Category Archives: wedding reception ideas

wisconsin wedding venue with beautiful love sign and local flavors

10 Amazing Non-Dancing Wedding Reception Ideas

This list of amazing non-dancing wedding reception ideas proves that it is possible to have fun at a wedding without dancing. From concerts to table games to sampling stations and more, couples are sure to find an amazing wedding entertainment options that everyone can look forward to.

However, choosing the best forms of wedding entertainment does require some advance planning. If you want to offer many of these non-dancing wedding reception ideas, you need to choose a wedding venue with plenty of space and key features that make it possible. If you want to offer a concert or performance, look for a wedding venue with a stage. When a casino night is your top choice, it’s best to reserve a wedding venue with plenty of space so guests can mingle and play.

Concert

A concert is a wonderful way to entertain guests and give your reception a one-of-a-kind feel. Guests can enjoy live music from their table or enjoy the music from a row of seats like a traditional concert. A band or instrumentalist can also be a wonderful part of a themed wedding, such as a jazz band for a Great Gatsby theme.

Table Trivia

Table trivia is a favorite among guests and couples because there are so many ways to customize and personalize this game. Couples can opt for a trivia game with questions about the couple, their favorite city, wedding theme, or any other favorite topic. Plus, you can take this wedding game to another level with a game show host who gets everyone in on the fun.

Photo Booth

A photo booth checks off two wedding entertainment boxes. For guests, it’s fun to take hilarious and sweet pictures. For couples, a photo booth is a great way to get more snapshots of their special day! Plus, it’s always fun for couples to choose (and make) photo booth props that fit with their theme and make photos even more memorable.

Sampling Stations

This is a top choice on the list of non-dancing wedding reception ideas because there are so many different options for sampling stations. You can select an ale sampling station where guests can try a variety of brews (a favorite in Milwaukee). Another option is a station with desserts from a local bakery, which adds a distinctly local flair to the reception (along with these other Wisconsin wedding ideas). If you love wines, a sampling station is your chance to give guests a chance to try wines from local vineyards. To top it off, you can even give guests the chance to take their favorite option home as a wedding favor!

Mad Libs

Everyone’s favorite game is a crowd favorite at a wedding, giving guests the chance to fill in the blanks with their silliest words. This game can be an incredibly way to tell your story, but with humorous twists that leaves everyone in stitches.

I Spy/Scavenger Hunts

An I Spy or scavenger hunt is an interesting way to keep guests on their toes. This game can be an enjoyable way for guests to explore the wedding venue and get an up-close and personal look at key features. Plus, it’s an incredible conversation starter for guests as they meet and mingle at their table.

Video

This wedding reception idea can be a short video telling your story as part of the program or as elaborate as a night at the movies. The latter option is a wonderful way for couples to treat their guests to the big screen, especially with a red carpet entrance and movie-themed décor.

Performance

If you are a couple who loves a night out at a play or musical, this is a great way to showcase your love of the stage and share it with guests. Plus, this wedding entertainment idea lends itself to a musical theme at an upscale wedding venue with dramatic décor.

Yard Games

Yard games are a great option for a carnival-themed wedding or picnic, but the idea can also be moved inside for a distinctly upscale twist. Plus, there are a long list of yard game ideas to choose from, such as bowling, ring toss, corn hole, and a few other soon-to-be favorite wedding yard games.

Casino Night

A casino night is a unique experience for guests, giving them a chance to mingle and enjoy every casino game. From black jack to poker, this wedding entertainment idea is a win for you and your high-rolling guests.

Coloring Table

If kids are on your guest list, a coloring table—or some other form of children’s entertainment—is a must at your wedding. Younger guests of all ages are going to appreciate coloring, word searches, and other fun kids games, while their parents enjoy the fact that their children are entertained.

elegant historic wedding venue

7 “Wedding Reception Only” Ideas and Tips

These wedding reception only ideas are the perfect inspiration for any couple who wanted (or had to have!) an intimate ceremony together. Whether you eloped (just because) or had a small ceremony because of the pandemic, this guide for planning the perfect wedding reception only and reception only ideas and tips can put your celebration over-the-top.

Have two separate guest lists.

This is a practical wedding planning tip: have two separate guests list for invites. When setting guest lists, always invite the same guests to the ceremony and reception. For reception only guests, create a wedding website with details about the wedding reception (i.e. venue address, parking details, and this other important wedding website information).

You can schedule the ceremony and reception as far apart as you want. When you word the invitation wording for the wedding reception only invites, consider phrases like “Celebrate with us” or “We’re married! Come join us.”

Decide on your wedding reception attire.

There are quite a few “you don’t have to…” tips associated with planning a wedding reception only. One of those is “you don’t have to wear your wedding dress or tux” to your wedding reception only. Instead, couples can opt for comfortable formal attire, such as a dancing gown or comfortable suit at an elegant wedding venue.

Don’t feel like you have to connect the dots…and the décor.

When holding a wedding ceremony and reception separately, don’t feel like you have to create the same atmosphere at both events. Your wedding ceremony can be as small and intimate as you want, while your wedding reception can be a big dance party, formal dinner party, or large picnic. If you need guidance, hire a wedding planner at your venue to bring your vision to life.

Include a special ceremony moment in your wedding reception.

If you want your guests to feel like they are part of your wedding ceremony, add a special moment to your wedding reception schedule of events. You can recite your vows together, sign your wedding license in front of your guests, or include other wedding reception only ideas that make your guests feel like they were there when you said, “I do.”

Find a creative way to share your ceremony.

At the top of the list of wedding reception only ideas is finding a way to tell your story (including your wedding ceremony). You can do so with photos or videos, either in one key area or scattered around your venue. This is your chance to give guests a glimpse of your wedding ceremony, and gives you the opportunity to relive your wonderful wedding day.  

Have fun with your menu.

A wedding reception only lends itself to creativity. It can be a gathering with light dishes, a sweet night of desserts, or a reception with delicious food stations with your favorite dishes. There are so many possibilities! You can plan a menu that coordinates with the theme or select dishes that surprise and delight guests (including non-traditional desserts). If you need inspiration, don’t hesitate to ask a venue event planner for ideas. As long as you’re having fun with your menu, don’t be afraid to choose unique seating arrangements and mingling areas.

Entertain your guests with trivia, speeches, and fun.

A full line-up of wedding reception entertainment is a ‘must’ on the list of wedding reception only ideas. Guests love to play table trivia about the couple (or the shoe game!), tour a beautiful venue during a scavenger hunt, hear fun speeches, take goofy photos in a photo booth, play yard games, and dance the night away!

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.