Wedding reception ideas to entertain guests, other than dancing

This story first appeared in the Fall / Winter 2021 issue of Columbus Weddings, which was published in June 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 has been the year that has taken something, if not a lot, from everyone. In the case of weddings, from November 2020 to February 2021, he stole the flagship act of any reception: dancing.

“We [were not] able to get people moving; guests had to be seated all the time, ”says Berlyn Martin, owner and lead planner of Berlyn Events. “A vast majority of events have been postponed or canceled due to regulations because it’s difficult to completely realign your expectations on what a wedding is.”

Couples who didn’t hesitate to throw a wedding in 2020 were forced to reinvent their reception with alternative entertainment ideas for the guests. Performances, sitting anecdotes, living art, the possibilities were endless. But while the dancing has apparently returned for good, we don’t need to just go back to where things were before. Indeed, for many, receptions are reinventing themselves.

“We did things like anecdotes… [and] the shoe game, ”Martin says of the dance-free weddings she helped plan. “They were engaging and it was a lot of fun for everyone.”

These sit-down games can be a great option for couples looking for a fun but inexpensive addition to their reception. For the fun of it, couples can either tap into a Wednesday night tavern vibe with general trivia, or make it a game of who knows the happy couple better.

On a related note, the Shoe Game is also a proven receiving favorite. To play, the couple sit back to back, take off their shoes and exchange one (so that each has one of their own shoes and one of their partner). Then the host (a DJ, someone from the wedding party, or one of the guests) asks the couple questions, such as “Who is the best driver?” Both partners then lift the shoe of the person they think fits the bill. The results – and the reactions – are often funny.

“Things like that really kept people engaged and allowed them to be a part of the moment,” says Martin.

Being part of the moment can also be an activity in its own right. Live event painting, where an artist renders a moment of the day onto the canvas in real time, can be a memory creator in the moment and for decades to come.

Von Studio

For Best of Columbus Weddings-winner studio artist Keith Hasenbalg, the live portion of the painting lasts an average of around five hours, providing guests with plenty of entertainment to watch the blank canvas bloom. But the truth is, the play won’t be finished for several weeks.

“[After the wedding,] I bring him back to the studio to do the little details. The little things… they really do everything, ”he says. “I want to make this a believable story.”

Hasenbalg traditionally offers three size options, ranging from 11 x 14 to 30 x 24 inches, but also offers more economical options, such as smaller canvases or paintings made only from image references, rather than scenes. live. “I tried to make sure that everyone could have a real work of art,” he explains.

On a related note, for entertainment that can double as a guest favor, consider cartoonish designs or outdoor photo booths.

Cartoonist John Bailey, who has been with the company for about 25 years, says clients will write him notes years later, reflecting the joy his designs have brought them. “One day I opened my email and there is an email from someone,” he recalls. “[It said,] “Every day I sit in my office and look at this caricature you drew of me and my family, and it fills me with happiness. “”

Cartoonists like Bailey traditionally book by the hour, drawing throughout the dinner or the after-dinner portion of a reception. Guests can sit at a safe distance, individually or in pairs or in home pods, as they are captured in the silly style, signature of a cartoonish artist.

As for the modern day portrait artist, aka photo booths, Insta instant material is a foolproof print. Most photo booths, like the ones you can rent at Foto Bar or Selfie Spot 614 (another Best of Columbus Weddings winner), offer instant physical or digital photos to guests, along with a gallery of all photos. of the event delivered after the fact. Some also offer GIF or Boomerang creations, ideal for posting on social media. And while most companies offer options for decorative complements, the photo station itself offers an attractive combination of high-quality lighting and effects in a sleek, space-saving form.

For the safest bet, go for an outdoor stall for now, although the more traditional closed stalls remained popular for years before the pandemic and are sure to make a strong comeback as vaccination rates increase. increase and security concerns decrease.

More interesting reception ideas include live performances – there’s the traditional band, but also consider a more formal musical arrangement or even a stand-up comedy – or lawn games like cornhole for outdoor weddings in the weather. hot. For the couple who want to create an experience as unique as they are, other options abound: a board game corner for the competitive couple, a magical act to commemorate a first date or perhaps a photo bingo or a treasure hunt to encourage guests to capture the night’s many memories.

But whether it’s a rowdy quiz session or a fridge-ready photo strip, reimagining what a reception can look like is sure to give your guests memories they can cherish long after the DJ has been playing. closed the dance floor.

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