9 Unique Wedding Reception Ideas to Make Your Day Extra Special

Updated 11/26/17

When you're tying the knot, the ceremony is just the beginning. So many memories are made when guests gather together at the reception, joining you in your first few hours of marriage and celebrating your new union. Admittedly, planning a wedding reception can be overwhelming—from table arrangements to seating charts to catering, a lot of things can stack up and leave you less eager to flex your creative muscles. But incorporating unique wedding reception ideas into your wedding need not take too much added effort or planning, and the results will be well worth it.

We had co-founder and creative director Amanda Dawbarn of wedding experts 100 Layer Cake dish on nine unique wedding reception ideas to make your big day extra special. From surprising guests by thinking outside the box to curating Instagrammable moments that will become indelible memories, there are so many original ways to make your wedding day uniquely unforgettable.

Head below for nine unique wedding reception ideas for every kind of couple.

creative wedding reception decor
Kate Webber via 100 Layer Cake

"Surprise your guests with something unexpected in the décor, like this paper butterfly installation," suggests Dawbarn.

wedding reception backdrop
Paige Jones via 100 Layer Cake

"Guests will be taking photos all night—especially if you have a hashtag for them—so be sure to have an IG-worthy backdrop," reminds Dawbarn.

unique wedding reception activities
Megan Welker via 100 Layer Cake

"Lawn games are a classic reception activity for kids and adults alike," notes Dawbarn. "There are tons of ways to customise or DIY them."

wedding reception photo booth
Melissa Fuller via 100 Layer Cake

"Every wedding has a photo booth these days, but you can personalise it to fit your theme like this boho vintage van," suggests Dawbarn.

wedding reception lounge idea
Birds of a Feather via 100 Layer Cake

"Cosy lounge areas make it easy for guests to mingle," explains Dawbarn. They also "give off that intimate dinner party vibe so many of our couples want for their weddings."

unique wedding reception decor
Jenn Emerling via 100 Layer Cake

"If you have a midcentury-modern theme in mind, try geometric accents on your tablescape," encourages Dawbarn. "They made such a good complement to lush or vibrant florals!"

personalized wedding reception decor
Irene Fucci via 100 Layer Cake

"Another IG-worthy décor option is oversize signage or your initials as installations at the venue," says Dawbarn.

unique wedding reception venue
Annie McElwain via 100 Layer Cake

"And, of course, choosing an unconventional venue is one huge way to make your reception stand out," assures Dawbarn. "This wedding at Big Daddy's Antiques was a total hit with guests."

unique outdoor wedding reception venue
Jose Villa via 100 Layer Cake

"You can do the same with an outdoor venue by finding a unique location within your chosen property to lay out the tables or bar area," says Dawbarn.

Now check out the wedding checklist that will help you say "I do" sans stress.

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