Including the guests is an excellent way to get people out of their chairs, meeting people they might not otherwise know and feeling like they are truly a part of the celebration, not just observers.
One fun and active game that can be played by all your guests, including grandma as well as the young children, is "want it now".
In this game, you designate a master of ceremonies (if you have a DJ for your wedding reception, this person can serve as the DJ). The MC will have a list of "wants" prepared before the reception. Everyone sits at their tables, and waits to hear the command. The MC says he wants a person with painted toenails. All the women with painted toenails run to the front of the room, toward the MC. Each time a table sends someone to the front first, they get a point.
Points should be tallied during the course of this game and prizes awarded at the end of the game. Be sure to have some obvious "wants", as is the painted toenails, or a man with a mustache or a child with a pink dress. But also include some surprises, like "a man with a brown purse" which will require a man to find a woman at his table with the brown purse and run up to the front of the room with that.
Another fun wedding reception game that includes all your guests is musical chairs using men as the chairs. All the men line up and kneel on one knee. The women begin playing the game of musical chairs, but when the music stops, they must find a knee to sit on. No "chairs" are removed during the version of the game, but instead people are eliminated when either the man falls down when the woman finds his knee or when the woman falls down. Both are out either way, and if both fall down, they are also both out then (as well as perhaps a bit bruised). This is a fun game that often brings on gales of laughter and adds to a relaxed reception atmosphere.
If many guests are traveling a good distance to the wedding or don't know many other guests, it's always fun to include a game that will allow them to now only get to know each other but the bride and groom as well. For this game, you'll need a MC again, which can be a very outgoing member of the wedding party or the DJ. The reception guests are broken into two groups, which can be as simple as having people count off "1, 2, 1, 2" and so on until the entire guest list is either a "1" or a "2". Then the two groups band together for the duration of the game.
The DJ, or MC, offers a series of questions relating to the bride and groom. The teams should work together to answer the questions, then as quickly as possible provide the answer. The bride and groom will confirm if the answer is correct or not. This is an excellent way for otherwise "stranger" guests to get to know one another and have some fun in the process. It's also an excellent way to get to know the bride and groom!
Organizing games at a wedding reception is a great way to get people involved and make them feel they are truly a part of the celebration. It's also a way to fill time, if the wedding planners know this isn't a "dancing" group or if you want to loosen people up for a long night of celebrating. Whether a small or large wedding, reception games work for just about any group.
In addition, don't assume wedding reception guests will be offended or annoyed by these active games. Most people report to wedding planners they truly enjoy being more active and having fun games to play during a wedding reception.
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