There are several ways you can personalize your wedding reception to your individual tastes, and provide some memorable moments for your guests.
Children’s Activities - If you’re going to have many children at your reception, arrange for a separate room with children’s activities like board games, crafts, coloring books, a clown/balloon/face-painting artist, or even a movie.
Love Songs to the Bride and Groom - To make the bride and groom kiss, everyone at a dinner table mus rise and sing part of a song with the word “love” on it.
Karaoke - Karaoke can be a big hit or a big flop at a wedding reception. It depends upon how well you know your guests. A DJ who brings a Karaoke setup usually has a library of thousands of songs from which to choose.
Disposable Cameras - Set a camera on each table, and let the guests take their own photos. Have someone from the wedding party collect all the cameras at the end of the evening. You’ll end up with some very memorable candid pictures.
Video or Slide Show - Some couples like to produce and show a stylish DVD slide show of themselves individually as children growing up, then as a couple dating. You’ll probably need to rent a video projector.
Centerpiece Giveaway - Put a little sticker on the bottom of one chair at each dinner table. The guest with the sticker gets to take home the centerpiece. Another way to do it, is to have the guests compare birthdays. The one at each table with the birthday closest to your wedding date, gets the centerpiece.
Choreograph Your First Dance - Take ballroom dancing lessons together, and dazzle your guests with a rehearsed performance. Be sure the bridal gown is cut to accommodate such a dance. Start your lessons about 3 months before your wedding. Keep the song to 3 minutes or less if you can.
Dollar Dance - The bride and groom begin a slow dance together, then the guests are invited to cut in and dance briefly with either the bride or groom, for a dollar (or more). People can either pin their money to the bride’s gown, or the Best Man and Maid of Honor can collect the money.
Anniversary Dance - All married couples are invited to join the bride and groom on the dance floor. A slow song starts. After a few seconds, the DJ asks all couples who’ve been married less than 5 years to leave the dance floor. Then, less then 20 years, and 20, and so on. Eventually, the couple married the longest remains alone on the dance floor, and the bride and groom join them to reprsent the oldest and newest marriages in the room..
“Soul Train” - Two parallel lines of dancers form at opposite sides of the dance floor, and couples take turns dancing down the middle, just as they did on “Soul Train.”
Conga Line - The bride and groom lead the way, and the line forms behind them, with each person putting his/her hands on the waist of the person in front of him/her. Always a nice photo op.
Line Dances - People love dances that they know. And there are plenty of line dances that we’ve all seen a million times — “Electric Slide,” “Cha Cha Slide,” “Macarena,” “YMCA,” “Chicken Dance,” “Cupid Shuffle,” and so forth. A great way to engage guests who are normally too shy to dance.
Jay Congdon is President of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.