Is your wedding ceremony going to be quick and to the point or an hour-plus affair? Either way, your patient guests deserve to have a little fun at your reception. Get the party started by incorporating one or more of these simple, super-fun games that will encourage your guests to mix, mingle and have a blast.
Sketch-a-Guest: Write each of your guest's names at the top of a 5" x 5" square of paper. Give each guest a pen or pencil and one of the pieces of paper. They must then circulate throughout the reception hall to find the person whose name is on their paper. Once they've found their guest, they should create a sketch of him or her. Collect the sketches, and then include them in the guest book as wedding day mementos.
Funny Photos: Not only will your guests enjoy this activity, but you can also give them a photo as a wedding favor and put another in your wedding photo album. Set up a photo station (We LOVE Paparazzi Tonight for Portland, Oregon couples) or find some blank wall space and enlist the help of a friend with a Polaroid camera. Collect tons of dress-up props such as feather boas, Mardi gras masks, funny eyeglasses, fake moustaches and beards, bow ties, wacky hats, tiaras and the like. Encourage your guests to visit the station, dress up in the props and have their photos taken.
Guess Who: This popular cocktail party icebreaker game is also perfect for wedding receptions. Just write down the names of famous people (actors, authors, figures from history, etc.) on note cards or note card-sized paper pieces and tape one to the back of each guest as they enter the reception hall. Encourage them to circulate amongst one another, asking questions (of the yes/no variety only) until they discover whose name is on their back. You can even let the children participate; just make sure to give them people or characters they will actually know.
Photo Scavenger Hunt: Prior to your reception, create a list of photos your guests will need to scavenge. Some suggestions include a family photo, a graduation photo, a photo of a cat, a photo of a dog, a baby, the bride and groom, etc. Place a list on each table. Once your guests are seated, explain that each table (or several tables) is a team, and each team is responsible for gathering the photos on the list. You may want to hint that you'll be playing this game in advance, as these days fewer people carry actual printed photos in their wallets. However, you could also accept photos they've stored on their cell phones.
Crazy Words: Compile a list of words that sound crazy but aren't (such as didgeridoo) and their definitions. Print each on a slip of paper. As guests enter your reception, give each one a word and definition. The object of the game is for each guest to use his or her crazy word in conversation as many times as possible throughout the reception. The guest who utters his or her word the most times, or to the greatest number of other guests, wins the game.
Table Topics: If you're too short on time to prepare a homemade party game, purchase a bunch of Table Topics cubes. Place one in the center of each table and encourage guests to play with them while they enjoy the reception meal. Each cube contains 25 questions to stimulate conversation. You can purchase Table Topics online at www.tabletopics.com.
You may end up with a few guests who are unwilling to participate in any reception games. If they don't want to play, you certainly don't have to make them. Spreading the word that there will be games ahead of time may actually give them a chance to get over their reluctance before your big day. One thing is for sure, those who do participate will remember your wedding reception for the rest of their lives.