Category Archives: small wedding entertainment ideas

wedding party celebrating at wedding reception

7 Fun Entertainment Ideas for Your Small Chicago Wedding

A small Chicago wedding doesn’t have to be short on wedding entertainment ideas. There are some great wedding entertainment ideas that make your intimate affair feel larger-than-life and set your special day apart.

Table Trivia

Table trivia is a great way for guests to entertain themselves while they mingle and wait for refreshments. It can also be a great ice breaker when guests don’t know each other—and a special way for guests to get to know the newlyweds. Maybe best yet, you can easily customize these wedding printables with little known facts and make this wedding entertainment idea a seamless part of your wedding atmosphere. (If you hire a great wedding DJ, get them in on the fun! They can make announcements and make the game a group effort.)   

Sampling Station

Sampling stations are a hit for guests and couples. You can create a sampling station with your favorite wines and ales, desserts, and local dishes—and let guests decide what dishes are their favorite. As an added bonus, sampling stations are a great conversation starter and a great way to keep guests mingling.


A dance floor is a big hit for guests of all ages. This classic wedding entertainment idea can also come with new twists, like a surprise guest appearance, confetti drop, or spur-of-the-moment dance lesson. If you want to get guests to the dance floor, hire an experienced wedding DJ that customizes their play list and announcements for a truly one-of-a-kind reception. (Use these wedding DJ questions to vet your Chicago wedding DJs.)

Yard Games

Yard games are fun for guests to play and fun for couples to plan. Plus, there are a ton of games to choose from—and everyone can be styled to fit with the unique wedding atmosphere. Any yard game, such as yard bowling, ring toss, tumbling tower, can be styled to fit with the décor and other wedding details. Even elegant small weddings can host a rip-roaring game of croquet or ring toss. (And you can bring the games inside too!)

Dance Floor Games

This small wedding entertainment idea pairs dancing and games—what could be better? Guests love to play the shoe game, do a version of Simon Says, or engage in a dance off. A good wedding DJ can keep the games—and the dancing—going so everyone stays on the dance floor.

Lounge Areas

Lounge areas are a low-key form of entertainment that are just what they say: an area to lounge. These areas are perfect for guests who want to sit and chat or need a break from the dance floor. They are also fairly easy to set up because they are usually just a few comfy couches and lounge chairs.

Photo Booths

Photo booths are a great addition to a large or small wedding. They are a great place for guests to relax and be silly, plus they create great memories (photos) that guests can keep and talk about for years. Photo booths can also be customized to fit the wedding atmosphere, especially with custom frames and photo booth props. Best yet, this small wedding idea perfectly complements with all your other wedding entertainment.

wedding party celebrating at wedding reception

Small Wedding Reception Tips that Make a BIG Impression on Your Guests

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 entertainment idea.

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 emergency.

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.

Small Wedding Reception? Use these Big Wedding Entertainment Ideas

bride and groom at small wedding receptionA small wedding reception doesn’t have to be any less memorable than a big, fancy affair. If anything, you shouldn’t be afraid to take a cue from the “big” wedding playbook and scale it to fit your small wedding reception. Make your wedding guests feel like they’re part of a very big day (which it is, for you!) with these “big wedding” wedding entertainment ideas.

Options, options, options

Even if your guests are seated around one (very big!) wedding doesn’t mean they need to feel like they have only one way to have fun. Instead, give your guests different options for fun with table games, wedding dance games (talk to your DJ about games they’ve seen work!), a photo booth, and surprises. Then, do what couples who throw big wedding receptions can’t: reach out to your guests with personal touches at the dinner and on social media (like posting their photo booth pictures or posting the trivia winners!).

Dinner AND reception music

Just because you are hosting an intimate dinner doesn’t mean you can’t have dinner music (and, as a bonus, an emcee!). When you search for a DJ, ask if they can provide dinner music as part of the package. A DJ for dinner music also gives you an announcer that can host a trivia tournament (while your guests are waiting for dinner or desert), announce toasts and other special parts of your dinner program, and can even direct tables to head up to your buffet.

Coordinate special group photos

This is a bonus of a small wedding: the ability to host a special group photo without the faces looking like specks! To pull off the ultimate group photo, ask your photographer for ideas. Choose a DJ that has experience coordinating the photo with your photographer (you’ll need your DJ to announce and make sure the photo is taken at the right time). With everyone on board, you’ll get a memorable memento you’ll prize forever.

Host a tasting

Tastings are a fun food and drink trend—and a fun way to engage guests at your small wedding! Talk to your caterer for sweet food or drink ideas (choose something that fits with your theme). Don’t forget to let your DJ know too; they can choose music and make announcements that take your tasting to the next level.

Fuel the fun

A small wedding may be intimate but it doesn’t have to be short. Set up a full evening worth of wedding reception activities: surprise entrance by the newlyweds (ideas here), wedding dance games (ask your DJ for games that were a big hit at other weddings), group photo, trivia and contests, and late-night refreshments that keep your guests on the dance floor.