It’s when you hear a buzz of conversation and laughter at a party that you know everything is going swingingly.  People are having fun.

And that’s just the atmosphere you want to create at your wedding reception.The thing is, you’ll have gathered together a group of people who may not know one another and to get the conversation started, they need to find some common ground. In addition, some guests may not speak the local language and may feel a little isolated so you need to make them feel included.

The best way of doing all this is to throw some ice-breakers into the mix. That’s doing a few things designed to get people talking naturally.  Much as you’d like to go around introducing everyone, you’re not going to be able to at your wedding reception. So here are a few ideas to get them in the party mood, laughing and bonding over shared experiences.

  • Hire a professional magician to mingle with the guests. This is a great idea for your drinks reception. People will naturally gather round to watch him or her perform the magic tricks and your guests can shriek with disbelief together. A magician is also a sure fire way of entertaining children too and magic tricks cross all language barriers – even if a guest doesn’t speak much English they can still enjoy watching a conjurer.
  • Another way of getting people to chat once they arrive at their tables is to put a Trivial Pursuit question card at each place setting. People will naturally pick them up and start asking one another questions “Who knows the answer to …” Maybe ask everyone to divide up into teams of two or three (depending on the numbers you have around your table).
  • If you’ve decided to ask for donations to a charity instead of gifts, you could use fund raising creatively by playing the Heads or Tails game with £1 coins.  The money goes to charity and you could give the winner a small gift. You’ll find full instructions on playing this game here.
  • You could put a small envelope on the table with a secret about somebody sitting on the table and you all have to work out who it is. For example, it could say something like “somebody at this table does a great Beyoncé impression.”
  • Put a list of 25 statements and questions on the table which the guests then have to ask one another. They could be things like “Have you ever run a marathon?” or “Are you a dog or a cat person?”. This is a good way for guests to find something in common with one another.
  • Have a secret singing waiter or waitress. That’s somebody who’s dressed and acts like a normal waiter but the who suddenly bursts into a song and dance routine like a One Direction or Take That number. That’ll make your guests laugh and give them the best sort of surprise.
  • Put some silly props on the tables – wigs, geeky glasses, hats and ask guest to take selfies.
  • You could also put some sentence starter cards in a bowl saying things like “My worst nightmare would be” or “The funniest thing that ever happened to me was”. Guests have to read the sentence out loud in front of the rest of the table and complete it. It’s a sure fire way of getting to know all about your table companions quickly.
  • For your single friends – give them an alter ego on the seating plan, as part of a famous couple so they have to pair up. So you could put Claire Hawkins – Scarlett O’Hara and then another single “Tom Stevens – Rhett Butler” so the two arrive at the table together. It’s certain to make them talk to one another and laugh and your match-making could have a great result.

Being a good hostess is all about letting your guest feel comfortable and relaxed. Not everybody finds making small talk easy – many people are shy and so if you put some ice breakers like those above into the mix, you’ll be doing your part to get everybody mixing and mingling more easily.

If you need some props – like quiz cards or photo props – ask your local Ambience Venue Stylist who will have some good ideas to make your wedding reception go swingingly!

Featured image via Chapters Hotel