Weddings these days have transitioned from an all about me mentality to all about you.
There was a time when couples-to-be gave the time and place and guests showed up—how they did that (and how they got home) was up to them. If you didn’t like what was on the menu, you didn’t eat. If you got bored halfway through toasts, you downed your glass of wine and sat it out.
But things are different now. (Much to the happiness of this Raleigh wedding planner!) Brides and grooms think more of their guests and how they will be entertained from the moment they walk in the door to when they stumble out again.
And I love it.
There are so many fun ways to get your guests involved in your special day! And why not? After all, they did travel all that way to spend their precious time celebrating with you. Of course, some people go overboard, but there’s nothing wrong with making a wedding a party for everyone who comes from start to finish, and there are a lot of low-maintenance ways to do that. Here are a few:
- Lawn games
Especially if you’re having an outdoor wedding, lawn games are a great way to get people up and active during that awkward phase between ceremony and reception while you’re off taking pictures with your honey. Beanbag toss—or corn hole, as we call it down here in the South—is a classic, but you can also have hula-hoops, Frisbees, horseshoes or Bocce Ball. Feeling creative? Spray paint a giant Twister board or make a life-size Jenga or chess set.
- Board games
Not everyone wants to show off athletic prowess in lawn games or bust a move on the dance floor. Have a table set aside for your more low-key, introverted guests who may have more fun breaking out Cards Against Humanity or Stratego.
- Kids’ activities
A major way to keep guests happy is to help them entertain their young hooligans. Lawn games go a long way—especially with the more rambunctious toddlers in their running phase—but also consider creating a kids activity packet to put at their tables. You can find some great printables online (www.mockeri.com/free-printable-wedding-activity-book or www.unitedwithlove.com/2014/04/02/free-printable-wedding-kids-activity-book/# are just two you can use as links) and tweak them to fit your special needs. Add in a pack of crayons and they’re good to go!
- I Spy
I absolutely love the I Spy photo cards! Make a list of shots you want your guests to capture during the event—anything from the couple kissing to someone making a funny face—and put it on each of the tables. Add an Instagram hashtag or an email address for people to send you the shots after the wedding. More of a hold-it-in-your-hand-type person? Get disposable cameras and put those at the seats, as well! You can buy in bulk on Amazon.
- Interactive guest book
It’s pretty trendy nowadays to have a guest book that goes beyond the literal—writing names in a journal—to the more creative. I’ve seen large photos for guests to sign the matting. I’ve seen photo books prompting notes and comments. But why not take it a step further? I love the photo booth or Polaroid guest books, the wedding quilt where each guest contributes a square, asking friends and family to put a piece of themselves in the couple’s keepsake. Other brides and grooms ask their guests to give them recipe, marriage advice or a note to open on a certain anniversary. These can be used as a guest book or just another fun wedding activity.
There are many ways to get guests involved—from grand exits to group dances to potluck desserts—that make the day just as memorable for your friends and family as it is for you. Creating that interactive element lets each person contribute in a personal way to the wedding!