6 Wedding Reception “Must-Haves”

Post By Mandy Stephenson

When it comes to planning your wedding reception, it can be difficult to decide what ideas you should incorporate and how to make sure that you have options that will keep all of your guests entertained. The list we’ve assembled is designed to make sure that you and all of your friends and family will be able to enjoy spending time together and to celebrate such a wonderful milestone. From the photo booth and guest books to signature appetizers and compiling a killer playlist for the dance floor, this reception will be one that you and your guests will remember for years to come.

1. Guest Book Ideas

In the last few months we have seen a ton of really interesting ideas when it comes to coming up with unique ways to get your guests to connect and leave you with lasting memories.

The option below can be great if you’re having a sit-down reception dinner. Simply leave pens and a collection of blank note paper with a ribbon through it in front of each place setting and encourage your guests to write a note of encouragement or advice and attach it to the centerpiece. Photo Courtesy of Alexan Events.

If you have a photo booth (which we will talk about more later!) this can be a great and creative way for your guests to leave a note and a photograph of themselves at your wedding and be able to take the second copy as a favor home with them. Photo Courtesy of Smart Bride Boutique.

2. Signature Appetizers (And Cocktails)

Whether you’re having a full-course meal or just a smaller food selection, one great way to give your wedding a personalized touch is to create personalized appetizers and cocktails that reflect both the bride and groom. Since your friends and family know you both so well, this can be a nice and fun way to showcase your unique personalities and if you’re lucky, maybe you can even convince your parents to do the cooking for these dishes!

We wrote a post on some of the pro’s of having a signature cocktail, which you can read more about here. However, one of the great things about this option is that if you don’t want to have an entirely open bar, serving spirits only in the form of one or two signature cocktails and then offering a limited selection of beers and wines can be a nice way to reduce your overall costs.

Wedding Appetizers

3. Games

No matter what age your guests are, we are firm believers in the fact that no one is too old (or too cool) to play sophisticated lawn games. Whether it’s lawn golf, croquet, horseshoes, or badminton, these activities are a great way for your guests to mingle and have fun. Leave a few baskets of cheap sandals in various sizes near your different game stations and encourage your guests to take part – it definitely makes for some unique photograph opportunities!


Photo Courtesy of Floridian Weddings

4. Centerpieces

Whether you have a series of high-top, round, or rectangular tables at your reception, there are plenty of distinct options for arrangements that allow you to showcase your relationship’s distinct personality. Adding a DIY touch that ties in with your wedding theme, as with the arrangements below, can keep the wedding cohesive, add a beautiful touch to the detail photos of your reception, and it gives your guests a beautiful atmosphere to enjoy. Hanging arrangements, unique table numbers or place cards, and terrariums have been very popular trends this year.

Photo Courtesy of Ruffed Blog




Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Photo Courtesy of Once Wed

5. Photo Booth

Having attended several weddings in the last few years that took advantage of bringing in a photo booth, this is an amazing way to keep your guests entertained. Many newer booths have the capacity to print out photos instantly as well as display them in an online photo album.

Bring in some great props, which you can generally get from the dollar store or a party store for relatively cheap, and don’t forget the mustaches! Try leaving a few chalkboards around for your guests to write their name or a note, this is especially great if they are going to be creating a photo booth guest book for you.

Check out this list of awesome Spokane/Coeur d’ Alene photo booth providers!

Wedding Photobooth

Photo Courtesy of Green Wedding Shoes

6. Dance Floor Tunes

While setting up an iPod can be a nice and inexpensive way to have dancing at your reception, hiring a DJ takes the stress of planning every detail of the playlist away and lets you enjoy yourself. We have seen some clever brides recently who left a line in the RSVP section of their invitations for guests to fill in song requests, or simply leave blank notes and a fish bowl near the booth and let your guests drop in their requests that way. Just make sure to pre-plan your first dance as a couple and the father/daughter and mother/son dance playlist ahead of time.


Photo Courtesy of Emmaline Bride

Photo Courtesy of Bleu Bird Vintage 


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