If you’re planning a wedding, there’s a good chance you’ve also attended your fair share of weddings as a guest and you’ve seen many different wedding receptions.

I think I speak for everyone when I say that a traditional wedding ceremony leading to a traditional wedding reception may get a little… boring for your guests.

Adding in some out-of-the-box elements for your guests to take part in can help to liven things up a bit.

Here’s a list of our favorite 14 wedding reception ideas you’ve probably never seen at another wedding!

Wedding Reception Ideas for a Memorable Guest Experience

1 – Double Up on the Music

Give your wedding reception an unparalleled environment by hiring a DJ AND a band that work hand in hand.

Original music by the DJ + percussion music by the band. This gives your guests the feel of listening to live music, even its a top 20 Pop hit.

Wedding guests dancing to wedding band and DJ at a wedding reception
Photo by Pedraza Producciones Via Mi Boda En Cartagena

2 – Have a Pittsburgh Cookie Table

Pittsburgh is a city full of tradition and this is one of its most delicious!
A good cookie table is filled with tables upon tables of sweets made traditionally by family members of the bride and groom. This used to be a way that immigrants and blue-collar families could keep the cost low and spread it out among lots of people.

Also, by bringing old-world cookies to weddings, the tradition was also a way for immigrants to honor their heritage in their new country.

In modern days, these are often prepared by multiple bakeries around town.

The cookie table isn’t just about cookies anymore either.

The cookie table’s presentation is top notch and with goodie bags at the end of the table, your guests will be snacking on sweets for days!

You can read more about Pittsburgh Cookie Tables here.

3 – Dessert Buffet

Many couples now create a full-blown dessert buffet line, think cupcakes, ice cream, cookies, the works!

This gives your guests the chance to get more engaged in your wedding reception than just waiting for a drink at the bar or getting passed a slice of cake.

Plus, for those none cake eaters out there, there’s something for everyone!

Dessert buffet at a wedding reception
Via giantinvitations.com.au

4 – Wine Tasting Area

Oooh! You classy!

You could do this instead of or alongside a cocktail hour.

If you’re feeling really fancy, you could even hire a sommelier to give out information about each wine while you’re off taking pictures or just grabbing a bite to eat.

Also, if you choose to use a wine tasting area instead of a traditional bar, it may cost less than the original.

5 – Rent Out a Local Food Truck

If your wedding reception is outside, how about renting out time with a local food truck?

Guests won’t have to pay but are given a prepaid ticket to give to the vendor.

Not only is this a wow-factor for guests, but it also serves as instant advertising for the vendor.

This is also a great idea if you’re thinking of providing a “late night snack” for your guests.

Bride and groom eating from a food truck at a wedding reception
Photo by Erika Overholt Photography via Luxe Mountain Weddings

6 – Hire Dance Instructors

Most instructors are only hired to prepare the bride and groom for their first dance, but why not let your guests in on all the fun on the dance floor afterward?

You could even put a flare into the dance based on you and your partner’s nationalities – Irish step dancing, Cuban salsa, South Carolinian Shag, etc.

Couple taking dance lessons for their wedding reception
Via Dance Classes Houston

7 – Hand Out a Book of Your Favorite Love Poems and Quotes

Choose your favorite love poems and quotes and compile them for your guests at your wedding reception.

You can hand them out to guests during the reception as a great reminder of what your big day is all about, Love!

It’s a favor that won’t immediately get thrown in the trash and will always remind them of your special day.

Book of love poems
Via Hampers With Bite

8 – Let Them Eat…the Place Cards?!?

If you’re a bride or groom choosing to stick to a seating chart, why not make it a little bit more fun for the guests by making the place cards at your wedding reception edible?

Using edible markers or writing in chocolate on treats such as French macarons, cookies, or chocolate-covered strawberries can make your guests’ walk to their seat a little bit sweeter.

9 – Go a Little More “Untraditional” With Your Entertainment.

Adding fun elements like a palm reader, hypnotist, magician or caricaturist to your wedding reception can be a fun way to keep guests engaged the entire night, especially if they’re not big on dancing.

Close up magician performing a card trick at a wedding reception
Via Joseph Tran

10 – End of Reception Karaoke

End your reception with some fun karaoke prior to making your grand exit.

It’ll make for some awesome memories – as well as some awesome blackmail videos to talk about later.

11 – Bride/Groom Trivia Cards

Have Bride/Groom trivia cards set up at the dining tables of your wedding reception, for guests to play with during the meal.

This is a great time filler for cocktail hour while you and your new hubby are still taking photos.

12 – Bring the Casino to Your Guests

Turn your wedding reception into a night in Vegas!

Provide a few different games (Roulette, BlackJack, Craps, Poker, etc.) for your guests to indulge in.

You’d be surprised how many for-hire options there are out there for these types of entertainment.

Blackjack casino table at a wedding reception with wedding guests
Via Fun Casino Fun

13 – Host a Bonfire!

If your wedding is outside (and the venue allows it), usher guests outside for s’mores by a roaring fire instead of cake.

It’s a calm, relaxing way to end the night if your guests are tired from dancing.

14 – “Send-off” Something Other Than Yourselves.

Light and send-off (biodegradable) lanterns in honor of your loved ones who couldn’t make it, or release as many butterflies as years you and your partner have been together.

It adds a nice sentimental touch without completely breaking the bank.

Whether you go traditional or not, keep in mind that your wedding day should be about you and your partner.


The wedding reception is what will keep your guests talking about your wedding for years to come!

What are some other amazingly memorable unique wedding reception ideas have you experienced?

Let us know in the comments below!