If a huge wedding guest list isn’t part of your dream wedding, these small wedding reception ideas are for you. You may not want a crowded dance floor, but that doesn’t mean your guests can’t have a larger-than-life good time at your “not too big, not too small” special day—especially with these do’s and don’ts of planning a fantastic small wedding reception.
DO be conscious of volume at a small wedding reception.
If your wedding venue and guest list aren’t massive, choose a wedding DJ that can adjust their volume so guests aren’t screaming at each other over the music. There are a few ways to ensure that the music isn’t blasting, but one of the easiest ways is to ask the wedding DJ if they’ve played at a small wedding reception (along with these other wedding DJ questions).
DON’T think that you can only use one wedding
Planning a small wedding doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate big wedding ideas. Your guests’ll appreciate non-music forms of entertainment at the reception: table games, photo booths, interactive food tables plus these other ideas for wedding reception entertainment. You’ll appreciate the great photos that your photographer can get when guests are having fun!
DO choose a wedding DJ that personalizes their song list.
A personalized wedding playlist is a thing of beauty—and a good way to make your small affair feel larger-than-life. When choosing a wedding DJ, ask your potential wedding DJ if they can include your favorite songs and exclude the songs that make your skin crawl.
DON’T think you have to settle for a mediocre wedding DJ
because your reception is small.
You may not be hosting the largest wedding reception, but
that doesn’t mean you have to settle for low-quality wedding entertainers. When
hiring wedding DJs, watch for red flags that mean you are dealing with an
amateur. Less-than-stellar DJs usually don’t have a business location, have old
equipment (and are unwilling to show it to you), don’t respond as quickly, and
don’t have back-up equipment or staffing in case of a breakdown or unexpected
DO add a BIG surprise to your wedding reception.
A wedding reception surprise makes a big impression on guests—and keeps them talking well after the wedding is over! Plus, a surprise is an easy way to add your personal touch and make your special day feel uniquely you. There are many different ways to surprise guests: a sports mascot surprise appearance, confetti drop on the dance floor, or a fun exit for the newlyweds. Whatever you plan, make sure you tell your wedding DJ about the surprise so they can make it build it up into a huge deal.
Couples planning a wedding reception, beware: the one
commonality among every wedding reception schedule is that they are all
different. However, there is a general outline (and a few tips) that can make
planning a wedding reception easier—and a lot more fun!
Typical Wedding Reception Schedule
Wedding Dances (Wedding Party Announcement, First Dance,
Mother-Son Dance, Father-Daughter Dance, Etc.)
Wedding Reception Planning Tips
- Choose wedding vendors that coordinate services for a seamless wedding dance (like a DJ that coordinates the schedule with a photographer so you can make sure you get shots of your first dance).
- Be careful about hiring vendors that a friend of a friend recommends. Always research and look for red flags so you hire the best vendors.
- Don’t hesitate to ask venue staff and vendors for suggestions; they may have ideas you haven’t considered yet.
- Plan a lay out that keeps guests circulating and entertained (i.e. such as a photo booth near the dance floor or wedding games in a strategic location that guests can find and enjoy).
- Hire a wedding entertainer that can serve as emcee and make announcements. Your guests’ll appreciate it.
- Make sure there is a beverage station near the dance floor so guests stay hydrated…and can keep having fun!
- Give guests who aren’t dancers other ways to entertain themselves at the reception.
- Use a wedding budget checklist to ensure that your funds are being allocated for really important items that guests enjoy (i.e. food, dance music, etc.)
- Add a surprise to the wedding reception schedule for an awesome and memorable moment guests can talk about long after your wedding is done.
- Make your first wedding dance different from the norm with these dance ideas.
- Don’t skimp on wedding entertainment; while it might be tempting to hire the cheapest, the entertainment can make the evening or send guests to the door.
- Tell your wedding dance entertainer songs you want played—and don’t want played—at your dance. Be careful about hiring entertainers that don’t ask; this night is all about you!
Wedding planning involves an endless list of questions. It can be overwhelming—unless you remember that every decision gets you one step closer to busting a move at an epic wedding reception dance (and so do these wedding dance tips). We’ve met and talked with many engaged couples facing big decisions about their wedding reception; that’s why we’ve crafted a list that helps soon-to-be newlyweds make the decisions that puts them one step closer to an impressively-planned and memorable wedding reception dance.
If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to put the proverbial shoe on the other foot; use this list of questions to interview your wedding entertainment (DJ!) and get one dance step closer to an unforgettable wedding reception.