When I was planning my own wedding, I never looked up tips for throwing a fun wedding because I had already been to 8 million ceremonies. Since I got married towards the end of my friends, I had cataloged every wild idea, from glow sticks on the dance floor to cultural dances to keg stands at the reception, and determined what made the best party. To this day, my husband and I received compliments from both males and females on how good a time they had. So, I’ve decided to share what I learned with you.
Tips for Throwing a Fun Wedding
Avoiding a Bad Wedding
With all the weddings I’ve attended, I’ve obviously been to a few stinkers. Learning from those was just as important as learning from the good ones. So, let’s start with a little story about the dullest wedding I can think of. The ceremony was fine. It was at a golf course, so we moved from one room to the other. Then… ugg.
My friend and I got stuck at a table with teenagers as there were no seating assignments. Cash bar. The DJ made people do karaoke on the spot. Dancing took so long to get started we left after one song. Yawn. I flew a loooong way to attend that wedding, and I’m very glad I had other stuff to do while I was there. Luckily, I learned a few lessons, and let’s talk about those.
Seating Charts are Good
After that wedding, I have always advocated for seating charts. I truly think not having to worry about who to sit with can make a difference in guests’ comfort. Putting people with their friends/family is good, and it’s especially nice for guests who come alone. If you like the idea of making people meet each other over dinner, you do you, but if you know your friends are a bunch of introverts, don’t force them.
Despite my love of seating charts, I actually didn’t have one. People kept cancelling at the last minute and I had to scratch it. It worked out okay, but all my coworkers wound up crowding together at one table and leaving another table almost empty. If that would bother you, assign seating, and if a seating chart is too much trouble, you need to be okay with them moving chairs. Seriously, make people comfortable if you want them to have fun.
A Note on Alcohol
I thought it’d be silly not to include alcohol in my tips for throwing a fun wedding, but not to advocate for it. If you wouldn’t normally drink, why would you add alcohol to your wedding? Seems weird to me. That being said, if you do drink, alcohol does seem to make weddings more fun, doesn’t it?
That being said, nothing bums people out more than thinking they’re getting free booze and then not getting it. Well, maybe thinking they’re getting free money and not getting that. Anyway, if you’re going to skip the booze or charge for it, perhaps let the guests know in advance. That way they’re not grumpy right from the start.
Help Your Wedding Guests Have Fun
1. Skip the Photobooth
Say what?! But Beth! All the internet includes having a photo booth in their tips for throwing a fun wedding! Well, I’m here to burst your bubble, friends, and let’s get it out of the way. A photo booth IS fun – for the three minutes you’re in it. The rest of the time you’re either in line or waiting on everyone else to finish up.
Still want to do a photobooth? Okay, that’s fine. One of my favorite weddings (the glow stick one) had a photo booth, but it was only open while the photographer was taking the wedding pictures. I promise you, the bride and groom do not need to take photo booth pictures with every single guest. Everyone will have a much better time if they have something to do while the photography is going on anyway. Speaking of…
2. Add Cocktail Hour Activities
Go ahead and schedule your photo booth here, should you choose to have one. The point is to keep the people not involved in your pictures entertained. I provided Mad Libs and shuffle board, but even just offering a snack or an actual cocktail can be sufficient if you’ve invited people who mostly know each other. It’s especially easy to entertain if you get married someplace where guests can wander, so a place with a view is nice.
You likely won’t have time to do any of these activities yourself, but it’s still nice to think of them. Here’s a good list of wedding reception games that you can lead your guests too while you’re getting your photos done.
3. Enjoy a Cliche
This is actually one of the most important tips for throwing a fun wedding. You’ve all seen the ridiculous videos of brides and grooms or wedding parties or father daughters or whatever doing choreographed dances. You haven’t seen mine, but guess what? We did one. It does not have to be videotaped, friends. The important thing here isn’t really who does the dance, but the timing. If you want people to WANT to dance, which is really the hallmark of a fun wedding, you do a dance like that last, and then invite everyone to join you. It honestly works.
Not interested in choreography? That’s fine, but I would suggest going with the Cha Cha Slide or Cupid Shuffle or the Wobble, or whatever. I know some people strike these off their lists, but don’t. You know why? EVERYONE can dance to these songs. It makes them feel included, and it gets them into it. If you haven’t seen a granny get on the dance floor to try out a line dance, you haven’t been to a fun wedding.
4. Gather the Best Bridal Party
It might be too late if you’re looking up tips for throwing a fun wedding, but if not, think about this. I know you want to invite your boring sister and your’s husband’s lame cousin to be in the bridal party, and that’s fine. But you should also choose people who are willing to woo, dance, and in general be ridiculous. Wedding guests would love to follow the bride and grooms’ lead, but they’re often busy, so let them follow your wild best friends instead.
Truly, this is so underrated. I’ve been to weddings where the bridesmaids and groomsmen were nowhere to be found. I’ve also been to ones where the bridal party literally cheered on everyone and everything. Were they drunk? Probably, but it was still super fun. If possible, get everyone together beforehand if they don’t already know each other. This will make them less likely to feel shy at the event.
5. Don’t Stress (AKA, no Bridezillas!)
Guess what? If you’re not having fun, no one else is. I know, I know, you want everything to be perfect and you want to be in control. Too bad. You must release the details to someone else and focus on your new partner for the ceremony, and then sit back and enjoy the reception, preferably still with your newly wedding partner. Yes, everyone will want to talk to you, and you will be so busy you might not eat. Have fun anyway.
When it comes time to hit dance floor, you should be the first person out there. Involve everyone with your cultural dances if you have any. Basically, my tips for throwing a fun wedding all lead to one thing – dancing. If you are comfortable and you make everyone else comfortable, in the end it will feel like a great party, and sometimes that’s all you need.