As the day gets closer, you’re bound to find yourself wondering how friends and family are going to get on with each other. Some guests will feel like complete strangers to everyone else. Others have probably known each other for years, with all the joys and political issues that might raise! But remember, it’s your day, and everyone who accepts your invitation is there to help you celebrate. So we’ve come up with a few suggestions to encourage your guests to mingle and get into the spirit of things, without forcing anyone to get out of their comfort zone. Not all ideas will suit every wedding reception, but at Tower Hill Barns we’re used to the whole range of preferences – formal, extravagant, quirky, minimal and everything in between. See what you can do with these suggestions to tailor them specially to suit your event.
Have a guest book at your reception for comments and good wishes!
The great thing about a guest book is that it allows everyone’s personality to shine forth. Well, that’s the theory. If you leave the book open on a lonely table with a bunch of flowers and a pen, it will probably just result in most people forgetting to sign, not realising it’s there, individuals signing on behalf of a couple or whole family, or the dutiful few adding a fleeting comment as they rush back to friends. On the other hand, pass it round towards the end of the meal when the wine is being downed and the table banter is in full flow, and your guest book comments are more likely to have the benefit of friendly peer pressure making sure that everyone signs, with guests trying to outdo each other with wit, nostalgic memories, sincerity and fun. You could even appoint a friend to be in charge of the book to make sure it gets passed round to every guest before they leave.
Research some top wedding photo apps to use on the day
Many people nowadays prefer to ban technology at the table, but you might decide to positively encourage it at your wedding function when you see some of the apps available to encourage social interaction. Plan in advance and you’ll be able to print out and distribute the pass codes for uploading onto every table, then with any luck you’ll end up with a precious online album combining wedding snaps from multiple guests. In some cases you can even add biographies, anecdotes and other information to the photo uploads – and best of all, many of the apps are free! With so many photos uploaded, why not introduce a competitive edge and announce you’ll award prizes for the best shots relating to different categories: most friendly group table shot, most ambitious dance move, most unlikely photograph of the day, or perhaps the photo with the most people in it. A competition like that is a great way to stir up some creative energies and team work, as well as giving people something to discuss and look forward to in the weeks after the wedding, while they’re waiting for the results to be in.
Opt in or opt out fun activities for younger wedding guests – and older ones too
It can prove a long day for children at a wedding. However hard you try to make them feel at home, it’s not necessarily the case that they’ll laugh at the speeches, enjoy the traditional wedding cake or sit quietly through the ceremony. You might find some parents decide to bring books and toys – or even resort to emergency solutions by setting up an iPad with a movie and headphones just to get their little ones through the day without causing too much fuss for everyone else. But wouldn’t it be great if you could find ways to keep younger guests engaged in the wedding itself, as well as with other younger guests. If you’re planning a wedding in the sunnier months of the year, why not consider some oversized games in the garden – enormous Jenga, snakes and ladders or even a bouncy castle! Keep the children happy and engaged and you’ll have their parents on side with you too. Just remember health and safety, and make sure any activities are well managed and properly supervised.
It’s well worth taking some time before the wedding to plan activities and ideas like these, so make sure you’re thinking through the whole day to make the best use of all our Tower Hill Barns facilities. They’re exclusively yours on the day!