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10 Ways to Keep Your Guests Engaged So They Stay At Your Reception All Evening

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  • Have a timeline: Make sure you make a timeline after speaking with the caterer, Wedding Planner and your DJ.  A timeline is meant to help your event to “flow” so you don’t let the night get away from you.  Every activity should happen “one right after another” so you can avoid any lulls (which might cause your guests to get bored or impatient).  It always helps to let your bridal party have a copy of the timeline so they are ready for important events and activities.
  • Appetizers and Drinks: Make sure the bar and the hors d’oeuvres are accessible and in a good location.  we’ve seen some weddings where there was a table right in front of the bar and only one bartender.  There was a sea of people wrapped around this table all evening waiting to get served.  A good rule of thumb is 1 bartender per every 50 people.

JD Entertainment Wedding Cocktail Hour Michigan

Hors d’oeuvres are a great way to not only make your guests comfortable but also to keep the room circulating.  This will definitely help bridge that gap between the ceremony and reception.

  • Photobooth: There a lot of advantages to the Photobooth.
    1. It loosens your guests up & keeps them entertained
    2. It gives the guests something to do while you are mingling after dinner
    3. It makes your guests feel more involved in your wedding because their photos are included in your memory book.

JD Entertainment Photobooth Wedding Michigan

Photobooths not only help bridge the gap between dinner and dancing but the entertainment value lasts throughout the night because guests visit the booth multiple times during the evening.  The photos usually get more interesting as the night progresses!

  • Words of Advice Table: This is yet another way to give your guests something to do.  Why not get wedding advice or words of wisdom from the people closest to you!  Check out our Pinterest page for some cool ideas.

JD Entertainment Wedding Photo Words of Wisdom

  • Coffee Table and or Candy Table: Most everyone enjoys sugar or caffeine after dinner.  A coffee table with some different flavors and/or a candy table are both ways to keep your guests moving throughout the room and to keep them excited and interested about the “next thing.”

JD Entertainment Wedding Candy Table Photo

Seating Arrangement: Your guests need to be able to find their seats.  Whether it’s “Place Cards” or a seating chart on an easel; the font should be large enough and easy enough to read.  Table numbers should be obvious and easy to find on the tables. Don’t let your guests get hemmed up at the door because no one can read or find out where they are sitting.  Remember, we are shooting for a level of comfort (from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave).

JD Entertainment Wedding Photo Place Cards

  • Toasts: Remind everyone who may be speaking that it is a toast, not a speech.  A couple short stories are fine but “less is more.”  The guests are hungry by this time and it’s hard to hold their attention for more than a few minutes at a time.  A good rule of thumb is to let your Best Man, Maid or Matron know that they should keep it less than 5 minutes (2-3 minutes is ideal)

JD Entertainment Wedding Reception Toast

  • Shuttle Service to and from the Hotel: If there is a hotel close by, check into a shuttle service and see if they can block off some rooms for your wedding guests.  With an open bar, sometimes the drinking can get somewhat indulging.  It’s always safe (for everyone involved) if there is an easy way for your guests to get from point A to point B.  Note: make sure the shuttle service takes into account that there might be a lot of guests looking for a ride at the end of the night.  A lot of guests stay for the last song!  I’ve seen quite a few weddings with 20-30 people outside begging the DJ for a ride back to the hotel because they’ve been waiting over 45 minutes for a shuttle.
  • Emergency Kits In The Bathroom: Breath Freshener, Sewing Kits, Pain Reliever and any other necessities that might help your guests in a bind, usually make them feel appreciated.  Check out our Pinterest Board for some great ideas!
  • Visit People! Don’t be M.I.A.:  Your guests are at your wedding for one main reason, “to see you.”  So give the people what they want and “Be Seen.”  The more people you talk to your guests and encourage them to stay, the more people you’ll see at the end of the night.

Good luck and don’t forget to visit our Pinterest page for cool ideas on all of the advice list above and more!

JD Entertainment, LLC






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