15 Standout Reception Ideas
7. Include your entire family without crowding the aisle.
Ask your family members for pictures from their own weddings and display them; include vintage photos of those who have passed on. Or, incorporate a famous family recipe into your menu. One New York bride included recipes from both grandmothers: “I had one grandmother’s pierogies at the cocktail hour, and my other grandma’s garlic pasta, served late at night.”
8. Let the season inspire the details.
For one fall wedding, planner Loulie Walker placed escort cards atop mini albino pumpkins, and for a holiday-themed reception, she created Christmas tree-like centerpieces from oversize gumdrops and carnations. Hire a choir to sing or carol as guests arrive to the reception. Josh Brooks of Fête recommends the Boys Choir of Harlem ($15,000; 212-201-1303; boyschoirofharlem.org). For an over-the-top “Winter Wonderland”-themed wedding, Preeti D. Shah of Spotlight Style rented an ice machine to sprinkle snow over guests, and a faux ground cover of non-evaporating snow so it looked as though they were walking on clouds (from $250 for machine rental; Snowmasters; 256-229-5551).
9. Let guests take their own portraits.
One New York couple set out a Polaroid camera so guests could take their mugs and place them on a magnetic board for everyone’s viewing. (Sadly, Polaroid instant film is being discontinued—start your eBay searches now!). If you want a filmstrip-producing vintage photo booth, rent one from NYC Photo Booth (from $1,795 for four hours; 800-531-3727; nycphotobooth.com). Or, ask your photographer about providing a self-automated portrait set-up (usually from $350 an hour, widely available). Mark Van S. studio’s Digital Photobooth comes with a 3,000-lumens projector, so you can literally project photos as they’re being taken (from $3,900; 718-852-7399; markvans.com). Planners Josh Brooks and Jung Lee, along with their colleague David Sugar, take the rowdiness a step further with a video confessional booth (from $1,900; 917-549-2715).
From the Summer 2008 New York Wedding Guide