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Top 5 games to play at your wedding reception

by | 3 September 2016 | Inspiration

Some wedding receptions are a blast, right from the off. Others take a while to build an atmosphere or can have a bit of a lull in the middle. So let’s take a look at some fun games you can play when you need to break some ice or inject some energy into the room.

Reception games can be great when done well – and a bit of a nuisance when done badly. Timing’s important. So is flexibility. If you have a fixed schedule for game-playing, you risk dragging people away from a reception that’s already bopping along nicely.

You’re better off having everything in place for some quick, fun games your guests can play if they want to or if you think it fits the mood. Here are some of our suggestions.

1. ‘How well do you know the bride and groom?’ quiz

With a lot of games, it’s difficult to make them relate to the event and to the couple. No such problem here though. You run it basically like a big pub quiz in which all the questions are about the newlyweds. And because people are assembled into teams, it’s a good ice breaker.

You can spice it up by asking all your guests to recall embarrassing stories about the bride and groom when they return their RSVPs. Then you can present the stories as “was it the bride or groom who once…” questions.

If you’re willing to put in the work, you can even have visual elements and props. You could, for example, project slightly obscured baby photos and get the guests to guess whether it’s the bride or groom.

Pros: Very flexible – you can keep it clean and competitive or silly and saucy. Anyone can play.

Cons: Takes over the entire room so no one can dance or mingle.

Mr and Mrs chairs

2. Giant garden games

Pretty much does what it says on the tin – giant Jenga, giant Connect Four, giant Twister and such. We especially like giant Jenga, and giant Space Hoppers could be great fun after a few drinks.

To get these games working best, you’ll need to have a careful list for who’s playing what. If you’re set on match-making, get all the single guests playing giant Twister. For the cerebral types, making people play giant chess in small teams would be an interesting challenge.

Pros: Great for kids. Genuinely competitive.

Cons: Lots of equipment to lug around. Very weather dependant if you’re playing outside.

Giant garden games

3. Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens

Two hilarious board games – one suitable for kids and one very much not so. This is straight-off-the-shelve amusement. Just look at the seating plan and decide which game suits each table, then plonk the cards in the middle and let the laughs begin.

Cards Against Humanity is basically build-a-burger for dirty jokes. It’s quick and easy to learn, so your guests can be cracking each other up with horribly offensive answers to simple questions in minutes.

Exploding Kittens is a gloriously silly version of a fairly traditional card game. Safe for kids and filled with magical meat bikinis, portable cheetah butts, nope-ninjas and pyrotechnic kittens.

Pros: Instant hilarity. Barely any prep.

Cons: Bit pricey to buy several of each game. Some very stuffy parents could kick up a fuss over Exploding Kittens’ mild naughtiness.

4. The paper bag game

We read about this on a message board and thought it was hilarious. It’s basically a prank to play on the groom.

The DJ tells the groom and his groomsmen that they’re having a ‘blind dance off’, in which every competitor wears a bag over their head. The DJ says he (or she) will tap someone on the shoulder every 30 seconds to eliminate them.

But here’s the twist: all the groomsmen are in on it, and as soon as the dance off starts, they just stand still and watch the groom. So the groom ends up dancing alone with a bag on his head, thinking he’s winning.

The pros: Utterly hilarious.

The cons: You really need the right kind of groom to take this in good spirit. Also, if he twigs early on, the whole thing falls flat.

5. You Seem Awesome

You’ve probably never heard of this game – because we just made it up. Here’s how it works:

You give little cards out to guests at the start of the reception. The cards tell them to seek out a person of a particular likeable trait and give them a specific challenge. A card, for example, might say “find someone who [has great hair] and challenge them to [list five country names beginning with T in 30 seconds].” Or it might be “Find someone who [looks fun] and challenge them to [tell you their best joke].”

If the person passes the challenge, they get to keep the card, meaning they’ll see what nice quality led them to be picked. If they fail the challenge, they’ll never know. But even if they politely refuse to play, they’ll still know that being given a challenge is a compliment.

The pros: Good ice breaker and friend maker. Excellent flirting tool.

The cons: Has literally never been played by anyone, ever. So nobody knows exactly how it goes down.

You seem awesome cat

What games have you played at wedding receptions? Did they make the occasion better or worse? Let us know in the comments.

About the author

Matt Phil Carver

Matt’s a copywriter and blogger from West Sussex, England. He spends his days helping people simplify their writing and give their words more punch and personality. At weddings, Matt’s always quick to get up and dance, even when the vicar’s telling him to wait for the reception.

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Inspiration Top 5 games to play at your wedding reception