In the age of COVID weddings, a lot of people are wondering what the big day will look like. Will people come? Will they dance? If they don't, what will they do? Weddings from six feet away doesn't mean the party has to stop! While maybe everyone won’t feel comfortable packing the dance floor, there are still so many unique ways to celebrate and keep the party going; masks or not. We put together a list of ideas to keep your guests thoroughly entertained and the energy high while still abiding by social distance guidelines.
Live performances Fire spinners, hula hoop performers, belly dancers, and a typewriting poet are a guaranteed way to impress your guests. Is your reception kid friendly? Get a balloon artist or a magician. Circus themed? Bring in a juggler and spice it up with some fire. You can hire a caricature artist for the cocktail hour through the end of the reception! The possibilities are endless - try to really think about what fits your theme and don't forget to check with your venue about what’s allowed. A surprise firework show always leaves a lasting impression! Let your creative side run wild with ideas. Don't forget photo booths are NOT out of style - in fact, you can upgrade with Ashley Nicole Affair and add one to your package for a discounted rate!
Wine/beer/spirit tastings Calling all beer and wine connoisseurs, this is your time to shine! You can purchase flight tasting holders online or check with your catering/rental company to see if they have any in stock. Accompanying cards can be printed that list the beverages that you're featuring, Your guests can do the tastings at their tables and chat about their favorites. Bonus points for incorporating drinks with a personalized story attached - like a local beer from your hometown or the wine you had on your first date! This fun activity gives you the chance to tell your love story through flights of beer, wine, or even whiskey!
Live music A great form of entertainment that never goes out of style is live music; ESPECIALLY in Austin! Even if you already have a DJ, you can still easily incorporate musical acts into the reception. Turn your wedding reception into a mini concert - you can start the ceremony with a solo performer - an acoustic guitarist or a piano player, upgrade to a duo for cocktail hour, a trio for dinner, and then let the DJ or band finish the remainder of the reception. Or you can set the bar really high and turn your reception into a piano bar post-diner. Guests will be able to enjoy from their seats, if they choose to or they can move around and dance. Local shoutouts - Josh Klaus acoustic guitar + vocalist, Mikaela Kahn vocalist + pianist, Sienna String Quartet
Live screen printing Get in touch with a local printer and most of them can offer between 1-4 custom design options to bring on site. Guests can select from the art you specifically picked out and have the design printed on a t-shirt right in front of them! Not to mention, these will double as awesome wedding favors that guests can take home and use again. You can buy blank t-shirts for dirt cheap at jiffyshirts.com! Sweets, sweets, + even more sweets! Another delicious and entertaining activity is a customizable dessert station. There are several companies that do onsite dessert carts + assembly and you can inquire with your caterer! Create a custom menu with a dessert buffet option and let guests go through and pick their perfect sweet treat. This can take the place of a traditional cake or as another special addition. Between cupcakes, cotton candy, doughnuts, or ice-cream your guests will only remember leaving your reception full of deliciousness! Local shoutouts - The Cupcake Bar, Steel City Pops, Amy's Ice Creams, Banarchy, Churro Burro, Fancy Fluff
Keep it FURRY + hydrated Your guests are never too old to enjoy the fluff brought in by a petting zoo. There are several beer burro companies that will have the cutest donkeys walking around your venue fully stocked with your favorite bottled beverages! Want to take it to the next level? Alpacas make great wedding guests... and we aren't kidding. There are petting zoos with goats, miniature ponies for kids, reptiles, micro-pigs, YOU NAME IT! Local shoutouts - Tiny Tails to You, Texas Party Animals, Ralph Fisher's Photo Animals, Fannie's Farm Friends, + Pecan Springs Ranch is a venue that offers on-site beer burros!
S’mores Consider preassembling individually wrapped s’mores kits and set up fire pits around the venue or mini cast iron griddles for each table. This is a great way to gets your guests to spread out, but still allow them to mingle or remain seated. It is a great way to transition from dinner to the dessert portion of your reception, prior to cake cutting! COVID pro tip: there’s been great feedback on items being individually wrapped for maximum cleanliness; plus you can personalize each each kit with a cute tag with your guys name + date!
Grand exits If you are doing a sparkler exit, keep it intimate with your wedding party + family to be extra cautious, but don't forget you can still socially distance an exit. Ashley Nicole Affair offers a fog or bubble machine with our rentals! You can still do things from a distance like rose petals, lavender seeds, or incorporate cold spark fountains with Big Dog Pyro as your getaway car drives off!
Games The possibilities with interactive games are endless! You can rent cornhole boards from most event vendors or buy your own and customize it by painting them to match your wedding colors, favorite sports logo, or your initials. Other good options are bocce ball, ring toss, or a mini golf setup. If you want to get everyone involved, try a round of bingo, or have guests participate in a digital scavenger hunt capturing photos for each item they find. If you’re really trying to rage, incorporate some good old fashion drinking games into the mix with flip cup and beer pong stations. We've seen it all - INCLUDING rented arcade games like pinball and basketball machines!
Live art Hiring an artist to create something special right in front of your guests adds a new WOW factor to every aspect of the wedding. Let your creativity shine while picking out an artist that showcases something about you and your partner. You can have an artist draw individual caricatures, live painting of your scenic ceremony site, or personalized painted portraits that double as a wedding favor! Having a custom painted portrait is a beautiful piece of art to hang above your fireplace.
Back in September, Jeanna told us she wanted something that no body would expect at a wedding. We convinced her that she needed a face painter during the reception.... and it was the BIGGEST hit. They truly had the best reception dance floor photos! Local shoutouts - Ericatures, Snap Chic Wedding Painting, Faces by Juliet
Bring good energy + take advantage of the holiday If good vibes are your thing, use that as inspiration to keep your guests entertained. Hire a tarot card reader - don’t be scared, these can be positive and really fun. We had one at our HALLOWEDDING. If your venue only has October 31st open for a postponement, having a Halloween wedding is something that your guests will talk about forever. Enjoy your ceremony in your beautiful gown, while all of your guests get to dress up and then change during cocktail hour. Let's be honest - there's less talking with costumes and masks, anyways! It's a perfect excuse to social distance.
Karaoke HEAR US OUT ON THIS ONE! Have you ever had a bad time at a karaoke bar? The answer is no. When sending out your invites, give them a clue by asking "what is YOUR karaoke song of choice?" or "what song gets you on the dance floor?" If you hired a DJ, ask them to emcee the karaoke hour and help keep the crowd hype. This can also work with a live band to back the vocals or it’s an easy DIY setup if you want to rent a karaoke machine. Local shoutouts - Brandon with Premier Entertainment is the best emcee we've ever met!
Go glow stick crazy Glow stick foam batons, necklaces, bracelets, headbands, straws, you name it - you can definitely find it in glow stick form. While these aren’t necessarily new to wedding receptions, they can play an extra fun role during a socially distanced event. Guests might want to maintain their distance while on the dance floor, but with a sea of colors and glow in the dark accessories it will light up the whole room and can start at the dinner tables. Consider personalizing foam stick favors with your initials or wedding date to add an extra personal touch! They are also great for a grand exit option without having to get too close like sparklers!