Pick a Theme
Have you ever daydreamed of marrying on a hillside in full Renaissance attire? Perhaps you're a country music lover and enjoy a Western flair. Or maybe you dream of visiting the Polynesian islands, but lack the funds to make your dream come true. Never fear--a themed wedding reception can be anything you want it to be.
Once you have a few ideas, think about how you can incorporate your dream theme into your reception. For example, a Renaissance reception can include juicy meats and turkey or a delicious shepherd's pie for dinner. Encourage your guests to wear Renaissance-type attire (be sure to include this idea on your wedding invitations). If the reception is being held indoors, make use of candlelight (be sure candles are safely up and out of the way and are set in fire-proof holders).
An island reception theme can include delicious pineapple and papaya chunks over ice cream for desert. Decorate the tables with exotic flowers if this is within your budget. Include island-style music for an island wedding reception that will be a hit with your guests.
Theme ideas for a wedding reception are virtually endless. Be creative and find ways to incorporate your theme into your wedding without breaking your budget.
Unique favors can add flavor to your wedding reception. A simple idea is to take a traditional favor?for example, wrapped candy or a photo of the two of you?and write the guest's name and your names on the outside. Use a calligraphy pen; these are relatively inexpensive and with a little practice, you will be a pro.
If you're going with a theme for your reception, the favors can reflect this. A sports-theme wedding will be fun and memorable when the guest receives his or her personalized football or catcher's mitt. A favorite country-western music tape or CD will add flair to your Western wedding.
If you're handy, you can even make your own favors. Small crocheted pillows with your wedding date embroidered on the back make for keepsakes. You can also paint pre-stamped wooden or pre-molded ceramic picture frames.
Center of Attention
Flowers aren't the only wedding reception centerpiece anymore. Unique centerpieces include small stuffed animals; small live potted plants, such as cactus; snow globes with a bride and groom inside; or a collection of multicolored autumn leaves and delicious, spicy potpourri for a fall wedding.
Customs and Traditions
If you're the traditional type, you can include your favorite songs, dances and even games into your wedding reception. Perhaps your family has always had sing-alongs at special times; encourage your guests to do the same in a riotous and fun round of song. If you are religious, add special touches, such as lighting candles, to your wedding reception. Include Grandma's special Hungarian dish as dessert rather than white cake, or serve latkes as an appetizer.
For dessert, try delicious petit fours or fancy bakery cookies. Homemade desserts can be an even more intimate idea, but you'll be busy at wedding time, so ask for the help of friends and loved ones in this endeavor.
Homemade ice cream can be a delicious dessert idea, and can actually be more economical than the traditional multi-tiered cake. Add some fresh fruit on the side.
Strike Up the Band
If friends or family members are musically inclined, have them put in a song or two. Don't ask them to be the band for the entire wedding reception; this would be taxing for your guests. However, they will be honored if you ask them for a special tune during your reception.
Before they leave the wedding reception, ask your guests to sign their names and a brief sentiment to a piece of parchment. You can buy or make a beautiful frame for the parchment to create a unique memento of your special day. This will make the perfect ending to your special day.