So, you’ve got the groom, the venue and, of course, your dream WED2B dress. All you need now is to make sure everyone has fun on the big day, including you!

Bride and groom holding sparklers with guests either side
Jen and Rick

The reception is probably the part your guests are most looking forward to - who doesn't want to eat, drink and dance? And the best wedding reception entertainment includes plenty of personal, fun and unique touches that will keep guests smiling and talking long after the last dance. To inspire you we’ve put together some of our favourite ideas for wedding reception entertainment, from new food trends that won’t blow the budget to acts with the wow factor. So read on, the party planning starts here…

Throw a great drinks reception

Rustic table with champagne glasses and flowers in vases
Bethany and Thomas

The first stop after the ceremony is usually some (very) welcome drinks, as guests arrive at the venue. Cocktails, Bucks Fizz or Champagne are popular, but don’t be afraid to mix it up a little. Bespoke wedding cocktails, with flavours inspired by places you’ve visited or foods you love, are a big trend. Serve with stylish straws in vintage-style glasses or jars to make them look even more special. 

Don't forget the music for the drinks reception, too. It can be a simple playlist of your favourite tunes or, if budget allows, musicians such as harpists, a string quartet or even a roving saxophone player, who will help get the party atmosphere going.

Serve fabulous food

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Sharon and Sander’s fairytale wedding

Great food makes for a great celebration. According to our latest survey, 53% of our brides are serving a sit-down meal, while 16% are going for a more relaxed, buffet style. These days there are plenty of alternatives to the traditional three-course wedding breakfast, too. Shared dishes, such as a roasted joint that’s carved at the table or grazing platters of Spanish tapas, placed in the middle of each group, are becoming more popular.

For an alfresco, festival-style wedding why not hire a selection of street food vans for guests to take their pick from? Or treat them to an ice cream van, like our real brides, below?

Ice cream was the perfect addition at this rustic wedding
Charlotte and Jake

"We had an ice cream bike serving Marshfield Ice Cream and a cocktail bike, which went down really well," says WED2B bride Jennifer. "There was also a Ferris wheel full of sweets that the kids loved.”

Real Weddings Bournemouth: Jennifer and Adam’s manor house wedding
Jennifer and Adam

Fun evening food will also add to the wedding reception entertainment. A couple of interactive food stations, such as a marshmallow toasting stall or a sweetie bar will leave you with happy and well-fed friends. Alternatively, why not add an interactive drink experience, such as a make-your-own margarita bar?

Real Weddings Bournemouth: Jennifer and Adam’s manor house wedding
Jennifer and Adam

Have fun with photography

Keep your guests entertained and get the conversation flowing with a selection of your own photos, arranged on a table in frames or hung up like bunting. Choose a mix of family shots - make sure to include a similar amount from both families! - alongside well-chosen snaps of friends and happy moments from your life with your fiancé. This is also a great way to include pictures of grandparents, relatives and friends who aren't able to be there on the big day.

Photos of the bride and groom over the years strung on a board
Annie and George

Once everyone has had a chance to reminisce and giggle, point them towards a photo booth or table where they can take their own pictures. If you include a Polaroid camera alongside your guest book you’ll get some lovely pictures along with the heartfelt messages.

Bride and groom holding blue and white coloured flares
Katie and Andy

For the evening, a photo booth can be great fun. You can also create your own by hanging up ornate picture frames and supplying a few fun props, such as wigs, hats, glasses and signs. Once the drinks start flowing you’ll have plenty of silly, funny shots that you can chuckle over for years to come!

Cake, cupcakes or crisps?

4 tiered ivory wedding cake with dark red roses, bride and groom cutting cake smiling at each other in Indian wedding attire
Akshara and Sanchit

Cutting the cake is a key moment in the day, and 31% of our brides are having a traditional tiered cake while 23% of you like your dessert ‘au naturel' and are serving a naked cake. Doughnuts and cupcakes are also popular, while 2% of you are going savoury and having a cake made of cheese instead.

Donut wall filled with pink and brown iced donuts
Kara and Billy

Great favours or extra treats will also let guests know how much you appreciate them. They don’t need to be expensive, for example, homemade biscuits work well and can also double up as cute place names.

Alternatively, a mini candle, a packet of wildflower seeds or even a lottery ticket (especially if you’ve picked a winner) will bring a smile to people’s faces. Food walls are very popular, and can display everything from sweets or doughnuts to glasses of Prosecco. Alternatively, this happy couple treated guests to a wall of their favourite things - crisps!

Keep the kids (and big kids) happy

Flower girls wearing garlands carrying bouquets holding hands down aisle
Bianca and Scott

Give the kids their own wedding reception entertainment with an area of games, crafts, music and movies. Trust us, the parents among your guests will be very thankful! If you can arrange a babysitter to oversee everything it means mums and dads can really relax. If that will blow the budget, help out with party bags full of fun toys, crayons and games instead.

Let’s play!

Table games are a brilliant source of wedding reception entertainment and a great ice breaker at dinner. There are plenty of options to buy on the high street or, if you have time, print your own set of Wedding I Spy cards or a set of Guess Who? questions about you and your groom.

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Acacia and Adam’s cool coastal wedding

Alternatively, if you're lucky enough to be in a stunning location, then that might also provide some fun activities. “After the ceremony, we had fizz and canapés with our guests and then we all ventured down to the beach for pictures and a paddle,” says Acacia above.

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Chloe and Edd’s pretty woodland-themed wedding

If you’re not by the coast but you do have some lovely outdoor space, then garden games are a great way to keep guests occupied. Keep it traditional with croquet and boules or try giant Jenga, space hoppers and Connect 4. These are all available to hire or buy and will make for some great photographs. You can even hire your very own wedding bouncy castle in wedding colours if you’re feeling super active!

Bride and Groom leaving venue with guests blowing bubbles
Ayeasha and Stephen

Bubbles are also a winner, for both kids and adults alike. “As we were leaving, we had a bubble gun exit, which was really fun,” says Esha. “It was actually a last minute thing that I bought and threw in the wedding boxes. I’m so glad I did.”

If music be the food of love...

Real Weddings Surbiton: Georgina and Toby’s contemporary London wedding - Billie
Georgina and Toby

61% of our brides will be hiring a DJ while nearly 18% are going for a live band. Either way, if you want to keep the dance floor packed, you’ll need a playlist that will please everyone. You may love obscure country tunes, but now isn't the time to show it off. Definitely mix in a few of your favourites but don't leave out the floor-filling hits. When you send out the invites you could ask for a song request too. That way you’re guaranteed to play something for everyone.

A fabulous first dance

Bride and groom holding hands dancing
Meg and Alex

The high point of the evening celebrations is a great first dance but don't worry if you have two left feet. There are plenty of companies that offer first dance lessons, covering everything from a few simple steps to teaching you how to recreate that lift from Dirty Dancing. They can even help you plan a surprise flashmob. If slow dancing’s not your thing, then start with a romantic dance to a classic tune before suddenly switching gears to something more energetic like ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams and encourage guests to join you!

Bride and groom dancing in room of dry ice, band playing in background
Bethany and Thomas

You can also add a touch of Strictly to your routine with your very own dry ice machine, like Bethany and Thomas. “In the evening there was a live band, which was amazing,” says Bethany. “The dance floor was full all night and we also had a dry ice display for our first dance. Then we finished the night with a sparkler send off."

A few evening extras

When it comes to evening wedding reception entertainment, lots of you will be having games, a photo booth or perhaps a magician. Extra evening entertainment isn’t essential but, if your budget will allow, you can also hire roving opera singers, salsa dancers or organise a karaoke session. If you have plenty of space you can even have your very own fairground carousel like Lauren and Jason.

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Lauren and Jason

“Straight after the ceremony we had drinks and canapés in the museum area at Thursford, plus we got to ride on the Gondola and carousel which was magical,” says Lauren.

And finally… plan one last surprise

Sometimes the best wedding reception entertainment is unexpected and a sparkler send off makes a lovely end to the evening, plus a great photo opportunity. Ask everyone to line up with sparklers as you're leaving for a truly magical way to make your exit in style.

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Chloe and Edd’s pretty woodland-themed wedding

Alternatively, a short fireworks display is the ultimate way to end the day on a high. There are lots of companies offering different length displays to suit different budgets and it really is the perfect way to go out with a bang!

Need more planning help? Click here to find dream dresses and accessories for your whole bridal party. Try on your favourites at your nearest WED2B store or for more inspiration and wedding reception entertainment ideas head over to Instagram, Facebook or TikTok.