In all the craziness of wedding planning, it’s easy to for forget what your guests will be doing when you're off doing your wedding photography or when you’re doing the rounds talking to everyone. Also, remember that not all attendee know each other, and often some ice breakers are needed to get the conversation going. Here are 17 wedding activities for guests, leaving them thinking this was the best day ever - just like you will.
1 Wedding games
Wedding games can entertain non-dancing guests throughout the evening
This is a pretty standard one as far as wedding entertainment is concerned, but also a great way to be creative. Outdoor wedding games or lawn games such as rounders, giant jenga or croquet are always solid winners, but if you don’t have a venue with an outside area (or if, god forbid, it rains), it’s a good idea to have some indoor games, too. Setting up a ping pong table, a shuffle board or board game corner can really bring guests together and set the bar for all the fun to be had for the rest of the evening. This will also go down well with non-dancing guests in need of some distraction.
2 Hire audience entertainers
Magicians are always a solid hit
A lot of people think that once guests are seated at their tables, there’s no need to entertain them anymore. Yes, usually food and drink will keep your guest well-oiled throughout the night, but an entertainer interacting with them will help create a more memorable evening. Hire a magician to do tricks, or what about a palm reader? A celebrity impersonator or look-alike could be a lot of fun, too, and create great photo opportunities. Live painters or caricature drawers are two other great options, or if you really want to pull out all the stops, hire singing waiters and staff. Entertainers like this will liven up a drinks reception, too.
3 Table games and props
Board games can help guests who don't know each other to get talking
No matter how many hair-pulling evenings you spend leaned over the table chart, there’s always a table made up of people who don't know each other that well. Auntie Muriel simply has to sit next to your colleague Joe, and there’s really no-where else to place your single friend Bess than next to third-cousin Gerald. The solution? Wedding games and props that will get the conversation going. Fake mustaches, glasses, hat or wigs can make for funny table-side photos – especially if the items are old belongings of the bride and groom from less fashionable times… Little table quizzes, brain teaser games, puzzles or word finders (either with naughty words or words with personal meaning to the newly-weds) will certainly bring the guests together.
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4 Photo booths and photo walls
Don't forget to make a hashtag on Instagram for your guests to post their photos
Aaah, the good old photo booth – its popularity never seems to cease, and with good reason. But why not step it up a few notches with personalised props that tell your guests the story of your life together? Items of clothing, old hats or a narrative backdrop – the opportunities are endless. Alternatively, you can create a photo wall where guests can pose for fun photos. Opt for a living flower wall for instant high Instagram factor, cover it with balloons or splash out on photo boards of each other for your guests to pose next to. Another top tip? Have a polaroid camera available for instant print-outs that guests can write a little message on and put in your guestbook. Also, don't forget to make an Instagram hashtag for the big day!
5 Pimp up the drinks
Having a professional mixologist can spice things up!
A champagne reception, bottles of wine on the table followed by an open bar of G&Ts and beer? Necessary, but a bit boring. Impress your guests by hiring a professional mixologist who can conjure up stand-out cocktails while flaring and making a show as he prepares them. Or what about a drinks trolly or a ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’ station where guest can do a bit of DIY with their drinks. Edible flowers, cotton candy, some fresh fruit and some marshmallows will go a long way.
6 DIY food
Silje and Thom's shrimp peeling guide
Going down the untraditional route when it comes to food can actually serve as entertainment, not to mention a great way for your guest to interact with each other. Having street food stations will give your guests more options and can make navigating dietary requirements easier. You can also take inspiration from Silje and Thom’s Norwegian wedding, where they served shrimps that guests had to peel themselves. Every attendee were equipped with a bib and a fun, illustrated guide on how to do it (pictured above). Or what about tacos, ready to be assembled at the table, or a hot stone for people to cook their own meat on?
READ MORE: Hit the countryside for your wedding
7 Interactive desserts table
The Brewery's interactive desserts table
Give a more creative spin to your dessert with interactive desserts tables. We first saw this at The Brewery's (by the way a formidable wedding venue) summer showcase, where the chefs decorated a table with various dessert elements, while guests ate their way through it, to great effect. Quenelles of ice cream, ganache and creams sat amid meringue crumbles, different sauces, and cakes. Want to really show off? Have the chefs play with liquid nitrogen! Not only does this create great photo opportunities, but is another opportunity for your guests to get out of their chair and engage with each other.
8 Hire a stage performer
Hire a live band to get the crowd going
Constant interactive entertainment is not for everyone. Sometimes, you guests just want to eat, drink, talk and sit back passively to enjoy some performances from entertainers on a stage. This can also help set the mood of your wedding (overall or for certain periods of the evening). Hire a comedian for a bit of belly-aching laughter or get an acoustic singer to play your favourite song for a more teary-eyed romantic feel. Hire a lively band to get the crowd going or splash out on an impressive acrobatic performance or a flame thrower for that serious wow-factor. For a more personal touch, have your friends perform something!
9 Have a toast master
Find a friend who can crack the jokes
This is not only a fantastic way to help organise the proceedings of the wedding breakfast and to make sure all the speeches are run smoothly, but a great way to sneak in a bit of fun and entertainment into the meal. Have a particularly funny friend? Give them the honour (they will undoubtedly see it as a huge compliment to be asked) of doing it – they will also know humorous anecdotes from your lives that will add a personal touch. Alternatively, you can hire a comedian to do it, who will naturally make it an amusing affair.
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10 Funny name badges
Funny name badges make it better to strike up a conversation with a stranger
Drinks receptions and idle moments can often be a bit awkward and cliquy. A way to spice things up a bit and encourage strangers to strike up a conversation is funny name badges. Give your guest a tongue-in-cheek nickname that says something about your relationship with this person (a shared story, a childhood memory), which will equip everyone with something to say and something to ask.
11 Go crazy for karaoke
Belt out the belters
By the end of the night, everyone is singing the words to all the bangers the wedding DJ is blaring out anyway, so why not give them the chance to do it properly? Either hire or buy a karaoke machine with multiple microphones – complete it with inflatable instruments, wigs and musically-themed props for the ultimate party effect.
12 Do a pub quiz
A pub quiz can unveil some funny stories from your life
Now it’s time to test how well your friends and family really know you! Elevate the standard pub quiz with a section about you and your lives for some fun stories in-between the history and geography section. Add a prize to give away to the winning table – this will evoke a sense of competition among guests and help create a nice team spirit among the people sharing a table.
READ MORE: Food and drink inspiration for your wedding
13 Have a prize draw
Who's the lucky winner?
Have your guests put their name in a bowl for the chance to win some great prizes that will be drawn throughout the day. This will create a sense of excitement, especially for younger guests (so remember to have prizes that’s suitable to all ages).
14 Bouncy castle
Bouncy castles aren't just for children!
Don’t underestimate the power of a bouncy castle! During the day, this can be the perfect way to keep kids entertained, but once the adults have warmed up (read had a couple of glasses of champagne), they’ll be ready to let their inner child out. Just remind the ladies to take their stilettos off…
15 Create a slide-show
Gather your favourite photos
Gather images from your lives together and have them rolling on a screen throughout the day. This will mean there’s constantly something to look at and your guests can get a glimpse of what your life is like on a day-to-day basis. Remember to include pictures of friends and family, too (and from before you met each other), to remind them that they are a part of your lives. They will appreciate the gesture on a day like this.
READ MORE: How to make an impact with wedding floral arrangements
16 Collective end-of-evening activity
Create a magical ending to your day
Why not finish the evening off with a wonderful firework display? Or what about sending Chinese lanterns up into the sky, enclosed with well-wishing notes from your guests? Putting lanterns on a lake is another option. Not only will this form a conclusive ending to the evening, it will gather all your guests for a wonderful shared moment.
17 Children’s entertainment
Keep the children happy throughout the day and the parents will enjoy themselves more, too
If you’ve got children on your guest list, make sure both parents and kids are able to enjoy the wedding. Hire a nanny for the day to look after the kids, allowing parents to relax. Organising a treasure hunt or hiring in someone to do face painting will also keep the little ones occupied while having a play room or area kitted out with basic toys and colouring books is a more effortless solution.