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Many couples know exactly where they want to say I do, but when it comes to throwing the perfect after party, most get lost somewhere between a country club and a clam bake. Knowing which wedding reception ideas are your favorites before visiting actual locations can help you streamline the planning process while saving you time and money.
Head Down to the Shore
If you wax nostalgic for the days when Sandra Dee ruled the beach and Elvis sang "Blue Suede Shoes" in Las Vegas, holding a clam bake may be one of your top wedding reception ideas. Many catering companies offer packages that allow you to cook lobster, clams, and other seafood right on the shore as you enjoy a relaxed and casual afternoon or evening with your guests. A clam bake can also be a great budget option, as a late morning or early afternoon reception works best for optimal beach weather.
Painted Faces on Parade
Fans of Phantom of the Opera will understand the mystique and beauty of a Masquerade Ball reception. Ask your guests to don black and white formal attire, with women in long gowns and men in tuxes and suits. As party favors, give your guests masks as they enter the reception to create an instant aura of mystery and romance. If you really want to shine, consider wearing a red gown, which stands out beautifully in a sea of black and white.
Country Club Chic
If you're looking for more formal wedding reception ideas, consider holding your event at a local country club. Your male guests will look polished in khakis, polos, and collar shirts, while the ladies will look smashing in cocktail dresses and suits. If you want to add a playful element, consider holding a game or two of croquet during the cocktail hour.
Spirit of the Islands
You may not be able to travel all the way to Hawaii for your wedding, but you can still hold a luau in a local park, backyard or other outdoor location. Set the tone by hiring a Hawaiian band to play music as your guests arrive. Offer leis to everyone as they enter the reception and serve up Mai Tais at the bar. Consider hiring a catering company that will roast a pig right on the premises. If that isn't possible, ask for help with creating other Hawaiian-themed wedding reception ideas.
Let's Go Bowling
For an active bride and groom, a bowling party may be the ticket to a fun reception. Many bowling alleys are available for rental and offer packages that include shoes, games, music, drinks, and food. Consider having a reception-wide competition, with the winner receiving a gift certificate for a return visit with the bride and groom.
Sports fans around the world love integrating their favorite stadiums into potential wedding reception ideas. Have dinner at home plate and dance in the outfield under the light of a full moon. Rent out the luxury box of a football stadium during the big game and have your dinner afterward in the posh stadium club. If you're stumped on how to make your local sports venue right for you event, call up the stadium's events manager to brainstorm a few wedding reception ideas.