Wedding Cake Activities

Upon arrival at the wedding reception, many guests head for the cake table so they can admire the wedding cake. Some time later, the bride and groom come along for a picture opportunity and the grand ceremonial cutting of the wedding cake. Then everyone enjoys cake, and it’s just about gone. Believe it or not, there are many more activities that can make the wedding cake more about fun and less about tradition.

Of course, watching the bride and groom push cake into each other’s mouths is a long-enjoyed tradition, but there are many more fun – and less messy – activities to consider as well.

One new option that’s gaining popularity is to have cupcakes instead of a wedding cake. This is a method that is usually more affordable than having a many-tiered cake and it can be a lot of fun, and give your guests a lot of choices.

The little fancy cupcake holders can also double as wedding favors they can take home with them.

Cupcakes, like the wedding cake, can be decorated to match the wedding theme, but the cupcakes are instead arranged on tiered cake plates and displayed on a cake table until it’s time to eat them. The cupcakes can be simply handed out on plates to each wedding guest, or they can be sitting on the table to serve as wedding decoration, and, as we said above, as a wedding favor as well if it is in a cupcake holder.

Cupcakes instead of a whole wedding cake can save you a fair amount of money, since many reception halls and caterers charge a per slice fee to cut and serve the wedding cake.

You can also build activities into the cupcake presentation. For example, the cupcakes that are for the bride and groom can have a different decoration than the ones for the guests.

As an extra touch, you can have the baker include a special prize in one or several cupcakes. A small charm or tiny toy can be baked into the cupcake. Whoever gets the charm wins a special prize. These prizes can range from a gift basket or gift certificate to a restaurant, to a dance with the bride or groom.

Some brides like to use the Southern tradition and have charms baked into the wedding cake. Similar to the idea above for cupcakes, this involves baking small charms or tiny toys into the cake. The people who get one of the charms are said to have good luck. You might even consider having charm bracelet charms baked into the cupcake, which can then be made into a charm bracelet for the bride.

Not everyone enjoys cake. How about an activity for those who won’t be eating cake? They can be required to do the “Macarena” or the chicken dance during the time when everyone else is eating cake. If they manage to do the dance continuously while the other guests enjoy cake, they win a prize. Or they simply get to sit down, as now they are tired!

In keeping with the dance during cake theme, how about a requirement that in order to get a cake, a guest must perform an impromptu dance first?

There could be trivia questions about the bride and groom or about pop culture. Guests must correctly answer the questions before getting their cake. There could be competitions among tables or individuals for the most questions answered correctly while the wedding is going on and the cupcakes or cake is being served.

Many people believe that once the cake is cut, they are free to leave if they wish. Since cake cutting usually comes after the meal and after dancing and other traditional celebration activities, many people take the opportunity to leave the party after the cake is cut and enjoyed.

If the bride and groom want their guests to stay after the cake is eaten, it is worth some extra effort to build some activities into the cake-cutting event so people will stick around longer. This can be as simple as telling people not to leave, or can be more subtle and fun.

For example, each person could receive a slip of paper with his or her cake. These slips of paper could be prepared ahead of time and provided to the catering company with instructions that one folded strip of paper be placed on each plate with the cake.

The paper might give an agenda for the rest of the evening or might ask its recipient to perform a little dance, to head over to give the groom or bride a kiss, or might ask them to take the flower girl out on the dance floor for a spin. Everyone has to do their task before they leave, otherwise they don’t get their wedding favor.

By incorporating games into your wedding reception, particularly the cake cutting part, you will make your wedding memorable and keep guests of every age entertained. The unknown will keep all the guests guessing and provide some fun and excitement throughout the reception.

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Nice Bachelorette Party Games Part 1

Planning a bachelorette party is one of the easiest parts of a wedding to plan. There are literally hundreds of ideas for things to do, and a myriad of options for games. Many of those ideas are a bit on the racy side, but there are plenty that that are just plain clean fun which you can use if you are not sure of your guests, or if you don’t want to be too embarrassed in front of friends and work colleagues.

For example, one popular bachelorette game involves asking the guests to become poets. Ahead of the party, take 50 index cards and on half, write romantic things, like “roses”, “cuddly”, etc. On the other 25 cards, write very non-romantic words or phrases, like “nose hairs” or “ironing”. Then have each guest draw one card from each pile. They should then create a silly poem based on the two very different words or phrases they have chosen, for example, “Roses are red, your nose hairs are ewwwww.”

One fun game that is sure to engender at least a few laughs is “name that item”. Take a paper bag (a fabric bag is better if you have one) and fill the bag with typical “male items”. The items might include a razor, a money clip, a tie, shoe polish, etc. Seal the bag, or fold it over really well.

Then have each guest feel the bag and try to guess the contents. Have them write their guesses on a piece of paper. After everyone has had a chance to feel the bag, the contents are shown and the person with the most number of correct guesses gets the bag of male-oriented items.

Here’s a fun idea. This game might take the whole of the bachelorette party, but it’s a fun one that involves all the guests, helps them get to know one another and provides video proof you all had a good time. You need video cameras for this game, so if the host only has one camera, be sure to ask guests to bring more video cameras. Make sure you also have enough blank tapes for this game.

Depending on the number of guests at the party, you’ll divide the party into two or more groups. It’s best to divide the group into teams small enough so that the whole team can get into one car. So you’ll have maybe five women on each team. You’ll give each team a video camera, blank videotapes and a list of “scavenger hunt” type activities they must perform and tape.

Some video scavenger hunt ideas include having a complete stranger sing the national anthem, having a member of the team sing “I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner” in the meat section of the grocery store, or taping a stranger who can do a good impersonation of John Wayne.

The teams should be given a specific amount of time in which to complete their assigned tasks, and then return to the party location (ideally, a home, in this case). The videos are viewed and the teams vote on the team that did the best. Bonus points are given for the team that creates their own stunts.


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Wedding Reception Dance Floor Activities Part 2

Continued from part 1

One dance floor activity that’s gaining popularity is to bring in a dance teacher for the wedding reception. As a kind of pre-dance activity, the teacher will quickly walk people through their paces on the dance floor, perhaps teaching a bit of the waltz or, for something completely different, a little bit of the tango, before the music officially begins and dancing commences.

Having a dance teacher do a bit of teaching not only livens up the reception right from the start, but it gets people out on the dance floor who might otherwise be too self-conscious normally to get out there and let it all hang out.

And practically speaking, it will likely make the wedding guests feel more confident in their skills before the “official” dancing begins. It is also a good ice breaker to pair up people, again, you can call all the 3s and the 7s or whatever number has been assigned to get them out of their chairs. It can make for some interesting and fun pairings as well.

Another fun activity to get everyone on the dance floor, including even the most reticent, is something you can refer to as the “snowball” dance. This is a good way to jumpstart the dancing at the beginning of the evening.

The wedding party, bride and groom included, will head to the dance floor for a fun dance. The music for this dance should be fast, something with a disco beat or a fast song that most people have at least a passing familiarity with. After a bit of wedding party dancing, the music stops.

The female members of the wedding party move into the crowd and bring back one male each. The male members of the wedding party do the same, but they bring in female guests. The dancing then begins again. This is repeated until all the guests are dancing. It’s truly a snowball effect!

Wedding reception dance floor activities can help make all your quests feel welcome, and make for a memorable wedding. All you need is a little bit of planning.


GREAT WEDDING ACTIVITIES AND GAMES: How to Entertain Your Guests at Your Wedding Reception and Other Wedding-Related Gatherings


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Wedding Reception Dance Floor Activities Part 1

Dancing is an essential part of most wedding receptions, but often one that people dread as well.

We look forward to the couple’s “first dance” and the bride’s special dance with her father, but for those of us who are bad dancers, it can be a nightmare.

So you might want to consider adding some fun and surprise to the dance floor. This doesn’t mean a rousing version of the “Bunny Hop” or the chicken dance which, while sort of traditional, is hardly unique.

There are many fun games and activities you can add to your dance floor activities that are sure to be a hit.

Try a fun game of the “chicken dance”. Ok, so that doesn’t sound too original. But if most of your guests are just sitting at their tables, watching a few brave couples dancing, or just finishing their meals, you might want to get everyone up and having fun. Try this game.

The DJ announces a number. Everyone looks under his or her chair, where there is a number. Depending on the number of guests at the wedding, there might be only numbers “1” and “2” or more, up to 5.

So, say the DJ announces number “4”. Each person checks under their chair to see what their number is. These numbers can be written simply on a piece of masking tape and affixed to the underside of the chairs when the reception is being set up. Each “4” in this scenario will head to the dance floor to do the chicken dance with the other “4s”. Not only does this get people out of their chairs and on to the dance floor, they get to know other wedding reception guests they might not otherwise know.

Continued in Part 2.

FURTHER READING: GREAT WEDDING ACTIVITIES AND GAMES: How to Entertain Your Guests at Your Wedding Reception and Other Wedding-Related Gatherings


How to Save Money on Your Wedding Photography

Choosing your wedding photographer for your big day is an important decision. These are the photos that will tell the story of your wedding day for years to come. At the same time, you don’t want to pay for these photos for years to come.

The costs of your wedding photos can add up quickly. You will need to pay the photographer a fee for covering your wedding. Then there will be additional charges for your wedding prints and any albums you order. However, quality wedding photos don’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. Here are some ideas for saving money on your wedding photography.

Don’t shop for a wedding package. Many photography studios will offer bridal packages that include various prints and albums, and perhaps a CD of digital photos. This may not be the most affordable option for you though. Instead of signing up for a regular wedding package, pick and choose the options you want. You might be able to put together a smaller package that is within your means. You can also tell the photographer your budget and ask what he or she can do for that price. If they understand that cost is a concern, they will probably be willing to work with you instead of losing the sale.

Hold your wedding off-season. Certain seasons and months are always more popular for weddings. By holding your wedding in an off-season, you might be able to score a discount on your photography. Your other wedding purchases might be less expensive then too.

Use digital photography. Look for a photographer who offers digital photography, instead of just traditional photography. This can save you money because you can order a CD of digital photos along with your regular prints. Just order the regular prints you need right now, and order more later when you are able to. You might also decide not to print more and just keep them in a digital format.

Hire the photographer for a shorter session. The more time your photographer spends at your wedding, the more you will be charged. Instead of hiring the photographer for the entire wedding, just have professional coverage of the ceremony. Then ask friends and family to cover the reception for you. That can help decrease your costs significantly.

Hire a student. College students learning photography are eager to cover weddings. Their work may not be professional grade, but it could still be of very good quality. Their prices will be a lot lower as well. For students, weddings are good opportunities to build up their photography portfolio. Another option is to hire someone who moonlights as a photographer.

Your wedding photographs will be displayed and enjoyed for years to come. It is worth your time to choose a photographer you’ll be comfortable with, but it doesn’t need to cost all your savings either. By following these suggestions, you’ll be able to have the wedding photographs you want without going over your budget.


GREAT WEDDING ACTIVITIES AND GAMES: How to Entertain Your Guests at Your Wedding Reception and Other Wedding-Related Gatherings


How to Have a Great Wedding Even on a Tight Budget

Many people believe that the only way to have a great wedding is to either elope to Vegas or spend a small fortune trying to impress friends and family. But the truth is that you can have a great wedding even without spending a lot of money if you are prepared to do your research and be organized. Here are some ideas for creating a stylish wedding even on a tight budget.

Wedding dress
This can be the most expensive part of your wedding. In fact, a wedding dress by itself can cost more than the average wedding! But you don’t need to spend a fortune on your wedding dress to be a stylish bride. Instead of shopping at high-priced bridal shops, shop online at e-Bay or visit a second-hand store to see what is available. Also look for end of the season or end of a line styles. David’s Bridal also has $99 wedding dress sales at least a couple of times a year. You can even rent a wedding dress and formal wear for the wedding party if you have to.

Cutting down on the size of the wedding party
If your wedding party is getting way too large because of your fear of offending anyone if they are left out, STOP. This is an expensive undertaking for anyone involved, with formal wear, shoes, flowers and so on all involved. Have a maid of honor and best man if you need to, and leave it at that. You will save thousands of dollars and millions of logistical headaches.

To cut down on the cost of the bouquets, stay away from mixed bouquets with exotic flowers. Instead, choose flowers that are grown locally and are in season. Another idea is to order bouquets made up of the same flower rather than mixed bouquets. They cost less and can be very stylish in their simplicity. You might also consider silk flowers so that you can have a great keepsake, rather than spend money on cut flowers that will wither and die.

The reception is another high-prices item in most wedding budgets. You can plan a stylish meal without a lot of expense. Instead of a large sit-down dinner, look for alternatives such as a buffet, or a simple wedding venue with a caterer or your own family and friends all pitching in with finger food and more. You won’t need to pay for an expensive wait staff and everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.

At the reception, the centerpieces are considered an important decoration, with flowers the most popular centerpieces. However, they can get expensive. A stylish and affordable alternative is to use candles. Float tea lights in small crystal bowls or light votives in votive holders. They don’t need to match each other – having an assortment can add to the stylish look. Instead of purchasing new, ask your friends and family members to bring candle holders from home, or use the holders at each table as the wedding favor for the guests to bring home.

Many wedding guests have come to expect a wedding favor, but the truth is that it can all start to add up, especially if you have a large wedding. Use the wedding favors you are going to give as decor for the table, or as part of the wedding photograph tradition when you thank people for their gift and for coming. Shop carefully and compare prices online.

Wedding cake
You might be thinking of a multi-tiered cake covered with handmade sugary flowers, but they are expensive and by no means essential. Instead, have your cake decorated more simply with some rolled out royal icing and some silk flowers. Another idea is to display a small formal wedding cake with a bride and groom on top, then serve a sheet cake to your guests. The sheet cake will actually be easier to cut and serve. Have cupcakes or another simple, easy dessert instead.

The main point of any wedding and reception is to celebrate a couple’s love for one another, not go broke fast. Organize yourself and look for wedding bargains. Plan ahead for great fun activities for your wedding and wedding reception, and you will be able to create a memorable wedding that your guests will recall happily for years to come, but without you having to pay the bills for years to come.

You CAN have a stylish wedding on a budget. Be prepared to think creatively and look for less expensive ways to create the impression you want.

Further Reading:

Great Wedding Activities and Games: How to Entertain Your Guests at Your Wedding Reception and Other Wedding-Related Gatherings (Wedding Matters)

How to Shop for Great Wedding Favors on a Budget (Wedding Matters)


How to Find a Cheap Wedding Venue

As soon as you decide to get married, one of the first things that you and your partner will discuss will be where you would like to get married. This will in part be in relation to a place of worship versus a secular venue, and whether you will get married at the same place where you plan to have your reception.

If you are in the process of looking around for a place to hold the reception, you are probably shocked by now at the cost of the most popular wedding venues, and the lack of availability as well. Even if you can afford it (or want to spend so much money on this one day), you might not be able to get the date that you want.

If you are on a tight budget, which many people are these days, you might be having visions of just eloping to Vegas rather than be shamed in front of family and friends with a cheap, budget wedding.

The good news is that there is a happy medium between go for broke and penny-pinching. The most important thing is to choose an affordable venue that everyone will enjoy, and one which will suit your personality as a couple.

If you are looking for more affordable venues for your wedding, here are a few to consider.

Your home/back yard.
Many clergypeople can officiate right at your own home. If you are planning a small, intimate wedding and want just your closest family and friends, this can be ideal, and very romantic and traditional at the same time, as well as very frugal.

Your favorite restaurant.
If you and your partner have a favorite restaurant, that may be the ideal place to hold your wedding. Some restaurants have rooms set aside to rent, or are able to close off a section for you. For a smaller wedding, this could be a very comfortable and affordable venue. The one drawback is that you would have to order your food from the restaurant as well. If you had planned to save costs by catering it yourself, that won’t be an option here. The good news is, you know for sure that you will love the food they serve.

Community halls.
Your local community hall likely has a room or the whole downstairs that you could rent for your wedding at a reasonable price. If you are a member of your community association, you may even get a discount on rental. They will probably also have a small kitchen you can have access to for preparing and storing food, and some equipment for serving.

Local church hall.
See if your local church will let you rent the basement or hall for your wedding. Most churches have small kitchens you could use as well. You may also be able to have your wedding ceremony in the sanctuary and keep the entire event in one place.

A city park.
Check out your local city or state parks, or local beauty spots such as a scenic overlook and see if they can be rented for weddings. For an added bonus, look for one that also has a fountain, or a pretty walkway. Some parks even have gazebos for just this purpose. With a few decorations, these can be set up to create a beautiful atmosphere. Some of them might also have areas for eating, with shelters in case it rains. You will want to have the whole place cleaned and discourage too much finery being worn, but if you are an outdoorsy kind of couple, this can be ideal.

Your favorite place.
Forget where everyone else is going for their weddings. Be different and hold your wedding in a place that is special to both of you. If you love horseback riding, hold your wedding out on the trail. Did you two meet at work? Maybe stage your special event at your workplace. For avid hikers, a mountain trail might be a meaningful and fun venue.

Don’t let high costs scare you away from planning a nice wedding your family and friends will love. There’s no need to elope. With some research, creativity and flexibility, you can hold your wedding in a lovely location without spending a lot of money.