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We’ve all been to those weddings where everyone stays in groups of people they already know rather than mingling with people they know less well or not at all. While socializing can be scary as it requires putting yourself out there and the fear of rejection, it makes for an atmosphere that is more fun and inclusive when your guests socialize at your wedding reception, after-party and more. I would want this welcoming dynamic for my big day. So, how do brides and grooms encourage guests to socialize among themselves?
Disclosure: Get tons of social suggestions in this post sponsored by Wedding Photo Swap.
Start with the Engagement Party
Before the wedding, guests may have the opportunity to meet at an engagement party. The bachelorette and bachelor parties are other events where they can meet one another. Being in the same room with people you don’t know can be awkward but you as the bride (or groom) can help break the ice by introducing people.
An example of an effective introduction would be, “this is Sheila, who I hike with sometimes” for when you introduce her to someone who is an outdoor enthusiast. In other words, create common ground between them through the introductions. You might start an enthralling conversation between them and then come wedding day they’ll be more likely to socialize amongst themselves rather than standing awkwardly apart.
A Photo Booth
Make the wedding reception a blast by incorporating a photo booth. It makes for a memorable event, rather than a stuffy, boring one that people can’t wait to leave or don’t remember 6 months from now (who wants that?). Believe me when I say that people get silly – both kids and adults – when they use these booths, and they’ll be laughing and talking to one another as they take group pics. Many photo booth rentals now include props, from funny glasses to boas. All of this encourages people to share in the good times and get out of their usual groups. The fun poses can spur creativity too. And the photo quality has come a long way; most booths produce professional-grade photos.
Then when your guests look at the photos after the event, they can reminisce about the wedding. And you won’t have to miss out on seeing any of these wedding photos either if you encourage guests to upload their pics to Wedding Photo Swap. Invite guests by email or paper invite cards to submit their photographs and create private online albums with them. You’ll see images taken at the photo booth and other places that you might otherwise have missed out on seeing. The online photo albums are a fun way to remember the special day and brings guests together as they look at the wedding pics.
Spread out the Food and Drink
By “spread out the food and drink,” I mean to physically spread out the offerings at the reception or another wedding-related event. Have a separate table for wine than for beer, for instance. Do the same with the food, such as one table for desserts and a separate area for appetizers, if there is available space. This layout encourages movement between your guests. They may catch one another’s eye and start talking as they move about to get food and drink.
This tip is especially good because when you plan ahead with the layout, then you won’t have to work at personally starting conversations between guests who are new to each other during the event. Doing so frees you up to do as you please, which is a good thing as these are important events for the special couple.
Another pre-planned option is to seat wedding guests outside of their normal groupings. Get creative and group them according to their hobbies, for example. They’ll likely find out that the person to their right or left has a lot in common with them in no time. To give your guests a clue about how they’ve grouped them, you could provide clever nicknames for each table that tip them off to what they have in common. Doing so ought to get the conversation ball rolling.
Encourage your guests to socialize more with these tips for wedding events like the reception. I would use each of these suggestions in my ideal wedding, so that’s why I’ve included them here. May you have a delightful time – and your guests have fun socializing too!