Aisle Be There – Unique Wedding Reception Ideas

Weddings are big business now and thanks to social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest, there are so many ideas to choose from.

Once you’ve sorted the important bits, like the date, ceremony, the venue, and the dress, you can start planning the fun parts, such as the wedding reception and while we all want our wedding to be unique and remembered by our guests, how do you make sure yours stands out? How can you make it more personal?

A lot of it depends on your budget, but also on what kind of feel you want for your wedding; do you go for traditional or quirky? Over-the-top or plain and simple?

Wedding planning can be daunting, so we’ve done some of the hard work for you and selected some wedding reception ideas to get you started.

What Is A Wedding Reception?

A wedding reception is the party that is held after the ceremony and traditionally is the first time the couple appears in public as a married couple; as the word ‘reception’ suggests, it’s when the newlyweds are received.

It’s basically the ultimate party to celebrate the marriage. A wedding reception usually takes place right after the ceremony and photos and they often follow the same pattern:

  • Guests are welcomed
  • Food and drink
  • Toasts and speeches
  • Dancing and entertainment
  • Cake cutting

As with every part of a wedding day, there are certain traditions associated with wedding receptions, such as the first dance and throwing the bouquet, but you can make it as formal or relaxed as you want and plan it to reflect you as a couple. There are no set rules and, post-Covid, weddings have become much more relaxed, you can even have a back garden wedding.

Mini cake cups at a wedding reception dessert buffet.

Food And Drink

Food is important at a wedding, it often ends up being a long day, so you need to make sure none of your guests are flagging by the time it comes to doing the Macarena barefoot later in the evening. Here are some suggestions:

  • Canapes – a popular choice is having mini versions of traditional meals; a mini Yorkshire pudding with a sliver of roast beef and a dab of horseradish, individual beef wellingtons, tiny burgers, little croque-monsieurs, or anything on a cocktail stick with a honey glaze.
  • Afternoon tea – if you don’t want the traditional canapes then a mini afternoon tea is a great alternative.
  • Send people home/back to their hotel room, with a midnight snack; some popcorn, for example, or a little portion of fries.
  • Have a pick-n-mix station, or a candy floss stall.
  • For summer weddings an ice cream van/cart is a brilliant idea, or if you fancy a winter wedding, you could have a hot chocolate stall.
  • Don’t want a traditional wedding cake? Why not try a doughnut wall instead?
photo booth with masks for wedding event


  • Ask your guests for song requests before the big day, then you can make your own playlist.
  • There’s often a lot of hanging around at weddings, so you could provide games to entertain your guests while the photos take place, or while the room is being reorganised for the evening. Things like croquet and giant Jenga or Connect Four would be great, or even some retro gaming machines (how about replacing the first dance with a dance-off on a dance mat?)
  • Photo booths are always fun, especially when they have plenty of props.
  • Alpacas are everywhere at the moment, so why not have some make a guest appearance so your guests can pet them and feed them?
  • You could get some temporary tattoos made of you and your partner’s faces for the back of your guests’ hands, a little nostalgia trip back to your clubbing days.
  • Face paints are always good, for both kids and adults.
  • You could design a photo scavenger hunt, so your guests have to find things on your list to photograph; things such as a flowery dress, something old/something new etc, or someone dancing/laughing, the possibilities are endless.
Better Together - neon sign on a brick wall in a restaurant at a wedding party. Love concept


  • Neon signs are huge at the moment and are always really effective.
  • Each table could have a theme relating to your relationship; where you met, where you got engaged, your hobbies etc.
  • Instead of a guest book, you could have a big glass bowl with some cards next to it so people can write a memory or some marriage advice. Another alternative is to make a piece of art by having guests write on a small wooden heart – a message, or just their name – that can then slot into a frame.
  • For your seating plan, you could have funny photos of your guests; it’s fairly cheap to do if you have the time to scroll through old photos/their Facebook profile.
  • Staying with old photos, you could hang old photos of you and your partner as children on a string across the bar, or other places guests might be standing around waiting.

Weddings are a big deal and can be quite stressful to organise, but remember, it’s your wedding and it’s perfectly possible to use it to show off your personality and make it your own. Whatever the size of your wedding, chances are you’re spending quite a bit of money, so it may be worth taking a look at wedding insurance. Choose from seven policy types with increasing levels of cover, depending on the size of your wedding, that you can then tweak with some optional benefits. Get a free, no-strings, no-jargon quote today, then remember to pop our invite in the post and we’ll dig out our best hats!

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