Make Your Wedding Reception Memorable

When you think about your wedding day what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Your mind probably automatically went to some part of the ceremony because it’s a pretty important step of the day right? But when it comes down to it, what you and your guests are probably looking forward to most is the wedding reception. After all, it’s not every day you get to have a celebration with all the people you love most in the world!

The best receptions are a representation of you and your fiance and have elements that people will talk about for years to come. To help you get inspired, I’ve created a short list for some of the best ways to make your wedding reception memorable!

How to Make Your Wedding Reception Memorable

Music for Your Wedding Reception

It goes without saying that a party isn’t really a party without music, but should you choose a DJ or Live Music? That depends on what kind of vibe you want for your wedding reception. A professional DJ can cater to any type of party and will work with you to create the perfect playlist of prerecorded music. On the other hand, live musicians can keep the party going with covers and really interact with a crowd during the reception and ceremony. Work with either to create a general list of music that suits the mood of the event.

Entertainment is a big factor in how long your guests stay and having someone who knows how to keep the dance floor packed is priceless. To see some of the best of the best – check out my recommendations and gain some insight on whether you should hire a DJ or a Band.


This one is fairly easy: make sure the food is tasty. This is a perfect opportunity to eat a plate full of carbs, so choose your favorite foods and go all in!

There are several different ways to approach the catering for your wedding day. Buffet, family style, and plated dinners are all common ways for your guests to dine. But, there are so many ways to be creative and really “wow” your guests.

Passed hors d’oeuvres, food trucks with unique treats, a cooked to order pasta or omelet station, and charcuterie tables are all fun ways to incorporate delicious food into your reception.

Maximize Your Reception Time By Doing a First Look

The timeline of your wedding is all about your priorities. It differs for each person so having discussions about what you want from your wedding day are one of the first things you should discuss with your planner and photographer.

Seeing each other the very first time during the ceremony became tradition for a reason. It’s beautiful. But if your priority is to spend as much time as possible celebrating then a first look might be a good idea for you. If you’re not familiar, a first look is exactly what it sounds like – an opportunity before the actual ceremony to see each other in your wedding attire for the first time. The best part is that it can be a private moment with just the two of you (which is great if you’re a little nervous.)

After doing a first look, the full wedding party, family, and artistic portraits can be done. Or keep the family portraits for after the ceremony, either way it’s a huge time saver!


Having games available is a great way to supplement dancing and is perfect for barn weddings or venues with outdoor spaces where you can set up lawn games like giant jenga, bocce ball, corn hole, or even croquet.

If you’re allowing children at the wedding, this also gives them something to keep them from running circles at Mach 3 around your legs while you dance. There are a ton of game options and it really comes down to what you think your guests would enjoy.

Pro tip: Pretty much any game can be turned into a drinking game with the right attitude!

Unique Favors

Giving your guests a something unique to show your thanks for their support is a great way to ensure that everyone has a fun time and has something to remember the day by. Bespoke items like hand-made candles, and wildflower seeds are things that remind your guests of your wedding every time they use them. You can also opt to provide something special for the entire table, such as their very own cake.

Whatever it is, make it a reflection of your personalities and it will be a hit for sure!

Have a Signature Drink at Your Wedding Reception

Picture this, it’s late Summer and everyone is dressed to the nine’s, dancing under sparkling lights and flowers while sipping on your favorite cocktail. And just like that you’ve set up all the pieces of a night your guests will never forget.

If you already have a favorite drink then it can be pretty simple to choose what you’d like to serve up. Otherwise I’d suggest trying out a few combinations at home and picking one or two simple concoctions that tickle your fancy.

Keep Toasts Short & Sweet

This is pretty strait forward and may seem a little controversial but when 6 people give 10 minute toasts each, the time adds up quickly.

The best way to manage this is for you to choose 2 or 3 VIP’s to toast to your future and bring up some embarrassing stories from your past. Toasts can also be made at the rehearsal dinner to help keep your reception high energy and keeping your guests entertained. Because after all, there’s cake waiting.

Bride and groom hold hands at their private dinner table while the father of the bride prays over the meal.

Hire a Day Of Coordinator

You’ve spent the last few months of your life stressing over seating charts, color schemes, and all the little details that will make your ceremony and wedding reception perfect but now it’s time to let someone else take charge and make sure everything comes together beautifully and runs smoothly! There are a ton of moving parts to any wedding day and none of them will just fall into place without someone knowledgeable to handle the timeline along with the vendors and guests. For full service planners that do amazing to work with and take all that stress off of your plate – check out my recommendations here.

They’re there to make sure everyone gets down the aisle on time, herding 100+ guests to the reception space, organizing toasts, cake cutting, vendor timelines…it takes a lot of coordination and time. Not to mention emergency dress repairs, snack and med dispensing, fire-fighting, and more.

Trust me when I say, you’ll thank me for this one later.

Have a Custom Photo booth at Your Wedding Reception

Having a photo booth option with a custom background is the one of the easiest ways to get everyone involved in your reception. Use props and get everyone together for some hilarious photos, then print them and slide them in a pre-made customized album or send photos directly to your phone with a social booth!

Plan For Late Night Snacks

Have you ever been out late with friends and suddenly hunger strikes?

If you want to make sure that doesn’t happen to you or your wedding reception guests, talk with your caterer about providing late night hors d’oeuvres. They’ll usually have plenty of suggestions and this will make everyone happy. Once again, trust me on this one.

Have a Grand Exit

If you want to feel like an absolute rock star, planning your exit from your wedding reception to be an event of it’s own is the way to go. Sparklers, bubbles, light wands, snow, fog, biodegradable confetti, rice? There are tons of options to make this an epic moment for you and your guests for your getaway. You can also elevate your exit by driving away in a classic car or horse drawn carriage.

BONUS: Enjoy Yourself

Anything you choose to do for your reception is going to be amazing because you’re with the people you love. So let loose, be present, and enjoy every second of your day!