Wedding

83 Wedding Reception Ideas To Make It A Day To Remember

With all the wedding ceremony details in place and the wedding ceremony script in the works, it’s now time to focus on the wedding reception ideas. Unique wedding ideas are abundant and finding inspiration will be easy and fun. Whether it is the overall décor, an outdoor or inside setting, wedding party ideas can provide special moments for you and your guests.

Wedding decorations, activities for guests and surprises can make your wedding reception a memorable experience for everyone. The reception is the perfect occasion to bring in elements that will showcase the personality of the newlywed couple, plus it’s where family and friends can fully participate in the celebration.

We’ve curated a list of fun, unique and touching ideas that may spark some inspiration for your very special day!

 

WEDDING DECOR

1. Eclectic Table Décor

Source: Erica Melissa

The mix of contradicting flowers in an array of table arrangements makes for a breathtaking outcome – think elegant red roses, green leaves with berries and an array of wildflowers. Add vintage stemware in different hues mixed with gold accents to achieve a stunning display.

2. Magical Lighting

Source: Michelle Du Toit

The right lighting is key for receptions taking place in the evening and outdoor. Consider strings of delicate lights mixed with large hanging bulbs to achieve an enchanting look everyone will rave about.

3. Modern Romance

Source: Lux Light Photography

This table décor is ideal for those couples that crave the romance but have a contemporary style. Flower centerpieces in blush tones, pink tablecloths and elegant personalized candles mixed with modern white chairs will do just the trick.

4. Confetti Filled Fun

Source:  Green Wedding Shoes

When it gets to the time for the newlyweds to leave the reception have someone handout confetti filled containers. Use colors that will complement those used in the wedding or by the bridal party. This makes for a fun and colorful honeymoon send-off for the couple!

5. Children Activities

Source: Natalie Watson Photography

Consider the children that will be attending the wedding reception. Printout fun wedding related coloring sheets and place crayons at the kids table to keep them engaged. If the location permits you can also have fun games or swings for them to enjoy.

6. The Newlywed Getaway

Source: Aloha Zo Photography

Plan for a fun way for the newly married couple to leave the reception. Traditionally couples drive away in fun little sports or vintage cars. But a non-traditional motorcycle getaway can certainly be a thrilling moment to the delight of your guests!

7. Woodsy Table Décor

Source: Laura Murray Photography

Bringing the woods onto your table décor is as easy as incorporating moss garlands with leaves and delicate branches. The greenery on a wooden table, intricate crystal stemware and muted grays will feel as fresh as a walk in the woods.

8. Herb Centerpieces

Source: Jenna Henderson and Cedarwood Weddings

Flowers tend to be the go-to to dress a wedding reception table but using herb plants in terracotta pots instead will surely delight your guests. This idea works best for a daytime reception with plenty of natural light and wood tables.

9. Wood Plank Seating Chart

Source: Lena Mirisola

Natural wood can be a stunning accent to welcome guests at woodsy inspired reception. A rustic piece of varnished wood is the perfect backdrop for a seating chart . Add moss, logs and natural fiber string to add more magic.

10. Transparent Accents

Source: KVC Photography

Transparent details can elevate a modern table setting. Look into transparent boxes that feature the menu and the couple’s initials for each place setting. Clear glass plates and white accents will complete the airy look and feel.

11. Picture Perfect Backdrop

Source: Gipe Photography

A chalkboard backdrop with fun props can be the perfect way for bridal party and guests to capture quirky, fun loving moments of the special day. The bride and groom can initiate the activity and show everyone how it’s done!

12. Celebratory Ribbon Wands

Source: Dawn Charles

Ribbon wands can be used to welcome the newlyweds to the reception, on the dance floor or a fund honeymoon sendoff. A fun and beautiful way to have participation from party attendants. Plus this is a great do-it-yourself project!

13. Mason Jar Photo Display

Source: Jessamyn Harris

Mason jars are great containers but they also make for charming wedding accents. Use them as holders for vintage pictures of family members to be displayed on the welcome table. Add a few floral arrangements around the pictures to nicely bridge the wedding decor to this idea.

14. White-On-White Table

Source: The Grovers Photography

A white-on-white table looks clean and fresh, especially for a garden wedding reception. Looks especially crisp when paired with a wooden table and chairs. Add a few elements of green around the table, such as lush greenery in the centerpieces and a delicate branch with a few leaves on the plate.

15. Silver Dollar Eucalyptus Garland

Source: Carly Statsky

Silver dollar eucalyptus garlands are a simple yet splendid way to decorate the sweetheart table. Add a few candles and small white flower arrangements to add a spark of romanticism. This look can easily be implemented to guest tables, especially for communal dining style seating.

16. Book Lover Details

Source: Plum & Oak

Vintage books are a great way to add accents with charm and a lot of character. Stack them on a side table at the reception lounge or use them as bases to showcase the wedding wine selection for the day.

17. Vintage Wood Boxes

Source: Misty Rodda Photography

Decorate with a flair of rustic elegance by arranging a few vintage wood boxes to the cake or guest book tables. Add some lanterns, candles and plenty of greenery for a perfect arrangement.

18. Wood Log Card Holders

Source: Ayres Photography & Co.

Rustic wood logs used as name and table number card holders can bring a beautiful feeling to any table. Match it with flower prints and wildflower arrangements. Complete this aesthetic with log slices as bases for your floral centerpieces.

19. Barn Backdrop

Source: Misty C. Photography

Barn weddings are full of charm and personality. Maximize the venue by picking the most interesting backdrop for the wedding cake table, add some festive paper garlands and a banner with a meaningful message for the day.

20. Colorful Table Runner

Source: Shutterfly

Add some charm to the table with an elegant and colorful table runner . You can even customize to go with your party décor. Incorporate tall glass vases with a few leaves, branches and single flowers for a delicate touch.

21. Ceramic Tile Table Signs

Source: Shutterfly

You can use customizable ceramic tiles as table number assignments. Pick a different picture for each table, choose pictures that relay your style as a couple – think vacation, Halloween couple costumes or pictures with your lovely pets!

22. Personalized Table Runner

Source: Shutterfly

Take your engagement pictures and turn them into lovely customizable blankets that you can use as a table runners at each table. This idea brings a very personal touch to the reception. Try using different pictures to alternate between the tables to break up the monotony.

23. Lounge Pillows

Source: Shutterfly

Many reception venues have areas dedicated to set up a nice lounge where guests can enjoy each other’s company. Follow the same reception décor for this area and incorporate a personal touch with customizable pillows that will make your guests even more comfortable.

24. Special Touches

Source: Tricia McCormack Photography

Add special touches around the venue for your guests to enjoy. Birdcage floral arrangements can brighten up your gift table. Rolled up blankets in a tin bucket is a thoughtful guest gift at an outdoor reception.

25. An Ode To Writers

Source: Michael Farmer Photography

Adding a vintage typewriter as welcome table décor is a meaningful touch for a family of writers. Including a single rose and delicate leaves will complement the arrangement.

26. Tropical Vibes

Source:  Rakoteet Photography

If you’re going for a tropical feel for your reception, a few selections can go a long away for a beautiful outcome. A single flower on each place setting, combined with green and golden details, can make your tropical dreams come together perfectly.

27. Birds & Greenery Table

Source: Arina B. Photography

Lush greenery centerpieces with crystal candle holders and porcelain bird figurines at every place setting can give all the fairytale wedding feels. Add rustic wood base, white plates and antique style utensils to complete the look.

28. Photo Collage Décor

Source: Shutterfly

Create a photo collage of all the places you’ve visited as a couple and place at the entrance or on the welcome table. A great way for your guests to see what adventures you’ve had as a couple!

29. Sweet Seating Directions

Source: Kate Harrison Photography

A clever way to get your guests to their assigned seats is by using party favors. Place a bright sign with clear directions, attach a card to the gift with guests names and corresponding tables number. Make sure to arrange in alphabetical order for an easy process.

30. Practical DIY Pouches

Source: Katelyn James Photography

A great do-it-yourself project is to create individual pouches with an activity set of games and colored pencils for the little ones at the wedding. A great idea also for utensils at each plate setting.

31. Worldly Centerpieces

Source: Pipers Photography

Crystal globe centerpieces paired with simple greenery can make for stunning table accents or centerpieces. If you find hollow ones, fill with colored sand to match your wedding colors.

32. Special Guests

Source: Bret & Jessica

Depending on your reception location, you can plan for baby animals to make a special appearance to delight your guests. Baby goats at a barn wedding would be an adorable sight. You can also help your local animal shelter by getting some kittens and puppies adopted. There will surely be a lot of love in the air with this idea!

33. Peachy Details

Source: Ryan Ray Photo

Peaches are a summertime staple and ideal to dress a table in summer weddings. Both colorful and soft, peaches can look elegant when included in flower centerpieces and placed on each plate setting accompanied by delicate bougainvillea blooms.

34. Block Table Signs

Source: Shutterfly

Personalize clear acrylic blocks to turn them into the perfect table signs. Just pick your favorite black and white engagement photos and customize. Assign a different pose for each number and consider using candid shots to make it more fun!

35. Photo Display Board

Source: J + A Photography

A photo display board is a great addition to the welcome table at a wedding reception. Include pictures of the couple that tell their love story as well as pictures of family members for both sides -parents, grandparent, siblings, nieces and nephews.

36. Thank You Sign

Source: Sara Wilde

Place a thank you sign at the exit of the reception. This way if guests don’t get a chance to say goodbye to the bride and groom they can receive your appreciation as they leave. A chalkboard with a beautiful elegant frame will still look appropriate for such a special occasion.

37. Nature Inspired Seating Chart

Source: By Julieta

Welcome your guests with this naturally chic seating chart. Print table numbers and guest names on thin plexiglass cards and make sure to use white ink. Decorate with lush green for a simple clean board.

GUEST BOOK

38. Photo Guestbook

Source: Shutterfly

Create a photo book with pictures of your journey as a couple for your guests to look through and sign. It will also make the perfect coffee table book in your newlywed home!

39. Polaroid Guestbook

Source: Katie Ruther

Have your guests take a Polaroid picture to include in your guestbook with a special message. Provide metallic ink pens, tape and extra film cartridges to keep the fun going.  A fantastic way to make your guests feel involved in the festivities of the day!

40. Unique Guestbook

Source: Something Turquoise

Have guests write notes to put into a message in a bottle guest book. Include a sign with easy instructions and encourage them to write advice, fun memories or anything they wish to say to the bride and groom.

41. Family Portraits Guest Book Table

Source: Olive Photography

Arrange framed pictures around your guest book table. Include old pictures of the bride and groom’s parents and grandparents on their wedding day. A great way to honor those family members that were not able to attend.

42. Puppy Presence

Source: Paul Cameron Production

Include your puppy in the day’s festivities by taking a picture of your furry-kid holding a sign with a special message. Place at the guestbook or welcome table and watch everyone awe at the adorable sight!

43. Map Guestbook

Source: From the Hip Photo

Give the guestbook a twist by framing an artsy world atlas map and having your guests sign along with their well wishes. An ideal guest book for couple afflicted with the travel bug!

WEDDING FOOD & DRINK

44. Dessert Wall

Source: Birds of a Feather Photo

A delicate way to display the wedding cake table while setting the tone of the day with a beautiful quote. Bring it all together with flowers, a few shelves and fruit accents. This makes a perfect photo backdrop after everyone has enjoyed the sweet desserts.

45. Enchanting Cake

Source:  Savannah Hayes Photography

Cakes can be a good showcase of the couple’s personality, whether traditional or quirky. Picking the cake décor can be fun for the bride and groom. A unique cake topper like two love birds can certainly bring an enchanting feel to the reception.

46. Shot Glass Welcome

Source: Jonathan Cossu Photography

Let your guests know it is time to start the party by welcoming them to the reception with a tequila filled shot glass. Include their name and table assignment to make it even more fun!

47. Cheese Tower

Source: Jessica Reeve Photography

Serve nice stacks of cheese for guests to enjoy as an appetizer before dinner is served. Make it look like a wedding cake with fruits such as strawberries and raspberries. Don’t forget the crackers and some sweet jam!

48. Donut Display

Source: Amy Galbraith

Donuts have become very popular addition to wedding dessert and cake tables. It is a fun and delicious way to delight guests. Include a variety of donut shapes and flavors. Think of placing your wedding cake alongside this creative display.

49. Sweet Tart Seating Cards

Source: Tara McMullen Photography

Have a sweet fruit tart waiting for your guests at each place setting. Pick a fruit that complements your wedding colors and add their name on a fondant plaque. A great way to decorate and personalize the table.

50. Wedding Cheese Cake

Source: Jessica Reeve Photography

If the newlyweds have a brie, manchego or stilton cheese obsession then a wedding cheese cake is a must for the reception. These cheese tower looks beautiful assembled and tastes delicious once disassembled – an appetizer everyone will enjoy!

51. Personalized Wood Boards

Source: Shutterfly

Customized food wood boards are perfect for placing at each guest table with delicious fruits, cheese and meats. Decorate with edible flower petals and honey.

52. Wedding Cupcakes

Source: Ryan and Denise Photography

Cupcakes can be just as divine as wedding cake and can be easier to serve to your guest. Arrange them in towers and around a smaller wedding cake, you can even dress up two cupcakes as the bride and groom for the cake topper!

53. Vibrant Wedding Cake

Source: Hearts Photo

Wedding cakes don’t always have to be unicolor, think vibrant colors with stripes and polka dots. You can also have several cake towers in different sizes and heights. A unique way to brighten an already perfect day!

54. Monogrammed Napkins

Source: Shutterfly

Personalized napkins will add a special touch to the reception. You can customize details, colors, script and message. Perfect for use at the appetizer table, the bar and dessert table.

55. Quirky Details

Source: The Camera Chick

Adding quirky details as decor around the wedding venue will give your reception an endearing personal touch. Unique Lego bride and groom cake toppers will show off your playful nature. Plus, it will make everyone want to come and check out the cake. Quirky touches can make a wedding immensely memorable!

56. Show Off Cocktail Glassware

Source: TréCreative

Finding a way to display your specialty cocktail glassware can definitely be a highlight of the bar area. Place the bottles of the liquor that will be available and incorporate a flower arrangement to that area.

57. Dessert-To-Go

Source: Shutterfly

Provide your guests with fun takeout boxes so they can take some dessert to go. Make sure to include a plastic fork and a paper napkin for the perfect midnight snack!

58. Image Coasters

Source: Shutterfly

Select images of your favorite destinations and make a personalized vacation bucket list on beautiful image coasters . Perfect to place at the reception lounge or high-tables by the bar!

59. Gold Silhouette Cake Topper

Source: Kim Christopher Photography

A great way to incorporate your pets into the reception is by including them in your cake topper. A simple gold silhouette of the couple with their faithful furry friends in tow will warm every heart!

60. Combining Cultures

Source:  Josh Goodman

A wedding is often a celebration of two cultures coming together. Honor traditions and customs by incorporating details that speaks to both sides – bilingual wedding cake toppers can be a fun way to highlight the significance of the union.

61. Doggie Themed Drink Menu

Source: Red Boat Photography

Beloved four-legged family members cannot always make it to the wedding reception, if this is the case then including them in some way is a beautiful gesture. Think of naming wedding signature cocktails after your furry friends. Make a sign with their likeness and drink names to display by the bar.

62. Cake Cutting Fun

Source: Christina Lilly

Make sure to enjoy every single moment of your wedding reception. The cake cutting ritual can certainly lend itself for very fun and candid moments. Have your photographer capture every minute of it!

63. Vintage Library Drawers

Source: Kristen Wynn Photography

Go antique shopping for some vintage library drawers to enhance your wedding reception décor. Perfect containers for wrapped candy and ideal for wedding décor with a vintage vibe.

64. Lemon Centerpieces

Source: F27 Photography

Lemons can be a great addition to floral centerpieces and accent tables. Complement with yellow roses and hydrangeas. Perfect for barn or backyard summer weddings, the lemon yellow hues are pleasantly bright and aromatic.

65. Superhero Cake Toppers

Source: Life is Beautiful Photography

Show off your love for comics and pop culture by choosing a set of superhero cake toppers. Your wedding is the perfect place to showcase your quirky passions and hobbies. Consider something fun and unique like this for your reception.

66. Shaved Ice Cone Station

Source: Sandy Tam Photography

Summer outdoor weddings call for breezy treats for your guests. This shaved ice cone station idea can look beautiful if you match the flavor colors to your bridal bouquet. A delicious yet beautiful way to cool off!

67. Refreshing Lemonade Stand

Source: Kaylee Eylander

A cute lemonade stand at your wedding reception can be a refreshing way to welcome your guests after an outdoor ceremony. You can serve traditional lemonade, lemon water or strawberry lemonade. A delicious addition to any outdoor reception!

68. Doggie Cake Toppers

Source: Keila Marie Photography

If you will be missing man’s best friend at the reception then get some dog shaped toppers for the wedding cake. Find the specific breed and keep the cake décor simple so that this precious details shows best.

69. Ice Pop Cart

Incorporate a childhood favorite treat into the celebration. Plan to bring in an ice cream truck or an ice pop cart into the mix. A sweet dessert for everyone to enjoy!

 

WEDDING FAVORS

70. Wedding Favors

Source: Emily Steffen

Think of a way to display the wedding favors that will go perfectly with the theme of the gift. Natural soaps delicately placed in a towel lined wire basket gives that crisp clean feeling. Adding a little thank you sign is a nice touch.

71. Geometric Vibes

Source:  By Julieta

If your wedding décor goal is clean, simple and modern then delicate succulent geometric terrarium centerpieces paired with plexiglass table numbers are ideal for a your reception tables – think transparency, geometric shapes and airy plants! These will also be great wedding favors for guests to take home at the end of the night.

72. Pet Face Cutouts

Source: Concept Photography

Pretend your furry friends are dancing right there with you by distributing cutouts of their picture-perfect faces on the dance floor. Everyone will surely get a kick out of the idea and participate in the fun.

73. Local Artisanal Wedding Favors

Source:  Lindsey Hahn Photography

Having a location wedding? Research what artisanal products the region is known for and consider for your wedding favors. It can be vegetable soap in relaxing scents like lavender and verbena or locally produced honey or olive oil. Makes the perfect wedding favor with personalized packaging!

74. Cigar Station

Source: Eric Boneske Photography

Treat your guests to freshly rolled cigars by arranging a cigar smoking lounge to be set up at the reception venue. Select an outdoor area with comfortable seating. Guests will surely appreciate this very special wedding favor.

75. Monogrammed Coasters

Source: Shutterfly

Personalized glass coasters can be a delicate addition to the table dressing. Consider packaging in sets of four with a beautiful ribbon bow. A practical yet elegant party favor your guests could enjoy at home after the wedding.

76. Herb Plant Wedding Favors

Source: Shutterfly

Give your guests the gift that will keep on giving. Plant some rosemary, mint and basil in personalized mason jars for a lovely take home gift everyone will appreciate.

77. Fun Memory Game

Source: Shutterfly

Provide even more amusement and entertainment with a memory game everyone will love to play. Customize with pictures of your bridesmaids and groomsmen – a fun way to include the bridal party into the reception activities!

78. Monogrammed Flower Pot

Source: Shutterfly

Monogrammed planters are great for wedding reception décor and as party favors. Customize with initials, your new family name or a special message. Plant a colorful bloom or your favorite houseplant – a gift every guest will cherish!

DANCING

79. A Fun Surprise

Source:  Mary Fields Photography

Surprise your new spouse and guests with a choreographed dance! Recruit your bridal party, pick a catchy tune, hold secret practice session, bring props, dazzle and dance your heart away!

80. Just Dance

Source: Chelsea Brown Photography

Music selection will be a very important part of the celebration. Aside from the very important first dance song, make sure that you provide a list of music you most want to dance to – if you are having a good time on the dance floor then everyone will follow!

81. Perfect First Dance

Source: Kelly Dillon Photography

The newlywed first dance is an important and special moment that kicks off the dancing. Plan on starting with a sentimental song and finishing up by showing off your dance moves. This will get everyone riled up and ready to join you on the dance floor!

82. Dancing Royalty

Source:  Antonio Rocha

If you love dancing then give some thought to making sure you will dance as long as your heart desires. Think of your wedding attire, how easy is it for you to move around? Plan to wear comfortable shoes or just bring some to change into. Don’t let anything stand in the way of your wedding fun!

83. Celebrate Culture

Source: MeewMeew Studios

Inject a dose of your culture into the celebration. Planning a dance show for your guests can be fun to plan and even more fun to perform!

Whatever details you chose for your wedding reception make sure that it reflects your style and aesthetic as a couple. Remember that reception ideas for big weddings can also be dialed down for a smaller gatherings. You can chose to hire help or decide to do-it-yourself, but the important thing to keep in mind is that the planning process should be easy and enjoyable. Consider having wedding photo books made to give to special family members and bridal party as a special memento of your joyous day.