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Wedding Reception Games, Entertainment, and Game Ideas

Off to a wedding and reception you go. All the while regretting the inevitable: you'll be sitting at a table with strangers. Awkward! And this is why so many of us really don't like weddings all that much. If you're the one planning the reception you really want the event to be all about fun, fun, fun! So how do you beat the odds?

Wedding Reception Games

The Art of Wedding Reception Planning

Wedding receptions are once-in-a-lifetime (or at most rare!) parties, so proper party planning is critical. Everyone is invited from great (great) grandmother to high school, college friends, and work friends. This menagerie of guests can create challenges in party planning. Making everyone feel welcomed is key to artful wedding receptions.

Luckily, there's an easy solution that will not only ensure everyone's comfortable, but will leave them with fun memories. What's the trick? Reception games, activities, and entertaining ideas.

I'm NOT talking about silly games that embarrass guests or have guests taking "center stage", it's the bride's day after all! I'm talking about a type of wedding reception games and entertainment that are a perfect fit for every type of wedding, from casual to even the most elegant.

Don't believe me?! Read on.

Wedding Reception Games

...that don't require a host or hostess

Book of Love Wedding Reception Game

Book of Love Wedding Reception Game

$6.99


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We've all attended weddings where a D.J. suggests games like "hokey pokey", emphasis on the "hokey"! Before you "put your right arm in and take your right arm out", wrap both arms around wedding reception games and ideas guests really enjoy. Get the latest ideas in the world of reception activities and entertainment.

Reception Game Idea #1: Book of Love

The is one of the only wedding reception games that has a lasting impact beyond the wedding day. It's not only great for wedding receptions, but also for bridal showers and engagement parties.

Create a book of love from your guests' sage advice. The idea is simple: supply each guest with a page of advice questions having to do with love and marriage. You can place the pages at each place setting or in a common location if you don't have place settings.

Guests answer questions with their own witty, sentimental or unique takes on marriage. This wedding reception game serves as a terrific icebreaker game because guests naturally enjoy sharing their questions and answers.

The pages are gathered at the end of the evening so that the bride can put them into one cohesive book.

Reception Game Idea #2 How We Met

Another wonderful way to entertain guests is for the bride and groom to relay the story of how the met in a unique way. I once attended a wedding where table tents were placed on each table.

Before the wedding both the bride and groom typed out their version of how they met. The bride's version of the story was printed on one side of the table tent card, and the groom's version was printed on the other side. It was sooooo sweet! Both told the same story, but from the eyes of two different people.

Wedding Reception Game Idea #3 Conversation Starters

The best wedding reception game has to be Conversation Starter Cards (in my opinion). Place one at each guest's place setting. Your guests may get a funny question, a witty scenario, or a thought-provoking question.

Conversation Starter Cards help guests strike up fun and unexpected conversations that will create laughter and smiles, guaranteed. There's no need to announce what to do with the cards. I've personally used these cards dozens of times, and guests always pick them up and read them aloud to someone sitting at the table.

You can even purchase a set of 120 printable conversation starter cards from BridalBananas.com and put an entire set at each table if you like.

Wedding Reception Idea #4 Balloon Fortunes

For a casual wedding reception where balloons are used as decoration, play the fortune balloon game. The balloons act as decoration, a game, and party favor.

Place a fortune, (for ease print pre-made fortunes) in each balloon and fill with helium. Place a sign, or announce, that each balloon contains a fortune. Guests must pop the balloon to receive their fortune.

Guests may take their balloon with them to retrieve their fortune later, or they may pop it at the wedding. As an added bonus, if you wish, each time a balloon pops, the bride and groom kiss.

This wedding reception game provides big bang for your buck! And, guests love sharing the fortunes with one another.

Wedding Reception Idea #5: The Shoe Game

Ever heard of the shoe game? This is a little less subtle than the others above, but it always get laughs!

To play, the bride and groom remove their shoes.The bride takes one shoe from groom and keeps one of her shoes and the groom takes one of the bride's shoes and keeps one of his own. They each sit or stand back to back.

A host, DJ, announcer, or someone in the bridal party prepares a list of questions having to do with married life. Each question must written so that the answer is either "bride" or "groom". For example, "Who will do most of the cooking?" "Who will spend more money?" etc.

Each question is read aloud for guests to hear. In response to each question, the bride and groom hold up the shoe of the person they think is the answer to the question. It's always entertaining to see what questions the bride and groom agree on, and what questions that don't!

Ways to Make Wedding Reception Games Reflect Your Style

You're unique. Shouldn't your wedding reception games be too? After years in the business and hundreds of weddings, I've seen it all…or so I think! It's up to you to prove me wrong!

When you've seen it all, you can bet everyone else has too. Personally, I'm a fan of all wedding reception activities from the traditional bouquet toss to the now ubiquitous "shoe game". But what really blows me away is when I see something different. And for something different, you'll need to make your reception games and activities reflect your ideas, not someone else's.

Personalization, Personalization, Personalization
Just as location is to good real estate, personalization is to great wedding planning. From wedding favors to activities and games, you have the chance to say something about who you are.

Say you're having an outdoor wedding reception and you and your fiancé are competitive sporty types who love the game Corn Hole. You can have custom Corn Hole boards created (like the ones you see at this link) with your and your fiancés silhouettes. Play in teams: bride's family vs. the groom's. Any outdoor games can be personalized whether you're decorating a croquette course to reflect the timeline of your dating relationship or you stencil your initials on cotton sacks for a friendly sack race of bridesmaids vs. groomsmen.

Reimagine Games You Already Love Into Wedding Reception Games
Maybe you're a writer, a teacher or an avid reader and you and your fiancé love to play the game of Scrabble. Find a way to incorporate this into your reception by having each table play.

For example, send a letter with each invitation (or have guests pick a letter when they enter the reception hall). Each table must create a word using the letters from the guests only at the table. The table that creates the word with the highest point wins the honor of giving the bride and groom a special toast.

This wedding reception idea works with many different board games and card games. Poker is another example. Get creative to suit it to your taste.

Give Your Guests the Limelight
I love wedding reception activities that allow guests the opportunity to communicate with the bride and groom in a unique way. Wedding receptions can be hectic and the bride and groom rarely have the opportunity to give each guest a lot of attention.

Reception games and activities, such as advice games, are the perfect solution and nothing could be more important in keeping the first rule of wedding planning: personalization!

There are tons of wedding advice reception games out there. Here's one of my favorites: Can ‘o Dates. Take a coffee can and decorate it so that guests will easily spot it on a receiving table. You can also create a small poster that reads, "Help Us Plan Our Date Nights for the First Year of Marriage."

Provide a pencils or pens and paper that coordinates with your wedding. The idea is simple: each guest writes out something fun to do on a date and signs his or her name. Then, they fold the paper and place it in the can.

The bride and groom take the can home and whenever they need a fun idea, they draw from the can. And, if you'd like my idea for date night: pop open a bottle of wine, take turns reading off ideas from the can, and laugh out loud, because when given the chance your guests can be quite entertaining!

Hire Entertainment

Perhaps you're on a budget (and who's not these days) because even for a wedding, everything adds up. Consider hiring a band instead of just a DJ (not to dis DJ's, who can also be entertaining). But in today's world, most bands don't make it on their recording careers alone; they have to suppliment their income with live performances. Musicians are doing what they love, and they might be even more reasonable than you think. Who you hire can really impart a feel to the wedding reception. And simply listening to a good band (let alone dancing) can make for a really memorable treat and some only do every so often.

For staff writer Cynthia's wedding, she hired Nathan McLeod (center below on sax) to play the wedding march and to perform at the reception with others. If you're really trying to budget things, ask entertainers performing on the street, at the farmers' market, or ask a music professor at the university.

Hire a Band for your Wedding Reception

Featured above, musicians Nathan McLeod, Colin Poulton, Tyler Parkey, Jason Friedman, and Andy Leab.

If you feel your style calls for a play on the magic of the moment, why not hire a magician? Nottingham magician Duncan William below submitted this fantastic photo for our use. As you can see, magicians aren't just for kids parties and can really help break the ice, just like fun activities do.

Magician Wedding

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Book of Love Wedding Reception Game

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