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How to host a Rocking Reception!

Rachel Moore

1. Hire a great band/DJ and play songs that will encourage guests to dance! You can show off your discerning musical taste some other time. If you want people to have a blast at your reception, play danceable music!

2. Don't give guests an excuse to leave the dance floor. Keep a bar open nearby so they can easily get a refill, and provide comfortable shoes for ladies who decide to kick off their heels (our current favorites are Rescue Flats).

3. Keep the surprises coming. Planning a fireworks display? Don't tell your guests beforehand. Let them be surprised!

4. Offer late-night food to keep guests fueled. Serve munchies (think: sliders, fries, pizza, milkshakes, etc.) about an hour before the end of the evening. You can even ask the catering staff to pass these alcohol-absorbing foods on the dance floor. Again, another reason your guests won't have to stop dancing!

5. Provide lounge seating near the dance floor. Even those dancing the night away may need to take a breather. With lounge seating near the dance floor, guests can relax while still feeling a part of the party.

6. Hand out party favors. Whether you pass out neon necklaces, custom sunglasses, awesome party hats, boas, or glow-in-the-dark musical instruments, your guests will love you for it. Plus, your photographer will capture awesome pictures of your grandmother rocking a funky mask!

7. Keep toasts short. Avoid open-mic night at all costs, and remember that it's quality -- not quantity -- that counts. Nothing puts a damper on a party faster than a series of long, inappropriate, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants toasts. Select individuals who will make meaningful toasts, and let them know that all speeches should be less than two minutes. Schedule most of the toasts for the rehearsal dinner, with just one or two reserved for the wedding reception. 

8. Offer something for "non-dancers" to do. Be sure to plan something for those who want to take a break from dancing. A photo booth, slow motion video, cigar roller, or butt sketch artist are great alternatives to keep people entertained.

9. Be discerning when making seating assignments. If you're arranging the seating, give careful thought to who you are placing next to whom. A well considered seating chart leads to a lively dinner, which leads to a great dance party, which results in an awesome wedding reception!

10. Plan a welcome reception. If you're limiting attendance to the rehearsal dinner, consider hosting a welcome reception for everyone after the dinner. This allows guests to get to know one another, so they can skip the introductions and go straight to celebrating when your reception rolls around!