23 Ways to Impress Your Guests

Want to leave memorable, lasting impressions on your wedding guests? Want your reception to stand out in a sea of receptions? Look no further. From unique seating charts and interactive drink stations to singing waiters, delight and surprise your guests with these inventive ideas for food, drinks and just plain fun.

ONE | Surprise Dance

Before the big day, secretly take tango lessons and then surprise guests by performing a choreographed routine for your first dance. They’ll be applauding at every turn.

TWO | Basket of Comfort

To keep your guests Comfortable all day (especially for outdoor events), fill a welcome basket with the essentials, such as handy wipes, bug spray, spray-on sunscreen, personalized water bottles, mints, etc. Or offer up a basket of flip-flops (in your wedding colors, of course) so guests can kick their shoes off.

THREE | Family Tree Seating Chart

Create a seating chart that not only reveals who sits where, but also how everyone is related or connected. Use a map to show where everyone has come from or photos of each guest to show your relationship with them. It's a great icebreaker for those who haven't already met.

FOUR | A Taste of Alaska

Treat your out-of-town guests to the local flavors like grilled Alaska salmon or halibut, king crab dip, locally brewed beer and blueberry wine. Send them home with a personalized bottle of wine made from local fruits, mini jars of salmonberry or blueberry jam, or chocolate-covered blueberries.

AT RIGHT: Treat guests to home-cooked favors. weddingstar.com

FIVE | Action Food

Consider action food stations, where guests are wowed while watching their meal or dessert being cooked. From freshly made pasta and grilled fajitas to stir-fry or Bananas Foster, there’s an option for every food palate. Or let guests “create” their own dinner, adding ingredients to build their own unique dish, such as mashed potato bars (where guests add their toppings).

SIX | Make the Drinks Interactive

Similar to food stations, why not incorporate a couple of drinks stations too! For example, a craft beer bar, a wine bar, or a mimosa bar where guests can add their own choice of fresh fruit and juices.

SEVEN | Get Inspired by the Season

In the fall and winter, pass around warm apple cider to guests upon their arrival, or set up a coffee/hot chocolate bar and include fun toppings like homemade whipped cream, cinnamon sticks, marshmallows, and chocolate shavings for guests to customize their creation. In the spring and summer, let guests help themselves to a create-your-own ice-cream sundae bar or gelato stand.

EIGHT | Dance Lessons

Hire dance instructors to teach guests how to swing, salsa, boot-scoot or polka. There's no better way to get everybody on the dance floor!

NINE | Signed Keepsake

Instead of a traditional guest book, have guests sign their messages on a personalized item that can be displayed in your home afterwards. They could sign the matte around a photo of the two of you, or write on a surfboard, musical instrument, white cowboy boots – whatever suits you and your groom. Fun for guests and a great keepsake for you!

ABOVE: Make the drinks interactive with a personalized "beer bar." See more of this wedding here. Photo credit: Mary Brunst Photography.

TEN | Keep the Little Guests Happy Too

Create a special kids’ corner, complete with child-friendly arts and crafts, movies, coloring books, bubbles, snacks, etc. For outdoor events, consider renting a bounce house. Hire a babysitter (or two) to supervise.

ELEVEN | Cultural Entertainment

Incorporate your heritage into your reception entrance, such as bagpipers or a mariachi band.

TWELVE | Piece Your Love Together

Have a photo of yourself and your groom blown up and made into a jigsaw puzzle. Let guests assemble the work of art.

THIRTEEN | Surprise Singers

Hire a group of singers for the reception who disguise themselves as wait staff. When the DJ plays a certain song, they grab a microphone and break out into song or dance during dinner.

FOURTEEN | Hit the Lawn

During the cocktail hour, keep guests entertained with some lawn games – an easy ice breaker for those who might not know a lot of people. Games like croquet, mini-golf, oversized board games, giant jenga, hula hoops, ring toss and giant dominos are always a favorite.

FIFTEEN | Moving Music

During your first dance, add some extra excitement to the moment by showing a montage of photos of the two of you growing up and then together set to music.

SIXTEEN | Color Your Story

Share your love story with a custom coloring book for the kids' table.

SEVENTEEN | Their Song

Include song request cards with your RSVP cards. You’ll be sure to get everyone out on the dance floor when you play their favorite tunes.

EIGHTEEN | Home-cooked Favors

Have your favorite bakery (or your grandma) whip up mini-sized pecan pies, bundt cakes or fruit tarts to treat your guests at the end of the night. For extra credit, give guests the recipe, or share a story about your memories baking as a child on a framed sign displayed on the dessert table.

NINETEEN | Scream, You Scream

Bring out the fun-loving kid in your wedding guests with a visit from an ice cream truck or an old-fashioned ice cream cart.

TWENTY | Anniversary Dance

to honor those couples that have lasted the test of time. For fun, the DJ starts eliminating couples from the dance floor, starting with “those that have been married for less than 2 hours,” then moves on to less than five years, 10 years and so on. The longest married couple is asked to give the newlyweds a few words of wisdom. For an extra special touch, offer a small gift to this couple such as a bottle of wine or flowers.

TWENTYONE | Fun Photo Op

Place a trunk full of silly props on the dance floor. Guests can try on hats, masks, boas and oversize sunglasses, and "play" faux guitars.

TWENTYTWO | Circle of Friends

At the end of the night, you might invite them to the dance floor to form a big circle and dance together to a song like “That’s What Friends Are For” or “Friends In Low Places.”

TWENTYTHREE | Grand Getaway

For a different grand exit, race through a tunnel of swords, ski poles, boat oars, LED balloons, glowing light sabers or wedding sparklers.