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So you want to guarantee your wedding guests have a blast on your big day, but you're not quite sure how? Well, just think about it, brides: what's the one thing that makes any party infinitely more fun? When everybody knows everyone, duh! Get all that awkwardness and shy energy out of the way beforehand (or even at the wedding) by finding creative ways to connect your favorite people in the world with his. Here are 4 bright ideas to try now.
Survey your guests on Facebook
Use social media to your advantage and conduct an online survey of all your guests to see who would be into what activities, suggests Ashley Smith, a San Francisco based destination wedding planner and founder of BuzzWorthy Events. "If you get a bunch of positive responses for one, host that activity, and put all the participants in touch via email or Facebook," she advises.
Organize an icebreaker party!
Whether you're having a destination wedding or not, it's likely several guests will still be coming in from out of town so why not throw a cocktail party to help break the ice? "While you don't have to host it, you can let your guests know that everyone will be at a certain place at a certain time and that they're encouraged to join," says Smith. Pick a spot that not only represents your location well, but will also enable those that live in the area to experience something new.
Encourage hands-on interaction
No, not the touchy-feely, hands all over each other kind of interaction (get your minds out of the gutter, brides!). What we're talking about here is anything that's communal. "For example, communal seating at dinner, games if applicable or a lounge around a fire that creates an opportunity for storytelling," explains Smith. "You can also try hosting a wine paring bar at your cocktail hour or a DIY mini pizza station." The key is to keep the energy up and get guests interacting through unique and novel experiences.
Coordinate exciting group activities pre-wedding
For instance, you can organize a mini-road trip around the city (or island, if you get married somewhere like Hawaii!), notes Natasha Burton and Jennifer Arreguin, co-founders of Santa Barbara-based event planning company Swoon California. "A pub crawl for your younger guests is a great way to get your different social circles to mesh too. Other exciting ideas include a beach day, picnic in the park or more low-key welcome activity that allows your guests to mix and mingle before your walk down the aisle."