Monday, July 23, 2012
There are so many little details to worry about when planning a wedding some might get forgotten. One tiny detail that often gets overlooked is how to keep guests entertained before the wedding reception "officially" begins.
There is no requirement that brides entertain their guests at all. After all, they have already attended your wedding ceremony (which was surely engaging and entertaining, right?) and they will soon get music, food and drink. What more could they want? It turns out, a lot. While the bride and groom are off having pictures taken, the guests are left to their own devices, chatting with other guests and wondering when the buffet will open.
In that light, it's worth at least considering some pre-reception options for keeping wedding guests entertained until the reception begins. Here are a few options, some tradition, some not so, but still fun.
First, you can do the traditional thing and provide guests with drinks and perhaps some light snacks. If the wedding is in the summertime, how about providing lemonade and iced tea? Or if it's the winter, coffee and hot tea or even hot cocoa depending on the style of your wedding. Providing a light snack isn't a bad idea, either, and that can be some appetizer-type food or just nuts, especially if the meal will be heavy.
Now, if you want to stray from tradition, there are many options. Some brides opt for entertaining the guests in the truest sense of the word. Clowns, anyone? How about live music?
If you want to venture into the fun and funky, consult the party planning pages of a local children's or parent's magazine. Here, you can find people who will entertain your children at their birthday parties, but many of them will happily take on wedding jobs. You can hire a clown to make balloon animals for the kids (and adults) in attendance, or to juggle a few things. Some clowns are true entertainers and will happily get the crowd involved by fetching items out of women's purses and juggling them.
Other non-traditional options for entertaining your guests include hiring a band to play music beforehand. If you plan to have classical music at your wedding, you can have a band come and play covers of current pop songs, or you can simply have your hired band arrive a bit early to entertain guests waiting for the full reception to begin.
If there are many children at the wedding, it's not too expensive to hire a children's band to sing and entertain the children for a bit. Then if the kids are a bit bored at the reception, they'll still have the memory of the earlier entertainment with them. In addition, while the children are being entertained, the adults can have a chance to chat and they will surely thank the bride for thinking of them in that way.
Some other options for entertaining your restless crowd before the festivities begin are to include them in the reception before it begins. This is a great time to ask people to sign the guest book and write something meaningful, since they will have more time than they would usually have as they file into the reception hall.
If the reception and the wedding ceremony take place in the same location, but the bride and groom are off having pictures taken, it may not seem as if there's this dilemma of how to keep the guests entertained, but there in fact, is.
In this case, you can have servers circulate with appetizer trays or you can do something more elaborate, such as some of the suggestions above. One popular option doesn't involve entertaining the guests at all. Say the wedding is being held at a historic house or mansion. During the lull before the reception, guests can be given a tour of the property. If the wedding and reception are both being held at the couple's new home, a tour of the property might be in order (assuming the guest list is fairly small).
Nothing is worse than having a wedding reception filled with seated guests who look tired and maybe a little bit bored. Maybe this wedding doesn't feature a DJ and rockin' music. Or maybe the crowd isn't into that whole dancing thing.
What to do? It's not that hard. There are a myriad of activities you can plan that will not only engage and entertain the guests, but also help them get to know each other and - most importantly - the bride and groom just a little bit better.
Here's one that's fun and might remind you just a little bit of a football game. Make a placard for each guest. On one side, letter "Bride" and on the other, "Groom". Someone, and if you have a DJ it can be him or her, or the best man or maid of honor, asks a series of questions. They might be simple, like "who was born in New York City"? Or they might be more complicated, such as "who, at 6, broke their leg when they were playing with their German shepherd puppy"?
Guests don't yell their answer, but rather show their placard, turning it to the "bride" side of they think the question pertains to the bride or to the "groom" side if it's the opposite. The guests' guesses can be revealing, but even more revealing, are the true answers. It's a great, fun way for everyone to get to know a little more about the bride and groom.
One word of caution about the above activity: Keep ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends out of the questions and don't ask anything that might be a little too revealing or too risquÈ. Remember, grandmothers and grandfathers and young children will likely be present!
If it's too much work to create signs for each person, you can create just two and create two teams - a team of men and a team of women. Grouped together, the teams can work together to decide on the answer and answer as a group. This "men versus women" concept is always popular and sure to be fun for everyone.
One silly game that's always a hit really puts the groom in the spotlight. How well does he know the feel and touch of his new wife? In this game, everyone finds out. You can do this several ways. You can enlist just the wedding party in this game, or as many of the wedding guests that want to participate.
Line each participant up and blindfold the groom. Put the bride somewhere in the mix, and send the groom on a hunt for his bride. The participants can either shake the groom's hand or give him a kiss on the cheek. In some versions, he might feel their hair or their leg. The details are up to you.
Depending on how far you want to take this game, you can add a fun element to it that is sometimes popular. You have the groom feel the leg of each participant. The best man, or other male member of the wedding party, rolls up his pant leg, puts on a garter and has the groom feel that. The groom has to kiss whoever he thinks is his bride, while still blindfolded. Often, he ends up kissing a man.
For an activity that allows the guests to be audience members instead of participants, consider the game of "feed me". In this game, the bride is seated and the groom is (again) blindfolded. He's given a piece of food and then spun around a few times so he's a little bit dizzy. Guided only by the helpful words of his new bride, he has to find her and get the piece of food into her mouth. Be sure to have the wedding party shadowing him so there are no accidents.
Once the groom has fed his new wife, the tables are turned and she is blindfolded and must find him.
A few notes about this activity: when feeding the bride, don't use wedding cake or a piece of bread with dip. In other words, don't use anything too messy. If the groom has a hard time finding her mouth, he might likely smear the food on the bride's face and that is something that won't make a bride - prettily made up just hours before - too happy.