Creative Reception Ideas


Your reception is the party – the place where you celebrate your vows with your most beloved friends and family. And just as planners work to make the reception space perfect for their clients, anxiously awaiting the reveal to see the joy and love on their faces, it’s also important to ensure the receptions sets the tone for the evening for guests as well.

Sarah Chancey, founder and creative mentor behind Chancey Charm, shares with us some tips on how to achieve a memorable guest experience.

Create a cozy and inviting space

When guests enter the reception space, you want them to feel inspired and encouraged to dive in and participate. In order to create a welcoming and memorable reception, consider incorporating a few homey items that are out of the ordinary for a reception space. For example, we love to bring in lounge seating, complete with specialty lighting and side tables. A lounge creates an unexpected gathering place for guests, apart from the dance floor and table settings. It encourages intimate conversations and interactions uncommon to the standard wedding reception. It’s also a fun spot for candles, pictures and a beautiful floral installation.

Get creative with conversation pieces

We also love to have custom pieces built for a reception space; think round bars to fit perfectly under a chandelier or (my new favorite) a hanging installation. We just completed a custom installation over a dance floor, covered in florals and hanging votives. It was the focal point of the reception and a conversation piece that set the mood for the reception. An added bonus – a custom built piece is the perfect way to distinguish your wedding reception from the dozens held in the space before yours.

Tie your wedding design into your guest tables

Since your guest tables take up a majority of the room in the reception area, use them to your advantage. We recently worked with a bride looking to create an outdoor garden feel in a ballroom. It is possible! To transform the space, we brought in huge leafy branches that extended toward the ceiling and filled the space, grass table runners and lots of candlelight.

Creating a statement with your guest tables is an easy way to create impact upon arrival into the reception space. If you would like for your tables to feel intimate and full, we recommend long rectangular tables. Nothing creates a wow factor like 30 place settings carefully laid out down a long table. I also encourage you to mix up the flow of the space, rethinking your layout, perhaps even adding in a few high rectangular tables and bistro sets to keep the space visually interesting.

Offer late night bites instead of traditional wedding favors

Think beyond the typical wedding favor options and opt for a midnight snack instead. Some couples have food trucks come at the end of the reception for guests to grab something to snack on for the ride home. Donuts also seem to be a treat that all of our clients and their guests are currently loving, and we can see why. We’ve even had clients order customized donuts in the shape of their last initial. Any easy-to-grab treat is a hit on the dance floor near the end of the night and something that your guests will fondly remember.