By: Justine Lorelle Blanchard for TheKnot.com
A Luxe Reception Lounge
Give guests a place to mingle between dance breaks by creating a lounge area at your reception. Fill the space with couches or chairs and plenty of pillows to sink into. It's the perfect way to keep everyone in on the party even when they're resting. Really want to wow 'em? Close off the area with curtains to create a VIP vibe.
Aaron Young Photography
> See more reception lounge photos
You may already be planning to have your ushers escort guests to their ceremony seats, but consider having reception ushers. These "live escort cards" walk guests to their tables for an upscale restaurant experience. Ask your reception venue or caterer if its waitstaff can do this double duty, or assign a few ushers to the job.
Brian Dorsey Studios
If you're planning on shuttling your guests from the ceremony to the reception, make the journey part of the fun by renting some seriously cool mass transportation. Take wedding transportation to new heights with a hot air balloon ride. Or, if it'll suit your wedding style, get nostalgic with some charming yellow school buses. And for extra flair, customize the ride by playing fun music or decking out the bus with a sign that reads, "Sarah and John's wedding or bust!"
In Design Weddings
Your guests won't be expecting any drinks until the reception, so give them a pleasant surprise by setting up a table of light beverages on the way into the ceremony. Just don't serve anything too strong — think: mimosas or fruit-infused iced teas they can sip before taking their seats (and don't forget to have nonalcoholic versions too!). Have your caterer or ushers collect any stray glasses to make sure the space is tidy before the processional begins.
Standout Escort Cards
Instead of a paper card that'll get lost or thrown away, upgrade your escort cards to something worth keeping (or eating!). Try personalized cake pops with guests' names and table numbers written on them in icing (or on a cute tag), or engraved martini glasses that double as favors.
Kara Purtell Photography
Upgraded Welcome Bags
Make your guests feel like VIPs with welcome bags that go beyond a map and a few snacks. Stuff personalized tote bags with mini bottles of bubbly or a six-pack of a local microbrew, a gift certificate to your favorite local coffee shop and an individual "Welcome!" note from you.
Woodland Fields Photography
Thoughtful (and Useful) Favors
Keep your guests comfortable all day by thinking ahead. Out of town guests will appreciate a custom scented soap so they don't have to rely on the standard hotel samples. Planning on dancing until the next morning? Put out baskets of flip-flops (in your wedding colors, of course) so guests can take their shoes off. Having an outdoor reception that might get breezy? Make sure guests keep warm by offering up some cozy pashminas. And for a summer outdoor ceremony in the afternoon, provide a station with spray-on sunscreen and a stack of inexpensive sunglasses.
Lindsey Hahn Photography
A DIY Flower Station
Let guests know that it's not just the wedding party that's special to you (it's everyone!) by letting each one stand out with their own corsage or boutonniere. Ask your florist about setting up a make-your-own-flower station: Put out some sturdy blooms like spray roses or mums, supply lots of colorful ribbons and pins, and add labels with easy-to-follow instructions.
"To-Go" Valet Gifts
Send guests home feeling taken care of by having your valets place small favors or end-of-the-night snacks in guests' cars before handing over the keys. No valets? Set out baskets of the gifts — such as soft eye masks with notes that say "Sleep tight!" or even hangover kits — for guests to grab on their way out of the reception venue. If you’ve arranged bus or shuttle transportation, have a favor waiting on board for guests.
Knot Note: Hangover kits (if you're sending guests home on a shuttle) should include Aspirin — not Tylenol — for safe headache-busting.
Brian Phillips Photography
Convenient Child Care
Hire a babysitter (or two) and set her up in a room so your youngest guests have a place to go when they tucker out. If it's possible, pick a room near your reception location so parents can stop by to check in on the tykes and then return to the party easily. Stock the room with snacks, games and a portable DVD player to keep them entertained, and make sure there's a soft sofa and blankets for those inevitable naps.
Shelly Kroeger Photography
Want 20 more ways to wow your wedding guests? Visit TheKnot.com
Link to this: