Every couple wants to ensure their guests have fun from the moment they arrive at their wedding celebration to when they leave, and there are so many ways, big and small, to wow. From making a grand entrance to unexpected table games, we've made a list of 11 fun ways to surprise your guests on your wedding day. Some will need to be added to the wedding budget (more on how to work out a wedding budget here!) while others cost absolutely nothing at all. What we can guarantee is that these additions will raise a smile, a hearty laugh or a cheer from your guests. Read on to get planning your big reveal. Just don't forget to swear your other half to secrecy!
1. Make a Surprise Entrance
Bride or groom, who doesn't love a grand entrance? Viral clips of bridal parties dancing up the aisle are everywhere, so look to transport instead. It's lovely to be picked up and chauffeured to your reception, but this actually offers the perfect opportunity to surprise your wedding guests before they've even laid eyes on your outfit. Decorated trailers, wagons, horseback, bicycles, a fire truck, a motorbike with a sidecar, a tractor, a vintage double-decker bus or a vintage VW camper van ... if it's fun and you have access to it, then arrive with a bang! Everyone can pile back into the ceremony space when they've finished cheering!
2. Take Song Requests
No we don't mean everybody stands in line at the DJ box (even though that tends to happen anyway!). Taking a song request from your guests can be done in advance and then seamlessly woven into the wedding band or DJ's set. Simply, add a line on the RSVP where guests can fill in their song choice and watch their face light up when it starts to play!
3. Make Wedding Welcome Bags
The people you love can often travel long distances to be there on your wedding day, so what better way to surprise your VIP guests and also show them you appreciate their effort than by placing wedding welcome bags in their rooms. Add an extra special touch by choosing locally made or sourced items to the selection, and a handwritten welcome note. For other suggestions you can read our handy checklist of what to include in a wedding welcome bag here! This works really well for destination weddings, or for guests travelling from abroad.
4. Hire a Mixologist
If you've seen a great mixologist at work, you know they can get a crowd whooping with their fancy moves, even using visually stunning techniques involving fire and smoke! Not only this but they can create completely original concoctions and incorporate your personal story into their custom creations, while answering any questions your guests may have about different flavour pairings. In Ireland, check out Raise The Bar, Hire A Mixologist or All Bar None and in the UK, check out The Mixology Brothers and Mix and Twist.
5. Silent Cocktail Menu
Add intrigue to your day with a silent cocktail menu, which is also a great way to give a personal nod to your guests. How does a silent cocktail menu work you ask? Simply assign a special signature cocktail to each table, and place a card with a note of explanation as part of the table setting (like the one pictured above that says: "Secret squad surprise. Say table 11 at the bar for a luxury libation") so that your guests know something special awaits them. Did you spend an entire week in Italy together drinking Aperol Spritz? Or you how about an ingredient with a link to a place or thing with special significance to you all. Maybe you'll go all out and create something bespoke and name it after them. Either way, watch your guests gleefully hotfoot it to the bar to receive their surprise cocktail!
6. Plant Table Games
Placing games on each table is not only fun, but are a great way to loosen up the crowd, or act as icebreakers for guests who don't know each other. Create a themed trivia quiz, or print out Dingbats - visual word puzzles of famous sayings - for people to guess. Alternatively, you could play Irish Wedding Bingo (more on that, as well as a handy prinatable here!). One table game that's growing in popularity at weddings is the After Eight Challenge before the speeches. How does it work? Take an After Eight chocolate, place it on your forehead and attempt to get it into your mouth, without using your hands! Let's just say the photographs of this will be some of the funniest of the whole day. Make sure to have a little cup or token for the winner - they'll deserve it!
7. Get Creative With your Guest Book
Your guest book is one of the mementos you'll keep for years after the wedding, but it doesn't have to just be a decor focal point, as it can actually be a fun way to surprise your guests! Check out our 13 unique wedding guest book ideas which include everything from from piñatas to polaroids and even Jenga. Make sure to leave signage instructing your guests what to do, and ask someone in the bridal party to remind guests to sign, so it's full by the end of the day.
8. Get Creative With Speeches
When it comes to your wedding speeches don't be afraid to rip up the rule book. Sure you can have the usual suspects stand up to say a few prepared words, but why not open up the floor to other guests. An unexpected open mic session could result is some hilarious anecdotes being shared, and maybe even a few (happy) tears being shed. Needless to say, you don't have to stick rigidly to the traditional time or place for speeches either. Why not gather everyone outside if the weather is good, to say a few words before setting off some fireworks? Or even break up the speeches with unexpected entertainment! More on that below.
9. Create a Spot for R&R
While it might be high energy and shenanigans everywhere else, having somewhere quiet and comfortable to chill out can also be a nice surprise for guests. Creating a quiet room, or a space away from the dance floor, is great for older guests, those with social anxiety or sensory issues, or guests who are pregnant or breastfeeding. You can add cosy blankets if it's outdoors, or if it's indoors create a setting with low, ambient lighting, plenty of cushions and lay out some traditional board games or books as alternative activities.
10. Surprise Entertainment
These days couples are thinking beyond the band, and adding to their live wedding entertainment line up with less conventional acts like magicians, drag performers, mixologists, fire breathers, Celtic drummers and more. Check out our favourite unique wedding entertainment ideas to truly add the wow factor to your celebration and impress your guests, whatever their tastes, and yours, may be!
11. Book A Night Food Truck
Dancing is hungry work, and your guests will more than thank you for supplying any late-night snacks. Festival-style Wedding Food Trucks are a hot ticket right now, and you'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to stylish vehicles that have been converted to supply gourmet wood-fired pizzas, Mexican or Thai street food and even your favourite fast food on wheels! We've rounded up Ireland's best wedding food trucks for you to choose from, so your guests can go to bed (or keep going!) with full tums!
Looking for more fantastic wedding suppliers to surprise your guests on your wedding day? We've got them all here from unique entertainment, wedding bands and DJs, to yummy food trucks and transport hire!