So you have a beautiful ceremony planned, and you’re sure the music you’ve chosen and the vows you’ve written will have all of your guests in tears. But now it’s time to think about the reception, aka the best party ever. Your guests have sat on a rickety folding chair or a hard church bench for a couple of hours; now let them cut loose and have fun! Of course you’ll have music and dancing, but there many ways to boost your reception to the next level. Here are five, in ascending budget order:
Glow Sticks, Necklaces, and Bracelets
- Cost: $15 per 100 pieces
Nothing spiffs up a dance floor like dancers outfitted with glowing necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc. You can find bulk boxes of glow stuff online, with 100 glowing strands and connectors for around $15. Lay them out on a table and let your guests craft their own glowing accessories, turn down the lights, and watch your dance floor turn into a rave. For extra ambience, add some LED balloons around the periphery.
- Cost: $30-100
Why should kids at birthday parties have all the fun? Let the grown-ups at your reception feel like kids again as they beat the stuffing out of a wedding-themed piñata. For extra fun, have a kids’ piñata full of candy and toys, and an adult piñata with individually-packed cocktails and (PLASTIC!) airline bottles of booze. Don’t forget the blindfolds, and don’t forget to keep the other revelers at a safe distance!
- Cost: $200-500 (rental)
Speaking of not letting kids at birthday parties have all the fun: if you’ve got the space at your reception venue, a bounce castle can be big fun for kids and grown-ups alike (though you’ll probably want to take turns). You can also get some amazing pictures of people in formal wear acting like overgrown kids. A quick Google search will show the companies in your area that rent inflatables, and you may be inspired to go beyond the classic bounce house: many now rent inflatable obstacle courses, sumo suits, and slides. Never underestimate the potent combination of alcohol, formal wear, and inflatable mayhem to create a memorable evening.
- Cost: $1000-3000
Most wedding receptions have a table full of snacks for that mid-dance-a-thon slump. You know, bowls of peanuts, popcorn, chips and dip, that sort of thing. But your reception is going to take it to the next level. Imagine hitting the P.A. system at your wedding to say, “ladies and gentlemen, the food truck has arrived outside!” Just stick to foods that people in formal wear can eat standing up–think tacos, burritos, things on-a-stick–and a food truck will be a solid hit. Websites like roaminghunger.com can help find the just-right vendor, or you can contact your favorite food truck provider directly and ask about catering the event.
- Cost: $1500 and up (rental)
It may be a budget-breaker, but you can’t top a 25-foot Ferris wheel for the wow factor. You’ll capture some truly memorable moments with pictures and video of you and your guests riding up and around, especially as it gets dark outside and the whole thing lights up. Expect to pay a delivery fee plus a rental fee, and bonus points for providing cotton candy for your guests to munch as they ride back into their childhoods on the Ferris wheel.
In the age of the Internet, if you can imagine bringing it to your reception, odds are someone can provide it if the price is right. This list is a great jumping-off point, but indulge your imagination and see what else you can think of. Casino games? An arcade? Bumper boats? After all, once the wedding is done, you’ve earned a truly epic party.