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! 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 activities, from new food trends that won’t blow the budget to entertainment with the wow factor. So read on, the party planning starts here…

wedding reception entertainment - REAL BRIDE Real bride Lauren wearing Genesis

1. A divine drinks reception

The first stop after the ceremony is usually some (very) welcome drinks, as guests arrive at the venue. We asked our brides what they’re serving and 15% said cocktails, 17% said Bucks Fizz and 34%* were keeping it traditional with Champagne. Whatever you’re offering, don’t be afraid to mix it up a little. Bespoke wedding cocktails, with flavours inspired by places you’ve visited or food you love, are a big trend. Serve with stylish straws in vintage-style glasses or jars to make them look even more special. 

wedding reception entertainment - PIMMS

It’s also easy to make champagne extra fabulous with a beautiful garnish or the addition of fresh raspberries or a fruit purée. A simple strawberry on the side of the glass looks great, tastes delicious and is super budget friendly!

wedding reception entertainment - REAL BRIDE WITH CHAMPAGNE Real bride Hollie Fensom enjoying Champagne and strawberries

2. Fabulous food

Great food makes for a great celebration and while 68% of our brides are serving a sit down meal, 23% 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 platters of Spanish tapas placed in the middle of each group are becoming more and more popular. For an alfresco, festival-style wedding why not hire a selection of street food vans for guests to take their pick from?

wedding reception entertainment - wedding favours Sarah Smith Real Bride
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 doughnut wall 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? Plus no one can say no to a sweetie bar stuffed with stylishly presented retro sweets!
wedding reception entertainment - sweet cart Credit: Chantel- sweet table

3. Fun photography

Keep your guests entertained at the drinks reception and start 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.

wedding reception entertainment - photo display Real bride Sophie France's stylish photo display

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.

wedding reception entertainment - guest book Real bride Katrina Philippou's Polaroid guest book

For the evening a hired 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!

wedding reception entertainment - photo booth Real bride Katie Cain's homemade photo booth
wedding reception entertainment - photobooth Real Bride - photobooth

4. Cakes and favours

Cutting the cake is a key moment in the day, and 54% of our brides are having a traditional tiered cake while 9% are having cupcakes. 19% of you like your dessert ‘au naturel' and are serving a naked cake. 

wedding reception entertainment - wedding cake Credit: Amy Stanley Leah Bristol - wedding cake
Amazing favours will also let guests know how much you appreciate them. They don’t need to be expensive, for example homemade biscuits always go down 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.
wedding reception entertainment - wedding favours Credit : Real weddings Nottingham - wedding favours

5. Keep the kids happy

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.

wedding reception entertainment - kids entertainment Credit: Veiled Productions-Alyson And Michael)

6. 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. If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor space, garden games are a great way to keep your guests occupied too. 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!

wedding reception entertainment - garden games Credit: Real bride Claire Hitchens enjoying the space hoppers at her wedding

7. Music to dance to

62% of our brides will be hiring a DJ while 21% 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.

wedding reception entertainment - first dance Credit: Real bride Rebecca Bowers - dances the night away with her new husband

8. A fabulous first dance

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. 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!

wedding reception entertainment - first dance Credit: Real bride Lauren Burns - enjoying her first dance

9. Evening extras

When it comes to evening wedding reception entertainment, 24% of you will be having games, 49% will have a photo booth and 10% 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 hire your very own fairground carousel!

wedding reception entertainment - drinking glasses10. And finally… plan one last surprise

Sometimes the best wedding reception entertainment is unexpected. So why not end of the night with a memorable fireworks display? Or, if that will blow the budget, arrange a sparkler send off instead. Ask everyone to line up with sparklers as you're leaving for a truly magical way to make your exit in style.

wedding reception entertainment - fireworks Credit: Real bride Siobhan Henney - enjoying her fireworks

(*All stats taken from The WED2B Wedding Survey)

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