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Cheers to Love: Secrets to Hosting the Dreamiest Wedding Reception Ever!

Weddings are a celebration of love, laughter, and the beautiful journey ahead. But let's be honest, the reception is where the magic really happens! From the clink of champagne glasses to the laughter filling the air and the dance floor antics, your wedding reception is the part everyone looks forward to. Whether you're dreaming of an intimate gathering under the stars or a grand ballroom affair, pulling off your dream reception is all about planning, personal touches, and a little sprinkle of spontaneity. Let's dive into the secrets of hosting a memorable and joyous wedding reception that not only celebrates you and your big day but also keeps your guests talking about it for years to come. So grab your planning notebook, and let's make some magic happen!

Now, before we get started, let's agree that while most of the wedding-reception-planning focus usually goes towards ensuring the guests are entertained, this night is not about them, it about you! But... obviously you still want your wedding to make a splash. the good news, I think both are possible! I'm going to break this post up into two parts, first lets talk about how to avoid becoming the overwhelmed hostest with the mostest. Your wedding should be a night to remember and cherish! Not a whirlwind of small talk while you play entertainment. Be a little selfish here, its okay, I promise.

Second, lets give your guests a night to remember! Planning your wedding reception should be as fun as the party itself! Forget the overwhelming checklists and the pressure to please everyone. Instead, focus on crafting a bash that feels like the biggest celebration of your life. From choosing a killer playlist to creating a memorable night everyone can't stop talking about, this guide is all about keeping things light, fun, and totally unforgettable.

How to Truly Enjoy Your Wedding Reception: Tips to Make Your Special Day Fun and Stress-Free!

Two of my favorite things about my wedding that helped me keep things light and stress free were that we kept it small and that we had it at an all inclusive resort in Mexico. This made the reception incredible because we had a chance to say hi to everyone and thank them for coming before the wedding day even started. By the time we headed to the reception there was no need to make rounds and say hi to everyone because that was already checked off of our list!

Setting Some Boundaries

Obviously, having a small wedding at an all inclusive isn't for everyone so here is my advice for you! Heres what to do if you are hosting a large wedding, or any size really, where the guests are arriving day of and you will not get the chance to chat with them until after the ceremony. There is often a lot of pressure to make your rounds and say hi to everyone as newly weds. I have seen some people limit this tradition to only family in an attempt to cut down on time they are away from the party, but I recently saw another idea at a wedding that I absolutely love! During your toast, before the party officially kicks off, thank everyone for coming and announce that you and your partner are so excited to celebrate with everyone but will not be making rounds, instead invite them to come say hi to you whenever they are able!

It can sound something like this

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for being here tonight! Each of you holds a special place in our hearts, and just knowing you're here to celebrate this moment with us means the world. We'd love to chat and share a laugh with each of you, so instead of making the rounds, we invite you to come and find us, share a drink, a dance, or just a good story. Tonight is about connection, joy, and celebration, so let's make these memories together. Cheers to a wonderful evening!"

Pro Tip! If you are struggling with wording for any of your speeches or directions and want to make sure you sound polite and well spoken, use Chat GPT! (I used Chat GPT to help me create the entire script for my officiant!)

I also highly recommend taking time during your toast to remind everyone to make their way over to the guest book! Lots of our guests forgot to sign and I wish we had reminded them! Luckily we were still at the resort for a couple days so I was able to track everyone down and make sure they signed!

Another really cute idea I saw to add a personal touch and thank everyone for attending your wedding is writing a letter to each of your tables. In this letter you'll say a little tid bit about each guest, address them by name and thank the table for being there! I think this also makes for a great icebreaker if not everyone at the table knows each other.

Make Sure You Eat!

While everyone is enjoying cocktail hour and light bites you will be busy taking photos! We were done early and made it over in time to enjoy the end of our cocktail hour. I was offered so many hors d'oeuvres but your adrenaline will be running high and trust me you wont be hungry but you need to eat! Your wedding planner should snag a couple light bites for you if you aren't able to make it to cocktail hour like we did. If you do not have a day of planner this is a great job to give your Maid of Honor or close friend!

Even at dinner I found myself picking at my food, this is so normal with all the excitement going on but force yourself to eat!!

Ultimate Guide to Hosting the Best Wedding Reception: Tips for a Night to Remember!

Okay, time to talk about the party! The key to any good party is movement! The more you can get people mingling around and dancing the better. That leads us to Step One: a good DJ. When selecting your DJ you will probably be sent a few set lists of their past work, just keep in mind this largely depends on what their previous clients requested for their event! One thing that sold me on the DJ that I picked is that he was ready with a questionnaire to send me so that we could get really specific about what my husband and I wanted and didn't want. At first I was a bit overwhelmed with where to start my Must Play and Must Not Play list of songs so here are some questions to help guide you!

Give your guests activities to keep them engaged throughout the night!

I know... this sounds an awful lot like something you would do for a kindergarten class not a group of adults at a wedding reception but trust me here! We all love a good activity and it doesn't have to be obvious! Here are 4 things we did to keep our guests occupied and engaged!

Adult Activities

This is going to sound silly but hear me out! Some sort of a game during cocktail hour is a great way to break the ice between guests that might not know each other and keep the energy high while you are in a sort of intermission of the event. I have seen this done several ways but here are a couple of my favorite ideas!

The Two Truths and a Lie Cocktail Napkins

This is such an adorable idea that I almost did! Order custom napkins that have two truths and a lie printed on them, your guests will have to guess amongst each other which is the lie! I think this is such a cheeky light hearted way to combine an icebreaker and a personalized detail that is sure to be remembered.

Wedding Prop Bet Sheets

My Husband loves to gamble (RIP my purse fund) and I thought this would be the cutest way to get a bit of his personality into the wedding. I have seen some premade sheets for this idea being sold on Etsy , but I just made my own and had it printed at Fed Ex! I used Canva to make my design and then used a paper cutter off amazon to slice them into a more aesthetic size. One thing I have noticed about the premade sheets that you can buy is that the bets start at the ceremony and we really wanted this to be a cocktail hour activity. We're all about a good time but we wanted to keep the ceremony heartfelt.

The Photo-Op

Some couples rent photo booths or fancy 360 cameras. Others splurge with a professional portrait photographer or even a sketch artist! I am not a big fan of the traditional prop Photo Booth and the 360 camera isn't really my vibe either. Sorry Glam Bot, you're just not my thing! And while I would have loved to hire a professional sketch artist or portrait photographer, this was one of the areas that we decided to save a little bit of money. What I did do was still a huge hit though so stay with me!

For both our welcome sign and seating chart I chose a mirrored sign that doubled as the perfect selfie spot! I didn't even tell my friends this was the plan, but just as expected everyone was taking mirror selfies before the ceremony and as they entered the reception, it was adorable!

My next photo-op doubles as a dance floor accessory and takes us right into our next "adult activity". I actually decided to include this super last minute and I am so glad I did!

My friends and I love a good "everyone put on these sunglasses and pose" TikTok, IYKYK!

If you don't, here's and example from my bachelorette :) We don't gatekeep yall!!

I last minute ordered a 12 pack of heart shaped glasses from amazon and a white paint pen because I really wanted to make a TikTok of all my guests in these glasses! On one lens I wrote the date of our wedding and on the other lens I wrote my new last name. I specifically got 12 because we had 6 tables of people so two pairs per table. I knew there was no way one pair of glasses was going to make their way around the whole reception but I also wanted people to have to get up, share the glasses and interact with each other! What i didn't expect to happen, but what should have been obvious, is the glasses made for the perfect dance floor accessory. I mean I should have known, who doesn't like rocking a pair of sunnies on the dance floor.

Dance Floor Props

The sunglasses were not our only dance floor prop! While I am not a big fan of the giant colorful light up foam sticks that people wave around at weddings, I cannot undermine their ability to get people to the dance floor. Dare I say not even your best conga line can hold a candle to the power these foam sticks have on the dance floor. If you are like me and you cannot stand the idea of red, blue, and green lights being in all of your wedding dance floor photos, don't worry! I found some white light up foam sticks on amazon that I will link here. I opted for these LED fiber wands instead of the foam last minute and they were also a huge hit. Unsurprisingly my friends immediately started whipping each other with them but that also should have been expected.

Pro Tip: Don't bust out the light up party favors until everyone has had a drink or 5! This is definitely an end of the night surprise to keep the party going!

Our final dance floor prop, if you will, is not for everyone but for us it was so much fun and I am so glad I included it! I brought two beer bongs with me to Mexico and brought them out about an hour before the light up wands made their appearance. ( I should note, I was not in charge of facilitating any of this, my wedding planner grabbed all of these things from my room before the ceremony and dispersed everything throughout the night. If you do not have a day of planner, this is a great job for the Best Man & Maid of Honor!)

The beer bongs were an absolute blast, I highly recommend two so that people can race each other!

Your wedding will be so beautiful no matter what you end up picking! At the end of the day the only thing that matters is that its YOU! My favorite compliment that I got on my wedding day was when my husband told me he loved my dress so much and he thought it was so ME! Your wedding day is your own to make into whatever you want it to be.

Leave a comment if you end up using any of these ideas and happy Bride Era!!


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