Let the Games Begin!

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Looking for that little something to make your impending celebration feel more interactive and help your guests connect? Try a little friendly competition.

Games are both a great ice-breaker and a fun way for couples to show off their personality and style, says Brooke Sheldon, owner of Lilybrooke Events in Kennebunkport, Maine. Lawn games like croquet, bocce ball or badminton can give your outdoor gala a dashing “Great Gatsby” feel, while beanbags, horseshoes and lawn darts have a more rustic vibe. Set up space for the activities and announce them with fun signs, but simply provide them as an option, not a task.

Inside, consider using beloved games in a more practical fashion. For example, Sarah Trotter, owner of Lasting Impressions Weddings and Event Coordination in Minnetonka, Minn., worked with a couple who had a brunch tradition of playing cribbage, so for their brunch reception, they put cribbage boards at each table. “It was fun to see their guests learning to play their favorite game, but it was also great that people had another option for something to do while waiting for the meal to start.”

Other options include using names of board games to label your reception table and put a travel version on each table to give guests an activity during cocktails, or having table crews fill out a short trivia form to determine their place in the buffet lineup.

The goal, says Trotter, is to entertain your guests a little and give some fun flair to your décor. Just remember that when it comes to games, less is more, adds Sheldon. “You don’t want to overdo them and make it seem like you’re hosting a mini-Olympics.” Pick games that match the overall theme of your event, and consider limiting them to a particular time frame, like the cocktail hour. Sheldon says, “Once the cocktail hour is over, the games can even be removed in order to draw attention back to the main event.”

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Tags: Entertainment, Reception