Lights, Camera, Action! | A Unique Reception Has Action

Written by on June 25, 2012 in Wedding Decor, Wedding Food, Wedding Reception with 1 Comment

unique weddings have actionOne element that makes receptions unique is action, movement. It is an idea that is finally catching on after years and years of traditional have-to’s and must-haves reigning supreme. It is also a key element to a unique wedding. What do I mean by action? I’ve coordinated, catered and hosted a lot of weddings in my 20+ years in the industry but I want to share one that is in my top 3 favorites of all time. Allow me set the scene…

First – Great Expectations

Lots of weddings have guests arrive to a cocktail hour where they can mix and mingle and get to know one another or meet new people. Just when this is going well, lots of action, it’s time to find your table for the 3, 4 or more course meal to start.

Now, your guests are sitting for hours with only their table mates to talk too. This is the norm, expected with most receptions. As a unique bride, you want to break out of this mold — create a different, unexpected atmosphere with your unique wedding reception. That was the goal of this young couple and I was excited to help bring their dream to life.

Deliver the Unexpected

One way you can break away from the expected is to host a reception that embraces change, action and movement. The bride, groom and I worked to create the vision they had in their heads and it turned out perfect for them.

unique wedding ideas actionThe couple was married outside at our golf course. They carefully choose an era that was off to itself and delivered the tranquil feel they wanted. It was characterized with a back drop of mature trees, lush lawn and tons of natural beauty in the view.

We swagged fabrics and strung flowers on fishing line from the lower branches to create an alter of nature. The brides’ dress was a flowing chiffon fabric that was breath taking in the gentle breeze. Guests sat on white folding chairs on either side of an aisle created with flower blooms and bird seed. It was simple, elegant and gorgeous.

It was a short walk to the clubhouse where the reception was taking place, but we arranged for a few golf carts and drivers to deliver some of the older and challenged guests to the reception. As guests entered the building  they were met by wait staff bearing an assortment of cool, refreshing drinks — strawberry lemonade, beer, peach tea, white wine, Shirley Temples and a fruity concoction the bride and groom used as their signature drink.

unique weddings drinksThis small gesture was huge to the guests. After sitting in the sun before and during the ceremony, they really appreciated not having to stand in line for a drink or trying to find a member of the wait staff to place a drink order. They hadn’t even found their tables yet but were being made to feel welcome and special.

The room was set up to create different areas of action. (See floor plan below.) The guest tables were in the upper- center so they could have a great vantage point for every area of the reception. At the end of the room opposite the entrance was the dance floor and DJ. On either side of the dance floor were pub tables with no chairs — perfect for watching the dancers and having a place to set your drink.

At the entrance end of the room, we had a guest book vignette, photo booth set-up, lounge area and bar as well as the cake and dessert buffet — as a centerpiece of the decor.

unique weddings food stationsThe food was set up at stations. This couple was very exact in what they wanted for food — something different. We had a pizza station that featured an assortment of flat bread pizza, a pasta station with lots of different sauces and pasta to choose from as well as a fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese chunks and crackers station that was a big hit. A non-alcoholic drink station was set up in one of the front corners and offered peach tea, strawberry lemonade, punch and bottles of water.

Additionally, wait staff walked around with platters of quartered Ruben and Rachel sandwiches held together with frilly toothpicks, stuffed mushroom caps and BBQ pork sliders. The entire menu was chosen because they were favorites of the bride and groom — comfort foods.

Shortly after the guests arrived, we populated all the food stations and started the hand passed appetizers. The food was served and refilled for 2 hours. At that point, we closed the food stations and the couple cut their small wedding cake among much fanfare from the guests. This signaled the opening of the dessert station. It remained open all evening and even offered small, square to-go boxes for guests to take some sweets home.

At about 10PM, we re-populated the three food stations with assorted chips, pretzels, peanuts and dips. This remained open for the rest of the reception.

The Result – Unique, Different, Memorable

All I heard all evening from guests were comments like “This is how a reception should be” and “The best reception I’ve ever been to”. The guests used their tables as a home-base, if you will, but were up walking, talking, filling plates, dancing, getting their picture taken, relaxing in the lounge or watching the dancers and evening. It was more of an interactive wedding reception and the guests appreciated it very much.

Being stuck at a table all night because a multi-course, plate served meal is taking the majority of the evening is not for everyone. Unique brides still serve their guests great food but they do it in an unexpected  and fun manner.

Maybe this idea will work for you — maybe not. However, I bet it gets you to looking at ways you can shake up the norm and stand out in the crowd. We all want our weddings to be memorable for guests. Try adding some unique elements and your guests will remember!

unique weddings action floor plan

Images: 1. Wedding Photo: © Caranica Nicolae | Dreamstime.com  2. Outside wedding: © Dtguy | Dreamstime.com  3. Drinks © Aquariagirl1970 | Dreamstime.com  4. Tracy Hunter at Flickr  5. Mandee Sears, Unique Wedding Ideas

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About the Author

About the Author: With 20+ years in the wedding and event industry, I have seen a lot of unique, unusual and funky weddings. Every one of them were a journey of discovery and a reflection of the bride and groom. I had a ball and am now passing along some of those pearls of wisdom to today's brides and grooms. A wedding is personal -- it's about the two of you and your relationship -- let's make it as unique and offbeat as you each are! .

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  1. Make Your Menu Unique | Unique Wedding Ideas | July 17, 2013

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