Category Archives: wedding reception ideas

Wedding Reception Ideas: How to Add Local Flavor to Your Big Day

wisconsin wedding venue with beautiful love sign and local flavors

We may be a little biased, but we love Wisconsin weddings. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of wedding reception ideas for couples who love getting married in Wisconsin as much as we do. These traditional and modern ideas are sure to add a bit of local flavor to a wedding day (without being cheesy).

Select a Wisconsin wedding venue

Planning your special day starts with the biggest decision: choosing the right Wisconsin wedding venue. Because our weather can be incredibly unpredictable (no matter the season), make sure the wedding venue is temperature-controlled and covered. Make a list of wedding venues in the right location and with the right amenities. For guest comfort, choose a wedding venue with parking nearby so guests don’t have to trudge through the cold, snow, rain, and wind.

Serve appetizers and dishes with a local flair

For an upscale flair and decidedly local flavor, select dishes with fresh ingredients from local lakes, farms, and fields. There are quite a few ideas, such as summer wedding dishes with fresh cherries, a cheese platter, or a fresh fish fry. The flavor doesn’t have to end with wedding cuisine. Select wedding drinks that your out-of-town guests want to take home.

Host a wine or ale tasting station

Wisconsin is known for its local wineries and breweries. Incorporate those tastes into your wedding by adding a wine or ale tasting station to your wedding entertainment line-up. (Plus, you can plan a fun outing with your partner so you can choose the right wines and ales together.) Before planning a tasting station, ask your venue staff if outside alcohol is allowed in the venue.

Serve a delectable Wisconsin dessert instead of cake

Wisconsinites love their desserts, and out-of-town guests love to enjoy sweet local dishes. The list of dessert ideas with a local flavor are endless: ice cream, Kringles, cream puffs, cherry desserts. (Ask your caterer for fun ways to display the desserts, such as with a dessert wall or interactive food station.) You’ll know this wedding reception idea was a hit when your out-of-town guests beg for the recipes (or a local retailer) at the reception.

Personalize your Old Fashioned recipe

Wisconsin is known for its cocktails, especially a good Old Fashioned. If you want to make a favorable impression, add an Old Fashioned to the menu and advertise it with appropriate décor and signage. For a fun twist, add other local cocktails to your wedding bar and give each one a unique name.

Mix up your wedding dance music

Wedding entertainment makes a big impression on guests, which is why couples should add dance music to their list of wedding reception ideas. To bring a local flavor to the event, hire a local, well-known band or add Wisconsin favorites to your dance play list.

Surprise guests with a local celebrity

This wedding reception idea is sure to get guests talking, but does require secrecy and advanced planning. For the ultimate surprise, hire a local celebrity to make a surprise appearance during the wedding reception. The celebrity can be a local, well-known chef, band, or mascot. To pull this wedding reception idea off without a hitch, keep the appearance is a secret and let the entertainment knows about the surprise so they can help make the moment a memorable one.

Choose wedding favors your guests can’t get anywhere else

The cherry on top of a fantastic Wisconsin wedding is the one-of-a-kind local favors that guests appreciate. These unique local favors can be found at local shops, on local vendors’ websites, and at local restaurants. (Ask your wedding venue staff for other fine favor ideas.)

21 (Fun!) Wedding Reception Surprise Ideas

bride above a beautiful wedding receptionEveryone loves a surprise—especially when you include a surprise into plans for your big day.  Suddenly, your big day becomes bigger (or at least your guests’ eyes do when they see your surprise!) and different. As an added benefit, you can customize your wedding day surprise to something entirely you.

So without further ado, here are a list of fun wedding reception surprise ideas that you can customize into an amazement that fits your personality and your big day:

chalk sign on sidewalk to welcome wedding guests

  1. Surprise them at the door with a fun mural, backdrop, or drawing
  2. Have the happy couple arrive in an unusual vehicle (i.e. in an old car, in a carriage, etc.)
  3. Host a beer (this is Milwaukee, after all!) or wine tasting
  4. Serve a surprise dish
  5. Schedule an appearance by a celebrity impersonator
  6. Have an unexpected friend or family (that you didn’t expect) appear on the dance floor (or on a video call!)
  7. Break out a fun (well-practiced) dance routine by the bride and groom (or father-daughter or mother-son dance)
  8. Have a favorite sports mascot crash the party
  9. Include surprise entertainers in the night that reflect your heritage
  10. Make your awesome dessert part of your décor (i.e. donut wall, interactive dessert food station)
  11. Have one of the newlyweds appear unexpectedly during the reception (coordinate the appearance with the DJ or band)
  12. Add sparklers or fireworks to the night’s festivities (ask your venue about limitations first!)
  13. Give your guests dinner and a surprise show (hire entertainers to make it happen!)
  14. Make a (cool!) wardrobe statement with an unusual dress or dress change
  15. Turn your reception into a trivia night
  16. Confetti drop (outside or on the dance floor-ask your venue to ensure it is allowed)mandap with floral garland
  17. Make a statement with décor in a big way
  18. Give your guests unexpected wedding favors
  19. Host a (surprise) game show
  20. Play dance floor games
  21. Tell your guests thank you with a unique sign or message (i.e. in fortune cookies, with elegant cards set up with each word, etc.)

5 Ways to Add Romance to Your Wedding Reception

You don’t have to have a Valentine’s Day wedding to make your guests feel the love that is in the air.  Choosing a romantic wedding venue as the ultimate backdrop and including these romantic wedding reception touches in your wedding décor can make your reception ooze romance.

couple cutting cake on wedding dateFlower petals

Flower petals on your cake table, on the tables, down the aisle during your ceremony…flower petals add a romantic touch throughout your wedding day.  Use flower petals that coordinate with your overall wedding décor to create a wonderful romantic atmosphere.

beautiful wedding venue for romantic wedding

Romantic lighting

Candles, lanterns, and lamps can give your wedding reception a mood that matches the romantic candlelight dinners you’ve had as a couple or the sweet evenings you’ve spent together.

heart cookies for wedding guests

Sweet treats

Give your guests a taste of the romance in your experience—and that doesn’t always have to be a cake.  Today’s weddings have been filled with some of the most romantic desserts, like chocolate covered strawberries, cheesecakes, and fudge-covered brownies.

romantic wedding decor with rose centerpieces

Roses

Roses are synonymous with love, which makes them an obvious choice for a romantic wedding reception.  Add them to your centerpieces, head table décor, and even as a cake topper to make sure your guests enjoy a night of romance.

wedding venue with dramatic backlighting and candles

Drama

Creating a romantic evening doesn’t mean you can’t give your evening a dramatic flair.  Choose a romantic wedding venue perfect for dramatic touches like uplighting and bright backdrops to give your guests a beautiful evening of romance.