If you feel like you and all of your friends are getting engaged and married at once, you're not alone. In fact, many couples report a three-year stretch during which they're attending a wedding every other weekend. When that's the case, it can be hard for a couple to sneak in any surprises for guests—when everyone's getting married, it's hard to find ideas that stand out! But when you are able to work in an unexpected detail, it's nearly always the thing everyone remembers. To help inspire your own unique celebration, wedding planners share their favorite ways to surprise your guests at your wedding reception.
Wedding planner Amy Nichols of Amy Nichols Special Events says, "Unusual entertainment is always good for a surprise, provided that your venue is cool with it!" She recommends something that can serve as a big "wow" moment, like confetti canons or late-night fireworks. As for live entertainment, she'll often add additional singers to a live band later in the evening, or take the entertainment up a notch with a surprise celebrity performer.
Wedding planner and stylist Jessica Sloane encourages her clients to sneak in an unexpected gift. For a recent wedding in California (where recreational marijuana use is legal), she says, "The welcome bags were filled with all kinds of gifts, but a special surprise was the customized vape pens with the couple's monogram and CBD and THC cartridges." If that's not your style, a unique treat (like sundaes from the ice cream shop where you had your first date!) would be just as appreciated.
A Meaningful Performance
Fancy yourself a performer? Sing a song to your new wife, spin a DJ set, or coordinate a dance performance your entire wedding party. A performance by the couple is the last thing your guests will expect when attending your wedding reception. Better yet, get everyone on board with a flash mob and surprise your better half with it.
Interactive Food Stations
Food stations that require a bit of interaction between guests and servers are a great way to create some buzz to your event. "Mobile oyster shucking, an ice luge with a specialty cocktail, or a whiskey tasting after dinner always makes for an extra fun evening," says Nichols. For an elegant addition to a late-night lounge room, you might bring in rolling antique cocktail carts, or have an interactive dessert station with a chef firing up bananas foster or making homemade ice cream with liquid nitrogen.