From talent shows to trivia quizzes, here are a few creative ways to keep guests entertained and engaged, while observing health and safety protocols whatever your state’s restrictions are.
By Daniel Bortz
Weddings with packed dance floors have become a thing of the past because of the coronavirus pandemic, especially as many states continue to limit indoor occupancy. This means couples will need to find some other creative ways to keep their guests safely entertained and engaged.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are 10 fun games and activities you can incorporate into a socially distanced wedding reception.
Love vino? Jennifer Cress, the digital content director at Martha Stewart Weddings, suggests letting guests sample several of your favorite wines during cocktail hour. And if you want to spice things up, make the tasting blindfolded and have participants guess whether the wine is red or white, its country of origin, what year the wine was produced, and the variety of grape.
Let friends and family showcase their hidden skills in an old-school talent show. To encourage guests to participate let them know ahead of time — on your wedding invitations, for example — so they can prepare. Ana Bowens and Benjamin Schenk, both 30, hosted a talent show at their wedding in Brooklyn in November. About half of their guests participated, including the groom’s sisters, who tap-danced, and “two friends who sang snippets from songs that chronicled different phases of our relationship,” Ms. Bowens said. “We gave an award to the most impressive personal protective equipment ensemble, which went to a friend who wore a bedazzled mask and helmet.”
Tarot Card Readings
Hiring someone to perform tarot card readings is a fun activity that allows for social distancing. Expect to pay around $150 to $300 an hour. You can find a tarot card reader in your area on Yelp.
A throwback to the party game Mad Libs, this activity gives guests the opportunity to offer you marriage advice in a clever format. You can order a customized Guest Libs design through Hello Rose Paperie on Etsy ($3.75) and then print copies yourself. Brenda Garcia, the Etsy shop’s owner, said Guest Libs also “serve as a funny keepsake for the newlyweds.”
Wedding Speech Bingo
Despite every best man and maid of honor’s intentions, wedding speeches can be a bore. One way to keep guests engaged is by playing speech bingo. When guests hear a specific phrase in a speech (“looks stunning,” “raise a glass,” “on a serious note”), they mark it off on their card, and the first person to fill the bingo board and shout “Bingo!” wins. “It’s definitely not just for grandpa,” said Alex Dulac, the founder of the Plunge, a wedding website for grooms. “It can get pretty competitive. It’s social and everybody knows the rules.” You can order downloadable bingo cards, with 10 different layouts, through OhHappy Printables on Etsy ($6.92).
Test your guests’ knowledge of wedding-themed trivia with this table-side game. You can purchase a downloadable quiz from Print GoGo on Etsy ($8.37). Round 1 poses questions such as, “‘Get Me to the Church on Time” is a song composed and written for what musical?” and “Name the Greek equivalent of the Roman God Cupid?” Give the winner a cute prize, like a bag of Hershey’s Kisses.
He Said, She Said
How well do your friends and family know you? You’ll find out during a game of He Said, She Said, designed by ShowerThatBrideShop on Etsy ($4). The game asks guests to match quotes, such as “I met the in-laws first” and “I take longer to get ready” to the brides or grooms.
This is a popular game at wedding receptions, and for good reason — it’s a lot of laughs. The newly wedded couple sits on chairs that are back to back so they can’t see each other. Both remove their shoes and hand one to the partner. Then an M.C. asks a series of questions, and each spouse raises his or her shoe or the spouse’s shoe, depending on whose tendencies are being described. Some examples: “Who snores the loudest?” “Who takes up more than half of the bed?” “Who is more romantic?”
Send guests home with a special party favor by hiring a caricature artist to draw funny sketches of them. Some artists, like Julia Kelly of San Diego, allow couples to create and print a personalized wedding logo that would appear on each caricature. Caricaturists charge, on average, $100 to $200 an hour for events.
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