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The Reception Experience — WOW Your Guests!

By Sabrina Spears, Wedding/Events Planner & Designer

Sabrina Spears Events –


Ever attended a wedding and were completely bored out of your mind (not to mention the food was horrible?!) I’m certain the thought, “When are they going to cut the cake so we can leave?!” crossed your mind. The reality is the blissful newlyweds probably didn’t share the same sentiment as you did — they had an amazing time!

The experience a bride & groom have during their wedding is very different from their guests. I often remind my couples that while the marriage and ceremony is all about them, the reception should be designed with the guest’s experience in mind.

Here are a few ways you can transform your wedding reception into an experience….


What’s the first thing that catches the eyes of your guests as they enter the room:  is it the welcome sign, seating chart or the lush floral designs, menu cards, cloth napkins on each table? Every bride wants their guests to say that her wedding was the most beautiful one they have ever been to. Having a well-decorated reception space will make your guest feel valued. There is one area that is often forgotten:  the bathrooms. Adding a small vase of flowers and an air freshener can easily transform that space — but you don’t have to stop there! Add a care basket filled with some essentials like mouthwash and floss (especially if you plan and serving brisket!), hand lotion, etc. Your guests will feel special!


I have seen couples skimp on the quality food for their reception because it’s just not a priority for them. Well, I’m here shouting from the mountain top that it is and should be.  

This isn’t the time for the “I found someone cheaper” move. You don’t want your guests leaving your wedding early because the only thing on their minds is, “How do we get to the nearest fast food joint?!” Good food makes people happy. Great food makes people dance. Consider including a late night s’mores bar or nacho bar in your catering, especially if you plan on partying all night long. All that fun can leave you and your guests craving a late night snack. And — let’s not forget about cake! Include a gluten free option for guests with dietary restrictions; this gesture will be greatly appreciated.


Whether you opt for a DJ, band or the audio hookup at your space, music is an easy way to get your guests out of their seats. Schedule all your special dances, like first dance, mother/son, during dinner service. This will keep your guests entertained while they eat.

Keep the toasts and speeches to a minimum. Your second cousin Bill’s son doesn’t need to make a speech, neither does every person in the wedding party. Remember it’s not open mic night.

Guest Experience…

Your wedding is probably the biggest party you will ever throw. When I think party, I think fun. Instead of party favors, give your guests the memories of a great time. Make your event interactive! Two words: Corn. Hole. Although I haven’t mastered the art of the game, that hasn’t stopped me from loving it. The inclusion of games at wedding receptions has taken on a life of its own over the years.

Some other fun ideas to make your reception interactive include hiring a caricature artist, a slow motion photo booth, poker station and — my absolute favorite — an adult bounce house. 

The Cliff Notes …

Imagine that you’re a guest at your own wedding and it’s the wedding day:  now take a walk in your guests’ shoes!

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