It can be tricky to figure out wedding reception entertainment ideas for your special day. You want to keep guests entertained, but you also don’t want to have to spend an arm and a leg to do it! Plus, now we have to worry about keeping everything safe and COVID friendly.
28 Wedding Reception Entertainment Ideas
Here are 28 wedding reception entertainment ideas. These range in style, budget, and COVID-safeness. We are also marking the ones that are especially COVID friendly! Keep in mind that, even if it’s not marked COVID friendly, most of these options can be altered to be safe during COVID times.
* = Especially COVID friendly
1. Balloon drop
Although this one won’t necessarily be COVID friendly, if you’re having a dance floor, then you can consider timing a balloon drop! It’s a fun way to get more people on the dance floor and to get everyone more pumped up.
2. Special dances*
The first dance and the parent dances are typically some of the highlights of a wedding. Plus, they’re still super COVID friendly! Guests don’t have to join you on the dance floor — they can watch along right from their seats.
3. Custom puzzles*
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
A fun entertainment idea that doubles as decor for your wedding is custom puzzles! Instead of displaying photos of you as a couple, have a custom puzzle at each table. Each one can be a different picture of you as a couple throughout the years. This gives guests something fun to do while sitting at their tables!
4. Toasts and speeches*
Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash
Again, toasts and speeches are typically some of the highlights of a wedding. Traditionally, the father of the bride, maid of honor, and best man all give a toast or speech. And, of course, the bride and groom typically give a thank-you speech to the guests!
If you’re not having a dance floor due to COVID, you can add even more speeches/toasts to your wedding day. Be careful not to go overboard — too many speeches may start to get boring for guests. But they can be a great time filler!
5. DIY dessert stations
Using food is always an excellent way to create more entertainment for your wedding. If you are big fans of dessert, then you can utilize mini DIY dessert stations for your reception! This technically isn’t COVID friendly, but you could certainly make it COVID friendly by having your catering staff serve the desserts.
These dessert stations could include a s’mores bar, a candy bar, or an ice cream sundae bar. The possibilities are endless!
6. Mini music zones*
Mini music zones are an excellent way to ensure social distancing at your reception while still providing guests the chance to listen to music or dance! This will only work if you have a large venue space. The DJ would set up separate music areas throughout the venue.
Each music zone would have a different style of music playing, with a themed area that fits the music. For example, an EDM music zone would likely have a dance floor. A jazz music zone could have a coffee bar with a lounge area.
7. Caricature artist*
Having a caricature artist gives you the opportunity to roll entertainment and a wedding favor into one. Plus, if you have the artist come to each table separately, then this is super COVID-friendly!
8. Stand-up comedian*
Hiring a stand-up comedian is an excellent way to entertain your guests, especially if you’re skipping the music/dancing due to COVID. It will be sure to get a good laugh out of your guests. This is perfect if you’re known as the funny couple!
9. Hay or sleigh ride
Photo by Ian Stauffer on Unsplash
Having more of a rustic or winter wedding? Why not treat your guests to a hay ride or sleigh ride?! This is a perfect way to end the night for everyone, and is a perfect time-filler to replace dancing/music. We didn’t mark this one as especially COVID-friendly, since everyone would be sharing the same vehicle, but it is certainly more COVID-friendly than a crowded dance floor.
10. Videos from guests*
Will you have guests who are unable to join your wedding in-person? Have one of your wedding party members speak to those guests and have them create a short video to send to you!
Then, ask your videographer if they can compile all of the videos together for you to watch during the reception. It doubles as a sweet message from guests who can’t be there, and some entertainment for your guests who are there!
11. Hire professional dancers
If you’re looking to really wow your guests, hire a dance troupe to perform during your reception!
12. Create a photo montage*
Photo montages are typically more popular during rehearsal dinners, but they can certainly be shown during a wedding reception, too! Especially if you’re having a micro-wedding.
This will be a slideshow of photos from you and your partner from childhood to now. It is typically accompanied with some music. Guests usually love these, and they tend to be a real tear-jerker!
13. Hire an artisan
A more unique option for wedding reception entertainment ideas is to hire an artisan. This could be a cigar roller, a chocolatier, or a coffee barista. Typically, they’ll have their own table or small station that guests can visit throughout the night.
14. Live event artist*
Live event artists are always a hit at wedding receptions! A live event artist paints a scene from your wedding throughout the night. This might be of your ceremony or reception. Either way, they typically stay and paint it throughout the night!
This is a great entertainment piece for guests, plus you get to take a gorgeous piece of memorabilia home with you!
15. Food truck*
Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash
Food trucks are always a huge hit at weddings. Whether you have late night pizza, an ice cream truck, or tacos, guests will absolutely love them. They are also a great way to social distance and get more people outside!
16. Hire a magician
Magicians don’t have to be for kids parties! There are plenty of magicians and illusionists that specialize in adult events.
17. Arcade games
Are you and your future spouse really into arcade games? Did you know that you can rent them?! This is definitely something to look into.
18. Photo booth
Photo booths have become increasingly popular at wedding receptions over the last decade. And there are so many different options now, too!
While a traditional photo booth may not be the best option during COVID, there are so many different options that will keep your guests able to social distance. There are 360-degree photobooths with a live photographer. There are also open-air photobooths that use a green screen, so you don’t have to share photo props with everyone at the wedding!
19. Plan a parade
Do you have two different ceremony and reception locations? Are they within walking distance of each other? Why not plan a New Orleans style parade to get to your reception?!
20. Table games*
Table games are an excellent way to replace dancing. Or, even if you’re having a dance floor, they can be a good option for guests who would rather stay seated and skip the dancing.
If you’re really trying to make this super COVID-friendly, then you’ll need to make sure that you have a different game at each table. Heck, even a deck of cards would suffice!
21. Art backdrops*
Why not install custom, colorful art pieces throughout your reception piece? Not only will this liven up your reception piece, but they will be a great talking point for your guests!
22. Play the shoe game*
Have you ever heard of the shoe game? The newly married couple sits back to back on chairs, typically on the dance floor space. Both take off their shoes, and each person will hold one of their own and one of their partner’s. Then, your DJ or emcee will call out questions about which partner is more likely to do something. Each person will then hold the shoe up in the air of the person who is more likely to do that!
Some examples of questions are:
- Who is the better cook?
- Which one take longer to get ready in the mornings?
- Who said ‘I love you’ first?
- Who’s the better driver?
23. Give out party gear
If you’re able to have a wedding where guests are dancing all night long, hand out some party gear to get guests more hyped up! This could include glow sticks, funny props such as big sunglasses or hats, beads, leis, and more.
24. Drink tastings*
Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash
If you and your future spouse are big wine drinkers, whiskey drinkers, or beer enthusiasts, then there are plenty of ways that you can incorporate these into your wedding day. You can offer tastings of flights of either wine, whiskey, or beer to your guests! And to make this super COVID friendly, they can be delivered directly to your guests seats.
To make this even more entertaining, you can include printouts with the flights giving descriptions of each drink. Or, you can even hire a sommelier or whiskey/beer expert to give guests descriptions of everything in-person!
25. Plan a choreographed dance
If you have the extra time, and you’re big dancers, then you can plan a choreographed dance with your wedding party to perform for your guests during the reception! This could even be somewhat COVID friendly. Even if you aren’t having a dance floor, this is something that your wedding party could still do as a “show” for your guests.
26. Silent music*
Have you ever heard of a silent disco? Some bars do this, and it’s becoming more popular during these COVID times! Basically, everyone wears headphones and listens to their own music that they can dance to. This will let you create multiple mini dance locations throughout your venue, because you don’t have to worry about a DJ being in too many spaces.
27. Have a flower table
This is something that you can talk to your florist about doing. Have a table where your guests can come and get various personal flowers, such as flower crowns, boutonnieres, corsages, or flower hair combs. These can double as your wedding favors, too!
Photo by Vernon Raineil Cenzon on Unsplash
Fireworks will be a spectacular way to end your wedding reception night! Of course, you’ll have to take a look at your state and local guidelines. This is also a pricey entertainment option, but will definitely wow your guests!
We hope that you enjoyed this list of 28 wedding reception entertainment ideas! Hopefully, you’ve finished reading with at least one that you want to incorporate into your wedding.
If you’re looking for more wedding reception entertainment ideas that are more catered to your personality as a couple and your wedding vision, contact us here! We’d love to help.
Featured Image Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash