclination to keep the reception laid-back rather than fill it with a bunch of activities guests aren’t interested in. Having photographed a reception or two, we can say without reservation that the best receptions by far are the ones that start and end with fanfare and have a lot going on in between. The reason for a reception is to celebrate your marriage, but the objective is to send guests home happy, tipsy, and so glad they came to help congratulate you.

Here are five proven reception activities that will engage your crowd and make time fly.


One: The Big Intro

If you want a party atmosphere, nothing sets the tone like a high-energy kick-off. The star of that moment is the person you’ve named as emcee for the night — whether that’s your band leader, DJ, maid of honor or best man, while you and your wedding party are the electrifying cast. So get yourself a high-energy host to pump the crowd for your big entrance. Then it’s up to you and your wedding party to deliver on all that excitement when you’re announced into the room. You and your crew don’t need great dance moves, either. A complete abandonment of inhibitions will do just fine to please the crowd 🙂


Two: A Choreographed First Dance

A beautiful, well-rehearsed first dance can be mesmerizing for the crowd and a wonderful place to get lost in one another for a few minutes after a frenetic day. If you aren’t a natural, many towns have dance studios that offer inexpensive lessons that’ll make you feel like one. Even if you’re planning on winging it, you can still look great simply by maintaining posture as you dance and then finish with a dip!


Three: The Shoe Game

All it takes is two chairs, four shoes, and 20 questions for you and your new mate to leave your guests in stitches. The shoe game is definitely a reception-crowd favorite. To play, your emcee will place the aforementioned chairs back to back in the middle of the dance floor. You and your SO will take a seat, remove both shoes and then swap one with each other so that you’re each holding your own shoe in one hand and your partner’s shoe in the other. The emcee then will begin reading from a prepared list of questions things like, “Who’s the messiest?” You’ll each raise the shoe that belongs to the one who best fits the question. The Internet is full of shoe-game questions, but it’s best to leave the list-making up to a couple of people who know you well — think maid of honor and best man. If you’re adventurous, you can even authorize the emcee to conclude the game by opening the questioning up to the crowd 😉


Four: The Train

When dinner’s over, the dance floor is packed, and crowd energy is peaking, it’s the perfect time for the bride to start a train. Especially if a fun, old-school song like Louie Louie or Come On, Ride the Train is blasting. All it takes is a couple of collaborators in tow behind you to get it going!


Five: The Send-off

Nothing says “Good-night and thanks for coming” like a sparkler-and-bubbles send-off! Not every venue allows sparklers, but if yours does, combining them with bubbles makes for a magical atmosphere and fantastic photos. The secret’s in the reflectivity of the bubbles: they catch and cast the light from the sparklers, multiplying the amount of light in the air. Plus, a wand and some good bubble juice are just too much fun to stop, and they’re safer in the hands of kids than a hot sparkler!


Best wishes!

We hope these ideas will help you plan the kind of reception that you and your guests will never forget, and we hope also that you’ll consider One Soul Photography when you begin looking for the right fit in a wedding photography studio.