No one likes a quiet table, especially on your wedding day. If you’re worried that some of your guests won’t know how to engage in conversation with each other, here are some tips to get the party started.
Since you know who’s sitting where, place old photos of the guests in small frames. Even if the guests don’t know each other, they’ll hoot and holler over pictures of bad hair and worse outfits. You can also place photos of yourselves on the table, which is sure to get a few “oohs” and ahs” from each guest.
Want to get the guests gabbing? Try placing tiered candy-cakes on the table. No one can keep mum when they’re forced to argue over M&M plain versus peanut. Fondue-fountain centerpieces work wonders for inciting gab, as do Smore’s and Rice Krispie Treats. If you want to stay away from food, try something funky like Lava Lamps or anything retro.
Speaking of retro, nothing is going to get the guests talking like mood-ring favors; everyone will be comparing colors. Bubbles are always a smart way to go, as are sparklers (check ahead to make sure the site allows them). When in favor doubt, give each guest something slightly different, and wrapped. People love to compare and contrast, and it immediately gets them talking.
Fun and Games
Depending on the style and formality of your wedding, you can print questions on the table cards. “Where did Aunt Joan and Uncle Lou honeymoon?” is the type of cocktail chatter that’s automatically created with this game. You can even have a little pre-wedding fun with outdoor bonfires, shuffleboard or horseshoes, or a volleyball game. By the time the guests take their seats, they’ll be bosom buddies.
The best way to get guests talking is to make sure you’ve put together an excellent seating chart. Never put an entire family together, and don’t put together two relatives who’ve not spoken since 1983. Mix and match, so people are forced to introduce themselves and say their relationship to the bride or groom—the quickest way to get them chatting about their backgrounds. Another savvy idea is to spread out the wedding party members, so each one and his/her date is at a separate table. Everyone wants to talk to the wedding “insiders” to get the scoop. Finally, make sure you greet each person at each table, and make sure they’re all communicating. If you sense a lull, point out that your sorority sister Renee volunteers for the Humane Society, just like your groom’s nephew, seated immediately to her right. Polite and informative talk is always the best way to help everyone get to know one another.
Read more: Having an Ice Bar at Your Reception, 5 Delicious Dessert Alternatives and Live Video Feeds at Ceremonies & Receptions