Stand-Out Receptions for Outstanding Couples

What are some adjectives that describe you and your future spouse? Spunky, funky, classic, quirky? If the wedding ceremony is possibly a reflection of you and your significant other’s religious or familiar traditions and backgrounds, then your reception should be a reflection of who you are as a couple! Keep in mind that many people who are attending your reception will only know one of you well, and might not know you and your future spouse as a couple. This is especially true for friends and family who live out of state. Remember, this is a celebration of the two of you as a couple! Here are a few ways to make your reception as unique as the love the two of you share.

1. Setting the Scene
The overall décor of the reception lends a unique vibe that is a reflection of you two as a couple, as a unit. And keep in mind, that unique decorations do not have to mean expensive decorations; in fact, handcrafting your own décor can be inexpensive, and it gives a personal touch to the evening. Instead of having elaborate and expensive flower arrangements on each table, opt for a few classically placed buds, surrounded by antique jewelry, handkerchiefs, and beautifully framed family photos from past weddings. Having centerpieces that are composed of family mementos give the guests a peek into your background, and will honor the family members present at the reception. Plus, who doesn’t love to see vintage wedding photographs?
Involve your guests by having bowls, pieces of colored paper, and a few pens sporadically placed around the venue; print out instructions that ask them to write down their favorite date ideas, or any advice they might have for you and your spouse as you begin this new and exciting chapter. Later on, you can always add a page of “love advice” to your guest book, adding another special memento for you and your spouse.
On the gift table, make a table runner that doubles as a timeline of your relationship. When did the two of you meet? First date? First time meeting the parents? Have photographs of you as a couple accompany the timeline, allowing guests to read and see your unique love story. Have a video of your engagement? Videos of the engagement, birthday and holiday parties of you as a couple, and even childhood videos, act as an entertaining and tender buffer while the guests wait for your arrival. You could even videotape your family and friends telling funny, romantic, or touching stories about the two of you as a couple—as long as they’re reception appropriate, wink.

2. Make An Entrance
This is your grand entrance as a married couple! How you make this entrance can say a lot about who you are as a duo. If you want something classy and subdued, have your guests clink their glasses or give a toast in your honor, or if you’re religious, have a family member lead everyone in a prayer. Want something fun and spunky? Choreograph a dance! You can have it be a surprise dance that is just between you and your spouse, or a funky flash mob with your wedding party. Another option is posting a few simple moves on a private YouTube channel that you can then share with your family and friends, so they can decide if they want to join in on the groovy moves. The architecture of the venue is also important; look for staircases, balconies, and back entrances that can help make your entrance dramatic and noteworthy!

3. Make An Exit (Sort of)
I have been to several weddings where the reception went so long that by the time the grand exit came around only a handful of people were present to send off the bride and groom. A fake exit—leaving the reception after a decent amount of mingling and dancing, only to return back to the party after circling the blocks a few times—is a clever and accommodating fix to this dilemma, as it gives the older guests the chance to send you off and still get home at a reasonable hour, while allowing the two of you to party the night away with the guests that choose to stay later. But just because you have a fake exit doesn’t mean that you can’t go out in style! Get creative with how you are sent-off as a newly married couple. Did you meet in college? Maybe there is a college chant that everyone can participate in before you leave. Sparklers add a magical touch, as do flower petals. Have guests write words of positivity and love on pieces of paper that they can then toss to you and your loved one. Choosing how you exit can also be a fun and creative process. A white horse-drawn carriage is romantic, or maybe a motorcycle or a vintage pickup truck is more your style. I went to a reception where the bride and groom rode off in a vintage fire-truck, ringing the bell the whole way out. It was adorable and feisty, just like the couple.

The most memorable and enjoyable receptions are the ones that really reflect the personality of the couple. It is, after all, a celebration of your union and the unique love you share. Filling the reception with memories, jokes, stories, and photographs will give the guests a peak into who are you are a duo, and will enhance your evening with your spouse—dancing the night away in a celebration that is a visual representation of your love.

Alexandra Wright

Alexandra Wright

Associate Contributor at
Alexandra Wright hails from Mississippi and Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. After graduating with her BA in theater, Alexandra attended Harvard University to receive her MFA in acting. She has lived and performed in London, Paris, and Moscow, but currently resides in Los Angeles where she coaches actors, acts, and writes for the online arts magazine, Bleep.
Alexandra Wright
Alexandra Wright
Alexandra Wright

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