Make sure everyone is having the best time from the moment cocktail hour starts to when the after-party ends.
Photography: KT Merry
While it can be easy to get lost in color palettes and décor ideas, one thing is for certain: Most couples really just want to make sure their guests have a great time at their wedding. One of the best ways to do so is by thinking about the overall experience each guest will have. If your biggest concern is that the entire day feels like a true party, focus the bulk of your planning efforts around the crowd-pleasing elements of the day, meaning your food and drinks, entertainment, and guest-related amenities.
In other words, pay attention to your dance floor, choose a band that's known to bring the fun, and make sure guests have plenty to keep them occupied. To help you throw a wedding that's action-packed from the moment guests arrive through to the very last song, we asked eleven experts to share their best tips for planning a party that really pops. Here, expert advice for planning the type of wedding that will have guests saying, "That was so fun," for years to come.
Greet Guests with Cocktails to Get the Party Started Right Away
"At Pippin Hill, we believe that the best parties begin with a warm welcome. That's why we recommend greeting each and every wedding guest with a glass of our signature Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. This added touch never ceases to impress wedding guests and it puts everyone in a celebratory mood from the minute they arrive. What better way to set the tone of the evening than with some bubbly?"—Brianna Sumey, Director of Sales, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
Photography: Kristen Kilpatrick
"We suggest focusing your décor and design around the entertainment. If your crowd enjoys a cocktail or two, a central bar is an excellent way to show your guests you considered them in the design, and that the focus is to have a good time. "—Elizabeth Lewis, Owner & Creative Director, The Nouveau Romantics
Photography: Jasmine Star Photography3 of 11
Embrace the Local Culture
"Embrace the culture of your wedding location. In Mexico, make sure you have a mariachi band for the cocktail hour or in Italy, hire a local string quartet for the rehearsal dinner."—Julian Leaver of The Dapper Diplomat
Photography: A Bryan Photo4 of 11
Minimize Speeches and Toasts
"Don't hamstring your entertainment. Take every roast, toast, and well-wisher and relegate those moments to another evening. Let the wedding night be about food, booze, and cutting a rug, and tailor the agenda accordingly. You'll get more play time from your band, and they'll thank you for giving them ample time to strut their stuff."—Calder Clark, Owner & Creative Director, Calder Clark
Photography: Kristin La Voie Photography5 of 11
"Millennials want to party! Weddings have trended away from a long, formal dinner with four courses to more of a quick meal that allows them to get out to the dance floor as fast as possible. Make sure that your caterer is able to accommodate a faster dinner service by properly staffing the event. It might save you money to have less waiters per guest, but in order to ensure smooth service of the entire room—which will get your guests up and out on the dance floor sooner—more wait staff is better."—Matt Morgan, Senior Sales Consultant, Blue Plate Catering
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Photography: Parker J Pfister Photography6 of 11
Entertain Guests with Props
"Anything that lights up (safely) is a great idea for the dance floor! Pass out glow sticks, glow sunglasses, or light up tambourines to keep everyone dancing and laughing."—Melissa Porter, Managing Partner & Planner, Asheville Event Co.
Photography: Elisa Bricker8 of 11
"Create a comfortable space! This couple chose a beautiful custom dance floor and floral background for the young and spry to dance the night away, but also made sure there were seating areas where you could put up your feet or observe nearby as well."—Elisa Bricker, Owner/Lead Photographer, Elisa Bricker
Photography: Jen Fariello Photography9 of 11
Keep the Party Going with a Silent Disco
"Silent Discos are a fantastic way to keep the party going, especially if your venue has time restrictions for the amplified music! Your guests will love this unique experience, and the pictures are priceless!"—Adam Donovan-Groves, Wedding Planner, Donovan-Groves Events
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"Late-night snacks are a stylish and delicious way to end the evening. After drinking and dancing all night, guests will certainly appreciate a tasty late-night bite. Serve them on the dance floor or package them up in a fun and creative way for guests to enjoy on the ride home."—Lynn Easton, Owner, Easton Events
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Photography: Kerry Jeanne Photography11 of 11
Have a Great Send-Off
"Why not say au revoir to your guests with a grand finale fireworks show? The impressiveness of a well-designed fireworks display will never go out of style, and it will send your guests home wishing they didn't have to leave!"—Aleah & Nick Valley, Owners, Valley & Company Events