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15 Standout Reception Ideas

How to have an unforgettable wedding, from ceremony’s end to the wee hours of the after-party.


A New York bride, groom, and their guests transported by pedicabs to the reception.  

1. As soon as the ceremony wraps, let the entertainment begin.
If there is an unavoidable time lag between the ceremony and reception, organize a tour of the city for your guests on a double-decker bus ($850, two-hour minimum; Gray Line New York Sightseeing; 800-669-0051). If most of them are New Yorkers—and trolling the city on a double-decker is the last thing they want to do—set up a harbor sunset tour (see below). Says event designer Susan Holland, “It’s more yacht-glamour than party-cruise” and it’ll likely be a novelty (from $950 per hour, two-hour minimum; Classic Harbor Line; 212-627-1825).

2. Make a grand entrance.
The traditional limo is fine but ... yawn. For one wedding, Eyal Tessler of In Any Event arranged for the couple and wedding party to arrive at the reception in pedicabs, ($60 per hour for one; Manhattan Pedicab, Inc.; 212-586-9486). If that feels like a liability, travel in a quaint, Victorian-style trolley (three-hour minimum for $1,495; Golden Carriage, Ltd.; 973-770-1433). Here’s something unique just for the two of you: Planner Nicky Reinhard of David Reinhard Events suggests renting a vintage Checker cab ($500, two-hour minimum; Checker Cab; 718-351-1939). Less an ecostatement than a “look-at-how-cute-we-are” statement would be to arrive on a tandem two-seater bike with your bouquet in the basket ($59 per day; Bike and Roll; 212-260-0400).

3. Give a shout-out to your hometown.
For a wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York groom David Potter wanted to incorporate his home state of Kentucky, so he ordered mini-bottles of Baker’s Bourbon and placed them in small burlap sacks for each guest to take home. At another wedding, Nicky Reinhard of David Reinhard Events designed a three-course menu of typical grub from the couple’s respective hometowns and the city in which they met; she timed the serving of each dish to the relevant city-associated background music. Lox and cream cheese with “New York, New York” in the background? A little much, but it’s clever!

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