Wedding Reception Activities

Wedding Receptions

There are many activities you can incorporate into your wedding reception. Some are traditional and expected, while others are unique, fun and memorable for the bridal couple and their guests. From cutting the cake to releasing a pair of white doves, wedding couples have plenty of creative activity choices.

Emcee Duties

If you plan on having a variety of activities at your wedding reception, it is important to have a good emcee to make announcements, give instructions, and encourage everyone to be involved. Provide the emcee (many wedding DJs will do emcee duties) with a list of activities and generally when you would like them to happen in the reception to keep everything on schedule.

Funny Photos

After the dignity of the wedding ceremony, the reception can be a great time to take some funny wedding pictures. The couple can pose in unique ways, and getting the guests involved with the photos is a great way to record wedding memories. Many photographers will also offer a photo booth for receptions, giving everyone the opportunity to have a nice photo taken that can be downloaded from the photographer's website after the event.

Bird Releases

A white dove release is a highly symbolic wedding reception activity, and a couple can use this type of event to begin their reception festivities. Be sure to use a reputable wedding dove coordinator, however, to ensure the birds are treated humanely and to guarantee the moment will go as planned. If birds aren't right for your event, consider a butterfly or balloon release instead.


Dancing is an integral part of any wedding reception. The bride and groom open the dance floor with their first dance, and other traditional dances include dancing with their parents and the entire bridal party dancing. Some couples opt for heavily themed and choreographed dances while others are more casual, and throughout the night line dances and group numbers are popular for everyone to be involved.

Cocktail Hour

A cocktail hour might be part of a wedding reception before the main meal begins. This gives the couple time to circulate among guests, or they may be using that hour between the ceremony and reception to take additional photographs. To liven up the cocktail hour, choose a signature cocktail for everyone to try or have some wedding trivia games to play to help everyone relax.

Candy Bars

Candy and dessert bars are a hot trend at wedding receptions. The treats may be themed to the wedding colors or motif, such as autumn or beach themed candies, and guests can fill small boxes or bags with their favorites for a custom wedding favor. This can be a fun and attractive part of the wedding reception and it is easy to customize for any couple's special day.

Guest Book

The guest book helps couples record everyone who shared their special day, and the book can be passed from table to table during the reception to ensure everyone has a chance to sign. More unique options are a poster or picture frame that guests can sign, creating video greetings for the couple to view after the wedding, or using a wishing well for every guest to leave personal greetings.

Cake Cutting

Cutting the cake is one of the most anticipated wedding reception activities. The couple will cut the first slice of cake and feed one another bites to symbolize their commitment to care for and provide for each other. To make the cake cutting more unique, opt to cut the cake with an unusual implement, such as a sword for a military wedding or a jungle machete for a beach wedding.

Speeches and Toasts

Speeches and toasts are common at all wedding receptions, but couples should take care to limit the number of toasts to avoid boring guests. After the couple has been toasted, they should make a return toast to thank their guests for attending and sharing their special moments.

Bouquet and Garter Tosses

The bouquet and garter tosses are typically held toward the end of the reception as the couple is preparing to leave. Not every couple has these activities as part of their wedding reception, however, and alternatives include giving the bouquet to the longest married couple in attendance or tossing a faux garter instead of one indelicately removed from the bride's leg.

Grand Exit

Leaving the wedding reception should be a grand moment for the bride and groom. Guests might throw rice or birdseed, blow bubbles, or wave sparklers to wish the happy couple well as they leave the wedding and take their first steps into their life together.

Check out these articles if you need more ideas for reception activities:

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Wedding Reception Activities