Saying “I do” may happen quickly, but weddings are full-day events. Brides and grooms will be busy at every moment, getting ready, posing for photos, and mingling with loved ones—but guests will often have some spare time on their hands. And that means you need to come up with ways to keep them energized and entertained. Here are some unique, fun, and downright foolproof ideas for doing just that.

1. Late-Night Snacks

If you want your wedding reception to stretch into the wee hours of the morning, your guests are going to need sustenance. So why not make plans for extra food to arrive at the moment everyone needs it most? This can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like; guests will love a surprise Panago pizza delivery (I did this at my wedding four years ago and people are still raving about it) just as much as a Triple O’s food truck or churro cart.

reception vancouver wedding ideasPhoto: Vancity Photo Booth

2. Photo Booths

There’s no denying that wedding guests love photo booths. While you can choose to hire a professional who will set up a background and a collection of fun props (think hats, signs, and masks), a DIY approach will work just as well. If that still seems too elaborate, place a few disposable or polaroid cameras around the venue. This gives guests the chance to capture moments your photographer isn’t around for; plus, your friends and family will have something to take home at the end of the night.

3. Games, Games, Games

Corn hole, giant Jenga, and croquet may be the first things that pop into your head when you think of “wedding games”—but those certainly aren’t the only options. Set up a collection of classic board games for guests to bring back to their tables; ask people to complete a themed Mad Lib or crossword puzzle to earn their spot in the buffet line; or bring out your friends and relatives’ competitive sides with a setup for beer pong or flip cup. If the games reflect you and your partner’s personalities and relationship, guests are bound to take part. 

vancouver wedding reception ideasPhoto: Impressions Live Art

4. Artists

Speaking of entertainment that doubles as a wedding favour, did you know you can hire artists to do a live painting of your ceremony or reception? Not only can guests view the artists in action, watching as a moment from the wedding is recreated in real time, but brides and grooms receive a custom piece of art to commemorate their big day. Alternatively, you can hire an illustrator or caricaturists to sketch portraits of your guests throughout the evening.

5. Performers

Exchanging vows is often enough of a “show,”  but there’s no shortage of performers that can be hired to keep wedding guests entertained. Love comedy? Invite a local improv group to emcee. Interested in seeing what your future (married!) life will be like? Hire a tarot card reader or fortune teller. Proud of your cultural heritage? Plan a surprise performance by a dance troupe or band. 

reception vancouver photos6. Glitter Bars and Temporary Tattoo Stations

Give your guests an excuse to mingle—and get a little extra dolled up—by designating an area for them to apply glitter and temporary tattoos. Both are relatively easy to set up, and there are plenty of ways to personalize them. You could, for instance, get a custom temporary tattoo made or even hire a tattoo artist to provide professional (and permanent) inking services. 

Looking for more ways to delight your guests? Check out these wedding favour ideas.