One my biggest fears when planning my wedding was that my guests would leave the reception early because they weren’t having fun. When Jamie and I talked about why we wanted to get married, it always came back to throwing a blowout party to celebrate our love with those we love. After the reception, as we sat around the lakeside campfire chuckling with family and friends at 3 a.m., we knew our wedding had been a success.
To ensure your wedding guests have a great time, pay careful attention to these two elements so that they don’t dine and dash:
Encourage Guests to Get Friendly
This is especially important if you have many guests coming from out of town or several friends and coworkers who are meeting your families for the first time. The best way to ensure everyone has a good time is to get them talking and mingling.
A slideshow during dinner gets guests laughing and telling stories. Our Story, complete with adorable baby photos, nostalgic senior prom portraits and wedding cake tasting snapshots, generated tons of laughs and a few tears.
Table games, such as trivia about the couple, advice books and candid cameras are great icebreakers. Lighthearted kissing games for the newlyweds or guests can also fill the room with laughter all night long.
A Good DJ or Band
When creating your must play music list, think about the songs that mean something to your family and friends. Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” never fails to draw my girlfriends to the dance floor while my entire Cajun family, including my 80-year-old great-grandmother, put on their boogie-woogie shoes for “Louisiana Saturday Night.” Other cultural dances, such as the Jewish Hora or the traditional father-daughter dance, are great ways to get guests dancing.
While it may be tempting to save a few hundred dollars by hiring inexperienced entertainment, a DJ or band who regularly plays weddings will know how to keep things moving along. One of my favorite memories is when our DJ unexpectedly made the best man become my chair for the garter toss. The look on Joe’s face was priceless!