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*cover photo by Tracy Grace

With the upcoming 2021 wedding season quickly approaching and so many couples having to make changes to their wedding plans due to recent Covid-19 restrictions, we have compiled some ideas for you to plan for the “reception” portion of the evening to safely keep your guests entertained in lieu of a dance party!

Just a reminder that these are all ideas, but be sure to check the restrictions based on the color-coded zone your venue is located in and follow along with the government website for any changing restrictions leading up to your wedding date.

Entertainment Ideas:

-Wine/food pairing
Your dinner service is going to be one of the main parts of your intimate day, so creating an unbelievable dinner service experience should be a priority. Maybe add on an extra course or chat with your venue about a wine/food pairing. Maybe you can add on a fun cocktail (espresso martini – yum!) to be served with their dessert.

-Wine/champagne/alcohol tasting
This could be a fun idea (venue depending) to set up some sort of wine or champagne tasting after dinner or whatever your personal preference is! Even like a hot chocolate station that could be served to your guests would be so sweet.

-Touch free or virtual photo booth
Check out MDRN Photobooth for more info on these Covid-friendly photobooth options.

-Live music
Who doesn’t want to listen to live music during dinner?! Hiring a 2 piece for live music for your ceremony/cocktail hour or hiring a full band for dinner would be a great idea! Just be sure they are able to safely distance from guests and be behind appropriate barriers, these restrictions could change based on color-coded zones as well so that’s something to look into.

-Plan some games
It’d be super fun to have some games printed out and already set at the guest tables. Some examples of games we love: the shoe game, wedding bingo, mad libs, couples trivia, name that tune, date night jar ideas, cards against matrimony .

-Plan a slideshow filled with memories from your time together as a couple!
Compile photos and videos from some of your favorite memories together as a couple and create a slideshow for your guests to watch during the reception!

-Plan a slideshow compiled with messages and videos from guests who couldn’t be there and play it during the reception.

-Longer speeches/open mic to share stories
Normally we rush through speeches so we can get to the dance portion of the wedding day but last year we heard some of the most amazing, heartfelt speeches we’re heard at weddings. A few couples even went table by table and said a special thank you to guests and shared stories. It was so personal and meaningful!

-Lawn games
Some of our faves: giant jenga, corn hole, bocce ball.
This would most likely depend on your venue and if they are comfortable with allowing guests to play games outdoors. If you are going to do this, you will have to ensure guests stay in their bubbles to play and everything is sanitized properly before and after.

Plan a late night dessert
An ice cream or gelato cart (Stella Luna), beavertails, or a donut truck would be the perfect way to end the night. Since there are no buffets allowed, these treats would have to be served to your guests.

Fireworks or a bonfire
Depending on where you’re hosting your wedding, plan to have fireworks on a “socially distanced” bonfire with pre-wrapped smores for each guest. Guests can remain in their bubbles in designated areas with blankets and pillows to keep cozy!

Comedic act or some type of live entertainment

Ottawa Wedding Planner and Florist planning for intimate weddings
Photography: Barefoot in the North

As a wedding planner in Ottawa, we have been working with our couples and the ever-changing restrictions

One question we have received a lot recently has been “what can we do instead of dancing?” so I hope the information and ideas above has been helpful and you are able to plan some fun guest entertainment for your intimate wedding!

Remember that the priority is keeping yourselves, your loved ones, your guests, and your vendors safe, but you can definitely still plan things for the reception that are fun and memorable but the proper sanitizing and distancing measures must still apply.

If you are looking for some help planning your intimate wedding day in the Ottawa area, we’d love to chat!

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