Traditional weddings and wedding receptions are perfect for many couples. They offer the legacy of tradition that makes the day so special. They offer the opportunity for family and friends to share in the day in a familiar course of events and allows everyone to enjoy the day without having to think too much.

That’s great if you love tradition. But what if you don’t? What if you like to mix it up a bit? What if you want to throw a surprise or two, or go completely your own way? That’s where we come in. We have put together some creative ideas you can use for that perfect wedding reception with a difference!

Outside Lounge

Depending on the time of year, why not offer an outside lounge for people to relax in during the reception? Lay some carpet, get a few armchairs and bring a lounge from the inside to the outside.

It’s a great place for older guests to relax while the youth are dancing. It’s also a great place for a little quiet while family members who haven’t seen each other for years catch up on events.

Offer Wedding Childcare

Children are a fact of family life and will appear at most weddings. While the majority of them are well behaved and can be quiet when you need them to, others do not. If you know you have troublesome toddlers coming, why not arrange childcare for them at the venue?

That way parents and guests can relax, have a drink and not worry about what’s being said in front of young ears, not worry about tripping over small children when mingling and the kids don’t feel like they are being left out. It’s a win-win!

Rogues Gallery

Instead of cards with names on for a sit-down dinner, why not collect a childhood photograph of the guest and use that instead? Or create a “memory lane” from the entrance to the reception venue to the main room. It offers a bit of fun and plenty of fodder for conversation once guests sit down.

Entertainment with a Difference

Traditionally, engagement party guests will also be your wedding guests. Try not to invite anyone you won’t be sending wedding invitations to. It creates expectation and can cause problems you don’t need. It’s much better to invite someone to your wedding and not the engagement party than the other way round!

Other than that one caveat there are no hard and fast rules about the guest list. Just invite your family, friends and anyone else you want to share the good news with.

Dessert Buffet

A dessert buffet is a simple but very effective way of adding a little originality to a wedding reception. Things like a cupcake station, chocolate fondue station, mini puddings and even milkshakes make for a great, light hearted way to enjoy a reception.

Kids and the young at heart especially like this kind of arrangement. You can even colour coordinate the desserts to match your theme!

Cocktail Bar

How about having as fully stocked cocktail bar with staff who can mix great drinks? It’s a great entertainment that also ends with a great drink at the end. Cocktails are quickly becoming the trendy choice for wedding receptions and this is a neat twist on the theme.

Wine Tasting Session

Do you know your Pinot Grigio from your Pinot Noir? How about having a wine tasting session as part of your wedding reception? Hosting a tasting during cocktail hour gives those who don’t care for cocktails a cultured choice.

Feature popular wines from your area, or local specialities and learn something at the same time.

Personalised Guest Book

A great idea from across the pond is a white or blackboard with markers or chalk that act as a guest book. Guests write a message on the board, stand in front of it and have their photograph taken with their message. These images are then collected and put into a guest book.

It’s original, interesting and lets people have a little fun with what is often a serious part of a wedding reception.

Campfire Reception

If you’re getting married in the summer, why not have a campfire section for your reception? You can serve BBQ, have a fire, acoustic guitars, coffee station, hot toddies, (clean) logs for seating and so on. You would need to offer comfortable seating for older guests, but rocking chairs offer that while remaining in context.

As long as your venue allows it, a campfire reception as part of the evening is a great way to get that festival feeling and gets people to relax and talk.

Those are just some creative ideas for that perfect wedding reception. There is bound to be something here that’s simply perfect for your big day. While weddings and wedding receptions should have a bit of gravitas and tradition behind them, it doesn’t mean they have to be predictable and toe the line all the time!

With some of these ideas, you have plenty of food for thought and plenty of opportunity to express yourself too!