After the ceremony, toasts, photos and meal are done, your wedding guests may become bored and say start to say goodbye before you have met or greeted them all. If your wedding and/or reception are outdoors, you may be limited as to the entertainment you can provide, especially if guests are dressed formally. Put a personal twist on traditional outdoor games to help guests get to know you, your family and friends on a more personal basis.
Set up a croquet course, with photos and captions affixed to the top of each wicket. Let guests learn about the bride and groom by posting pictures of the happy couple on vacation, at concerts, with family and in other settings that tell a story about how they met, dated and fell in love.
If you will be on a lawn, set up a putting, pitching and chipping green, depending on the length of the grass. Use plastic, low-distance balls to avoid injury. Set up skills games, such as closest-to-the-pin, or hole-in-one contests. Have guests write their names on a card, with the relationship to the bride or groom, such as family, friend or co-worker, posting their results.
Traditional volleyball may require too much skill and physical exertion, with increased risks for sweating, falling down and damaging clothes. Set up a badminton or volleyball net and use a large beach ball to play. Create teams by mixing family members and groom/bride friends.
A scavenger hunt gets people talking and working together. Put items from around the reception on your list, so guests have to move around the yard or lawn. Add the answers to personal questions as part of the scavenger items to help people get to know each other. For example, ask for the name of a person on the bride's and groom's side who have military service, been married for more then 25 years, were born outside the U.S. or some other interesting fact. Make sure you know the answers to these questions to prevent any embarrassing situations.
Put a twist on relay races by requiring family members to team up as pairs of cousins, aunts and nephews, uncles and nieces or teammates from two different states. Before the race begins, have each team member introduce themselves to the guests. Create races that don't depend on athleticism alone. For example, teams can carry full, shallow containers of liquid, trying to be the first team to fill a larger container -- balance, not speed will win this one. Have players bend over and place their head on a baseball bat or other stick-like object, run it around it 10 times, then try to run with a water-filled cup to fill a container. Dizzy contestants may spill more than they fill. Instead of water, have teams transport beans, an egg or other items using a spoon to a team bag or bucket that needs to be filled.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.