Boat reception exit

What Are Unconventional Ways to Make a Reception Awesome?

One of the most memorable parts of your wedding day is your reception. While your ceremony is typically more traditional, your reception is the chance to be unique and show off your personality as a couple. It’s the part of your day guests will talk about most, even years later!

There are so many unconventional ways to take your reception to the next level—whether it’s with fun food, unique décor or super-cool entertainment. Here are some of our favorite ways to make your reception awesome.


Donut display at reception Wedding cake suspended from the ceiling
Late night reception snack Beer tasting bar at wedding reception


A large portion of your wedding budget will go towards food, so go all out with something unique (& tasty)! Is regular wedding food not your thing? Serve breakfast food for dinner with a make-your-own omelet station and hire a chef to cook them live for your guests. For a more playful food option, serve carnival food like footlong corn dogs, a nacho bar and have a cotton candy maker ready for dessert.

For something super unique, rent out a food truck! Guests will love having a number of options to choose from. Do you plan to dance into the late hours of the night? Surprise your guests with a late-night appetizer like warm sliders, popcorn or your fave fast-food snack.

Now, the moment your guests are waiting for: dessert! Go big with a giant donut wall or a chocolate fountain full of treats to dip, dunk and drizzle. If you’re getting married in the fall or winter, see if your venue will let you set up a fire pit to serve s’mores. Sticking with a traditional wedding cake? Go for something dramatic by suspending your cake from the ceiling. Guests will definitely remember this show-stopping display.

Don’t forget about the drinks! Renting a coffee cart will be a big hit for both younger and older guests. For a morning or afternoon wedding, set up a mimosa bar full of different juices and fruits for a create-your-own combo. Cocktail hour could be the hit of the night if you set up a tasting bar. Serve different flights of beer or wine for your guests to try. Make sure to include (& label) the bride and groom’s top pick!


Neon sign at wedding reception Luggage tag seating chart


Your reception décor is a great way to add some flair and do something bold. Rent out giant marquee letters that say “Mr & Mrs” or have a neon sign created with your new last name. Do you have a friend or relative who’s good at calligraphy? Walk down memory lane with your love story timeline written on a chalkboard.

Sometimes the display is almost as cool as the item it’s displaying. Have your guests search for their assigned seat on a large wall full of keys or luggage tags. Display your wedding favors in a unique way too—on floating shelves or a giant bookshelf. For something totally out of the box, set up a DIY flower station. Guests can create their own mini floral arrangement to take home or craft a boutonniere to wear around the reception.


Live painting a wedding reception Surprise choreographed reception dance
Baby goat at wedding reception Wedding reception entertainment


Time to get the party started! You will wow your guests with unique entertainment like fire breathers, belly dancers, singing waiters or a celebrity impersonator. For music, hire a full swing or jazz band instead of a DJ. Would your guests rather take the mic themselves? Have a karaoke station set up! If your wedding party is super coordinated, surprise your guests with a choreographed dance.

If the weather is nice and you have plenty of outdoor space to work with, set up some fun lawn games like giant Jenga, chess, corn hole or even a mini-golf course. For something extra fun, rent out a bounce house! It will definitely be a hit with the kids and all of your kid-at-heart guests. Be sure to get a photo of you and your groom bouncing together!

Looking for something more low-key? Hire an artist to do a live painting of your reception. Then you can display it in your home forever! If you’d rather have your guests take home a piece of your reception, hire a caricature artist.

Here’s another artistic idea—skip the traditional guest book and have guests sign puzzle pieces with your engagement photo on the other side. Instead of a regular photo booth, have guests record their congratulations and well wishes inside a video booth. Are animals near and dear to your heart? Set up a petting zoo or have a live pet adoption truck outside.


Boat reception exit Wedding reception at a movie theater

Motorcycle reception exit


If you’re wanting a non-traditional reception venue, try renting out a movie theater or head to the bowling alley. Want to end your reception with a bang? Do a surprise balloon or confetti drop on the dance floor for the final group dance!

Another cool idea is to play up your exit. Instead of a sparkler exit, light up the night sky with real fireworks. (Make sure to get the venue’s approval first.) For a grand exit, do something super unique like riding off on a horse, speed boat or motorcycle. If your venue has an open field behind it, take off in a hot air balloon. These fun reception ideas are endless. Just find something that speaks to you and your groom!