Sign at a wedding reception reading quote eat, drink and be married end quote

Wedding receptions tend to follow a similar format: drinks, dinner, dancing, dessert. And while there’s nothing wrong with a traditional wedding reception, it can also be fun to mix it up. 

Today’s couples are thinking outside the box to wow their guests with personal touches, creative entertainment, and interactive food and drinks. Here are some ideas for a wedding reception that’s as unique as your love story. 

Reception Entertainment

The sky’s the limit (literally) when it comes to unique wedding reception entertainment. Surprise and delight your guests with these reception amusements. 

Live Wedding Painter

In addition to traditional wedding photography and videography, live wedding painting is growing in popularity. You can hire a painter to attend your reception and commemorate the special occasion on canvas. Guests will enjoy watching the painting in real-time and you get to take home a beautiful keepsake. 

Drone Show

Take your love story to the sky with a drone light show. Hire a drone company to surprise your guests mid-reception with stunning visuals of hearts, rings, and your initials. Not only is it fun to watch, but it’s a sustainable and audio-friendly alternative to fireworks.

Live Band 

A live band is a surefire way to elevate the energy at your wedding reception. Beyond simply playing your musical requests, live music is so much fun to watch. Consider swapping a DJ for a live band to take your wedding dancing to the next level. 

Musician singing into a microphone and playing guitar at a wedding reception or other fancy event
Photo by Andy Lee

Reception Games

Games are an easy way to add variety to your wedding reception. They can also serve as an icebreaker for guests who don’t know each other. 

Arcade Games

If you and your soon-to-be spouse are gamers, add some retro fun to your reception with vintage arcade games. Companies like Snap Entertainment rent pinball machines, Skeeball, and Pacman for special events. 

Yard Games

Planning a spring or summer wedding? Everyone loves a good yard game! Set up croquet, life-sized Jenga, corn hole, or a ring toss. Guests can mingle throughout the night and enjoy some friendly competition. 

Croquet set in the grass at a wedding reception
Photo by Erol Ahmed

Word Games

Word games are another fun option with endless creative opportunities. Create a crossword puzzle or word search using phrases and clues that reflect your love story, like the restaurant where you had your first date or your cat’s name. 

Trivia Games

Similarly, a custom trivia game can be a fun way for guests to break the ice. Challenge each table to compete against one another and see who knows the happy couple best. At the end of the night, award a winner from each table their centerpiece as a prize. 

Reception Activities

While guests are taking a break from dancing, consider these activities to keep the party going on and off the dance floor.

Photo Booth

A wedding reception without a photo booth is like a birthday party without a piñata. Guests love to take pictures in their fancy wedding attire and post the photos on Instagram. Order a custom photo booth background from Etsy with photo props to match. On a budget? Create your own wedding props using a Canva template. 

Interactive Guest Books

Guest books are another wedding reception staple. Add a fun twist with an audio guest book and ask guests to leave a voicemail with their words of wisdom in lieu of a written note. Guests will have fun trying something new — and you’ll have fun replaying their messages for years to come. 

Photo booth set up at a wedding reception
Photo by Masood Aslami

Date Night Advice

Next to the guest book, ask your friends and family to share their best marriage advice and date night ideas. Keep it simple with Popsicle sticks and a mason jar, or provide a calendar for guests to handpick your date nights throughout the year. 

Coloring Pages

Throwing a kid-friendly reception? Keep the little ones entertained with custom coloring pages and crayons. Turn your favorite photo of you and your fiancé into a black and white outline and let the kids (or playful adults) channel their inner artist. 

Planning a Unique Wedding Reception

Your wedding reception is likely the biggest party you’ll ever throw — make it memorable! It doesn’t have to be the loudest or the longest party, it just needs to reflect you and your love story.

Not sure where to start? Eventective can help. Visit our wedding directory to find live musicians, DJs, entertainers, and other reception vendors in your area.

Rachel Kauffman is a Detroit-based content writer, bookworm, and cat mom to two feisty felines.