Photo: Danielle Poff
Yes, your wedding may be all about you, but as any good host or hostess knows, if your guests aren't having fun, well, neither are you. To create an event that has everyone up on their feet, moving, grooving, and having the time of their lives, try incorporating a few of these crowd-pleasing elements and wedding-planning ideas into your big day. Trust us, they're guaranteed to not disappoint!
1. The Anniversary Dance
Because who doesn't love their shining moment in the spotlight? In case you weren't aware, the anniversary dance is when the DJ invites all married couples out onto the dance floor and, as the song goes on, gradually dismisses people according to how many years they've been hitched until the longest married couple is left dancing, explains Florida Keys wedding planner Lynn D'Ascanio of D'Asigner Events. "Everyone sways like proud peacocks as the crowd looks on, and the winners are congratulated with a big round of applause." For brides who opt not to throw their bouquet, D'Ascanio says this is a fantastic opportunity to award it to the winning couple.
Yep, seriously! Sushi is almost never an appetizer served during the cocktail hour or a dinner entree, points out Ani Keshishian, creative director of Anoush Banquet Halls & Catering and L.A. Banquets. "Having a separate sushi station injects some fun and energy into the wedding and also the menu." Plus, guests go wild for it.
3. Cigar Rollers/Lounges
Obviously, they're a great way to win over the guys, according to Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer, owner of Pure Luxe Bride. Otherwise, anything with an interactive element is a good idea. "For example, we have a local praline maker that we bring in," she says. "Not only is it fun to watch, but the smell and the sweets are to die for!"
4. Dessert Trucks and Late-Night Food
These can serve as a great alternative to a traditional cake or simply as a bonus dessert, suggests wedding planner Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events. "You should see how people's faces light up when an ice cream truck pulls up the venue during the reception. It's like everyone becomes a kid again." And isn't that the best feeling ever?
5. Photo and Video Booths
Wedding guests always flip out for a good photo booth, but video booths are becoming big hits too, especially the slow-motion ones. "These really delight guests because the playback video is so entertaining to watch," explains Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss the Planner. "Guests are filmed in real time, however when their video is played back in slow motion, it's usually hilarious to see and also fun to share on social media for a long time to come."
6. A Good Surprise
Whether it's a bride/groom DJ battle, fire dancers, or a late-night food truck pulling up, anything that surprises your guests will make them go bananas, says event planner Kristine Cholakian Cooke, owner of Simply Charming Socials. For instance, one of her favorite moments that guests adored was a very touching speech made by the groom to the bride. "He made reference to hitting it big when he met her (in a totally non-cheesy way), so under every seat, we taped lottery tickets for each guest." Of course, they loved it!
7. On-Site Child Care
Inviting a bunch of kids to the wedding? When parents see "On-site childcare provided" on your invitation, especially out of town guests, they'll undoubtedly sigh in relief and beam with gratitude, for you have just removed a huge stressor off their shoulders, notes Lindsey Planovsky of Bring the Kids Events. "By having a dedicated, supervised area for children at your wedding, you set the tone for an inclusive event and ensure your big day goes exactly as planned with no outburst from tired toddlers."