18 of the best wedding reception ideas

Wow your guests with these fabulous fun-filled reception ideas to really get the party started

wedding reception ideas photographybyvicki.co.uk
Smoke Bomb courtesy of Photography by Vicki

You’ve got the groom, the venue and your dream dress. All you need now is to inject a little fun into the proceedings. Here are a few wedding reception ideas to add that final elusive ingredient…

1 Up in smoke

Add real pizzazz to your photos and have fun with the wedding party with a few colourful smoke flares. Smoke bomb photography is the latest craze at weddings and is a technique of adding a realistic and unusual effect of smoke to your photos.

2 Revive retro games

Let guests relive their youth at your reception with a few retro arcade games. Companies like Love Candy Floss and Retro Games Party have 1970s and 1980s arcade classics that you can hire. Alternatively, hire a vintage jukebox for the drinks reception and let everyone pick their favourite tunes.

Marleybrook House Kent
Marleybrook House in Kent

3 Fairground attraction

Start as you mean to go on and book a venue that comes with its own funfair. We’re big fans of Marleybrook House in Kent.

4 Throw a festival

There are plenty of venues that can throw a festival wedding, complete with rock ’n’ roll atmosphere. Cornwall’s Weddings in the Wyldes, home to the Leopallooza Festival, is a festival site that has hosted the likes of Paloma Faith and Kelis. Couples can say their vows on the full-size main stage, dance until 3am and then crash out in bell tents.

5 Add some twinkling trees

Breathtaking florals start the day off on the right note. Check out Twilight Trees for beautiful daytime options, as well as twinkling nighttime trees for that perfect evening ambience.

Blovedblog.com and fionakellyphotography.com
Photo courtesy of Blovedblog.com © Fiona Kelly Photography

6 Share guilty pleasures

As wedding reception ideas go, food is always a winner – and sugary treats are even more welcome. Popcorn, candy floss, mini lollies, doughnuts. Set up a DIY sweet-stuff station and let guests help themselves.

7 Go out with a bang

End the night on a high with a surprise firework display or some photogenic sparklers. If you’ve got the budget, you could even splash out on a personalised flypast from Spirit in the Sky.

8 Highly strung decor

Why not try out the trend for suspending things from  the ceiling? Hanging flower displays and even hanging cakes definitely add the wow factor and will give guests something to talk about. Try Couture Cakes, Little Button Bakery, or florist Sabine Darrall.

Humble Crumble
Humble Crumble London

9 Wow-factor munchies

Street-food vans are nothing new, but did you know that you can now offer evening guests everything from cheese toasties to apple crumble? The new generation of street food includes mac ’n’ cheese (mactothefuture.net), toasties (thecheesebar.com), or lobster rolls (bobslobster.com). For pud, tuck into tubs of crumble with Humble Crumble. Check out Feast It for innovative food and drink suppliers to liven up your day.

10 A bit of bounce

Channel your inner child with a chic bouncy castle from The White Bouncy Castle.

Alcoholic lollies and sorbets available from Pops

11 Cocktails on ice

Serve your bubbles super chilled with a selection of Pops’ alcoholic lollies and sorbets. They come in flavours from gin and lime to espresso martini.

12 Hire wonder nannies

If the children are having fun then so are the parents. That’s where the child whisperers at The Little Top come in, staffed by professional child carers and entertainers. They even offer morning-after care, if needed!

TunnelsBeaches.co.uk Alex Miller Jennings Photograph
© Alex Miller Jennings Photography at Tunnels Beaches, Devon

13 Think outside the box

Bubbles or paper aeroplanes instead of a confetti shower? We say, why not!

14 Make a movie

Shoot It Yourself sends broadcast-quality video cameras and online tutorials so your friends can film the day from their perspective. The company then edits the footage into a behind-the-scenes video that captures all the fun.

Arabian Tents
The Arabian Tent Company

15 Chilling spaces

Katherine Hudson from The Arabian Tent Company  is a big fan of creating a chill-out zone at receptions. ‘We often make this area a secret for guests to discover later by adding a room behind a wall that’s only opened up in the evening.’

16 Unique entertainment

‘We all want our wedding to be unique,’ says Clare Hargreaves at Alive Network. ‘Couples are embracing experiences as a great way to personalise their day. A string quartet that plays Metallica, or “bandeoke” where guests sing with the live band. We’ve had couples hiring mariachi bands, magicians and lookalikes for speeches, or even booking a New Orleans brass band to lead guests in a conga from church to venue.’

Draw my wedding
Draw My Wedding

17 Capture the moment

Reportage illustrator Tim King at Draw My Wedding will ‘live draw’ your wedding, documenting the entire day from preparation to partying with his drawing.

18 Magic on the move

‘We’re seeing more couples looking for a kind of roaming entertainment,’ says Henry Fosdike of Sternberg Clarke. ‘A great example is Lewis, who performs magic as guests arrive, but can then sing during the reception as well.’


We have recently written an in-depth article: How To Use Smoke Bomb Photography To Create Awesome Images. It’s an advanced and updated article with more than 2000 words, covering what is the smoke bomb, basics of a color smoke bomb, 15 top tips of a smoke bomb photography, etc.