Casual Wedding Ideas: How to Have a Relaxed Wedding Reception

Formal wedding soirees are not for everyone some couples prefer to instead keep their celebrations more low key. However it can be a little difficult for couples to figure out how to actually put together a casual wedding. Here we list our top tips for ensuring your wedding reception has a relaxed vibe.

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Delightful Dishes and How to Best Serve Them

A casual wedding doesn’t have to necessarily mean a cocktail style reception. You can still have a sit down dinner for your guest’s that maintains a relaxed vibe. The ambiance and styling of your reception venue will help you to achieve this as will the style of food served.  Elegant, fresh food can still set the tone for a casual setting however you should consider serving your menu family style. So instead of having each guest receive their already plated dish have the food placed in the middle of the table for the guests to serve themselves. This can help encourage your guests to talk to everyone on their table, with asking one another to pass the salad being a simple yet effective ice breaker. Having all your guests serving themselves and fostering conversation will automatically create a casual vibe. Similar to the effect of serving food family style is to have a buffet or food stations where guests can go and serve themselves or have food prepared fresh for them at a manned station. Like family style dining, food buffets encourage your guests to mingle and is quite informal in nature.

casual wedding food truck dining

You probably don’t realise how much of a role your wedding food has to play in setting the tone of your big day, but trust us it does. A current food trend that works perfect for relaxed wedding receptions is to hire a food truck. Everyone will love the novelty of it and having the opportunity to order their own meal based on their individual preferences is a certain winner. Food trucks are a particularly great idea if you are having an outdoor wedding reception. Beverage wise hiring daiquiri machines or having a cocktail waiter is always fun and will create an enjoyable environment for all. The late night after dinner snack is also becoming highly popular with bridal couples’ serving up cocktail style treats both savoury and sweet for their guests to munch on later in the evening. These snacks are typically quite informal and similar to common ‘party foods’ for instance mini hotdogs, sliders and chips are all popular choices. The late night snacks highlight a casual atmosphere and will be a hit amongst all of your guests.

casual wedding food for relaxed reception

If you’re opting for a brunch or lunch reception offer classic dishes such as picnic style lunches for garden weddings. Think sandwiches, wraps, antipasto platters and mini quiches then pair this with picnic rugs and casual dining set ups for a truly memorable and unique reception. For brunch having a waffle bar and buffet style breakfast foods are guaranteed to delight your guests because honestly who doesn’t love breakfast!

Setting Up Your Venue

More important than the food is how your wedding reception venues actually look. Fun DIY decorations such as tassels, paper pom poms, chalkboard signs and bunting are all hugely popular wedding trends and can all make for a laid-back atmosphere. Simple, understated table decorations or fun colour palettes will be the key. Pick your decorations wisely nothing too elegant or sophisticated; think wooden boxes for flowers or tea light candles in simple glass holders to create an enchanting yet refined table scape. Try not to overdo it on your floral arrangements either; casual weddings will typically feature smaller arrangements and less of them.

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When it comes time to set up your venue consider having a designated chill out zone where guests can go relax, get away from the excitement and music of the reception and just chat for a while. A lounge style area would be the most appropriate set up. Depending on your venue this could be a few chairs and coffee tables on a veranda/balcony or for an outdoor reception some lounges, cushions and rugs perhaps even a bale of hay on the floor could be all you need. Outdoor weddings can also benefit from having games set up for guests to play during the cocktail hour and later in the reception. Lawn games are entertaining and more importantly a great way to have your guests mingling and letting their hair down.

Entertaining Your Guests

We have already mentioned lawn games for casual entertainment but the music you select can also affect the ambiance of your wedding. For fun wedding reception ideas a day time affair can benefit from having smooth tunes that create relaxing background music.  While night time receptions similar to formal weddings can have either a DJ or band to provide the tunes to get guests up and dancing. Popular songs that everyone will know are a sure fire way to get your guests moving.

casual wedding reception diy photo booth

Another fun form of entertainment for guests is to have a photo booth. Whether you hire one or DIY it guests go crazy for photo booths. Everyone loves taking silly snaps especially once they have had a few drinks and loosened up. Photo booths are the ultimate fun and casual way for your guests to enjoy your wedding.  Supplying guests with disposable or Polaroid cameras is a great alternative to setting up a photo booth. Guests can then take photos from the entire wedding as opposed to the designated photo booth area. This casual wedding reception idea is a must for keeping your celebrations relaxed and fun.

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