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Unique & Interactive Reception Ideas

Interactive Reception Decor and Festive Activities are definitely continuing to trend in to 2023. -Now that we're all gathering together more comfortably after the long quarantines of covid, just about everyone on your guest list will be eager to get social and celebrate your fabulous occasion with playfulness & heart. Have fun planning unique ways to incorporate a little whimsy and creative flair in to Your Day!


  • Vintage Musical Selections - In honoring your heritage, or the combined style you and your partner are creating with your new life together... remember to chat with your DJ or Emcee about how to incorporate unique and classic melodies into the evening's playlist.

  • Hire a Caricature Artist so guests take home a truly unique keepsake -Check out our friend Krandel's work at https://www.buttsketch.com/ - he's exhibited many times at RWN's signature LGBTQ+ Wedding Expos!

  • Consider setting aside an hour for Karaoke - depending on the crowd you're inviting to the reception... this one can be a big hit!

  • Interactive Food & Beverage Stations are not new... but quiz your caterer and bartender about trending options. They'll likely have exciting ideas that may tempt you!

  • The Happy Couple's Trivia or Bingo Game: Provide your Emcee with lively questions about the Newlyweds... Add a unique way to keep track of which table comes up with the correct answers (Bingo cards / decorative tally board up on the stage / A/V screen to post ongoing results / decorative chalkboards as part of each table's centerpiece ...) There are endless variations to this idea but it's an upbeat, casual way to get all your guests involved, and to let them in on some of the lesser known details about you and your partner and your relationship: "Where did we meet for the first time?..." "What are our middle names? What will our last name be now that we're married?..." "Where did we go on our first date?..." "Who proposed?..." Games like this are often thought of for Engagement Parties, but they're a fit for many couples' Receptions as well!

  • Flash Mob? If you have a group of friends who are cool enough to pull it off... Ask them to coordinate a flash mob idea and incorporate it in to your reception, especially toward the early hours to really help the other guests' get inspired and up off their feet to join in the fun of dancing the night away!

  • Legos at each reception table... Just to give everyone a chance to get creative and playful. Great ice breaker! (see if you can find lego sets with rainbow colors!)

  • Don't forget the Mega-sized Board Games, such as Giant Connect Four (with circular pieces customized with the wedding colors and first names/letters of the newlyweds... Even for an indoor reception, a game board can fill an empty corner and provide an easy way for guests to interact and enjoy themselves... It might just make your introverted guests feel more at ease :)

  • I Spy Game: Print up table signs with scavenger-hunt style scenes you'd like guests to take a picture of... Make each table sign a little different so that you end up with an incredible variety of pictures at the end of your celebration! Be sure to provide a hashtag and specific directions about how pictures should be uploaded or shared (or, if you have a vintage wedding theme, of course go with disposable cameras) Starter Ideas: "A person laughing..." "A favorite decoration..." "Photo of the Newlyweds..." "Photo of guests who are not in the wedding party..." "A silly moment..." "An unforgettable dance move!"

  • Nostalgic Reception Table Placecards: Table Markers may not be necessary... but they add a little extra polish and FUN to your fesitivities! If you're having a Theme Wedding, table names will be a cinch to come up with... but if not, take a moment to consider making nostalgic Table Markers: Brainstorm in advance with your fiancee about places (cities, streets, locations) that hold fond memories for each of you, or are an important part of your story as a couple. For instance: "Pine Street Bridge - we walked across this special bridge on our trip to New England, and it was in that moment Ben was sure that Eric was "The One!"" Each Table Marker will spotlight a fond memory, serving as a conversation starter and simply a joyful little addition for all the guests who join your celebration. To make the Table Markers, search online for ideas using cardstock pre-cuts, or mini chalkboard signs. These can be an extremely cost-effective way to add one more accent to Your Day!

  • LOTS OF WEDDING GUESTS who are not famliar with each other?? Plan an interactive Wedding Game! Here's an easy one: On the back of each guest's seating card, write one half of a famous duo (such as "Peanut Butter / Jelly... Salt / Pepper...." Or, more LGBTQ+ specific duos such as "Ellen / Portia... Mitchell / Cameron... Poison Ivy / Harley Quinn..." Or, if you don't have seating cards, just add a colorful, eye-catching basket or vase at your entry table - in it dump the collection of cards with the half-names of famous duos. Post a quick note with directions for all to see: "Pick a Name! During the evening, please take a moment to find your "Other Half", and introduce yourself! Tell them where you're from, and how you know the Happy Couple. Please take a selfie together and post it using our Wedding Hashtag! We appreciate you taking time to bring all our Guests together in friendship and fun!" -By the end of the party, you'll have a room full of chatting friends, not strangers... and your Wedding Photo Album will be full of outrageously silly selfies!

  • Sacred Stones - the heartbeat of Mother Earth, stone decor also brings in grounding energy and adds a rustic touch. Consider making this an interactive piece: With a vase full of permanent markers, arrange various rocks in a basket or on a table and ask guests to write a short saying or prayer on a stone of their choice, as a beautiful and heartfelt message for your future together. Then you'll have a collection of stones to take with you - for home decor, garden decor, or to set about the corners of your home: foundational keepsakes for your new life together!

  • Conversation Starter Centerpieces! -Consider varied centerpieces to spotlight your diverse interests or goals as a couple - Love Travel, Cooking and Classic Movies? Take time throughout the months leading up to your wedding to go thrifting, and make it a fun scavenger hunt! Seek out various items that match your hobbies and build unique centerpieces to make each table at your reception different and interesting. Travel books, a small globe, a map, faux passports, decoratives such as the Eiffel Tower or a flag of your favorite country, a mini-basket filled with little beach balls and sunny colored "towels..." Cooking books,a canister set as vases (filled of course with florals mixed with kitchen utensils), doilies or stacked kitchen towels, a crystal bowl of sugar cubes... Film reels, a tower of DVDs, mini movie posters on easels or in a frame, an autograph book set for all guests to sign in their most flamboyant style... With each of your hobbies you can easily find fun ways to incorporate trinkets or keepsake items for your guests to take home with them... but before they do these unique little trinkets will inspire whimsical conversations all around the reception tables! (Don't forget to check out dollhouse accessories for some unique options, if you need a few extras - everything from tiny kitchenware to seasonal accents)

  • Keeping the Send-Off Interactive & Eco-friendly - Sure, sparklers and rainbow-colored smoke bombs are all the rage for your final appearance as you leave your reception festivities... but if you're striving to include natural elements you might consider a more traditional approach. Instead of a rice toss, however, provide your guests with dried lavender, rose petals, or other botanicals. These can easily be presented in several baskets for guests to take freely as they await your grand exit. Happy Honeymooning!

Quick Tips: First Dance Songs

Here at RainbowWeddingNetwork, we hear from a lot of couples during the course of our day. And one of the most pressing questions, lately, has been: "What are some ideas for our First Dance song??"

The RWN team came up with a few top picks of our own:

"She" - Jen Foster

"I Do" - Colbie Caillat

"Bless the Broken Road" - Rascal Flatts

"You Got It" - Roy Orbison

"Pennies from Heaven" - Louis Prima

"Better Place" - Rachel Platten

"When You Say Nothing at All" - Ronan Keating

"Better Together" - Jack Johnson

"All My Life" - K-Ci & JoJo

"Ever Lasting Love" - Natalie Cole

"L-O-V-E" - Nat "King" Cole

"When I Fall In Love" - Nat "King" Cole

"You Make My Dreams (Come True)" - Daryl Hall & John Oates


We also asked a couple of our FAVORITE DJ's and here's what they suggest!


Suggested by Michelle Lee (aka DeeJay Shelly)
Sounds By Shelly & Michelle Lee Entertainment
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Call/Text: 888.776.7616


“From the Ground Up” Dan & Shay

“A Thousand Years” Christina Perri

“The Luckiest” Ben Folds Five

“Crystal” by Stevie Nicks

“Happy Together” by King Princess & Mark Ronson

“Dance With Me” by Phillip Phillips

“I Choose You” Sara Bareilles

“If Only For one Night” Brenda Russel

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” Aerosmith

“Still Falling For You” Ellie Goulding

“Say You Won't Let Go” James Arthur

“Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran




Suggested by Carson Parmenter
HeadTrauma Entertainment, Ohio and PA
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


"I Get to Love You" - Ruelle

"All Of Me" - John Legend

"I Won’t Give Up" - Jason Mraz

“Lucky" - Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz

"Marry Me" - Train

"Can't Help Falling In Love" - Elvis Presley

“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran  (Yep, this one made the list twice!  Worth noting!)

“At Last” by Etta James

"She Keeps Me Warm” - Mary Lambert

"I Choose You” - Sara Bareilles  (Yep, this one also made the list twice!  Again, worth noting!)

"Make You Feel My Love" – Adele




All right, there you have it!  What are you waiting for?  Get out there and start dancing!  (and enjoy the practicing...  that's almost as much fun as presenting your First Dance at the reception.)  -CONGRATS :) 



5 Ways to Deal With Stress During Wedding Planning

Planning a wedding is never easy, but wedding planning can be particularly stressful for LGBTQ+ couples. You’re trying to find vendors who support your right to marry your partner, and you might be navigating complex family dynamics regarding relatives who do not fully accept you as you are. RainbowWeddingNetwork can help you tackle all of these challenges! But if you feel like wedding-related stress is starting to impact your health, it’s time to focus on self-care. Here’s how to get more physical activity into your routine, eat a more nutritious diet, and practice mindfulness when you’re feeling stressed.

Make Time for Exercise

When you’re in the midst of wedding planning, you might feel like you have no time for exercise. It’s tough to fit workouts into your schedule when you’re shopping for wedding attire, booking vendors, and gathering addresses for all of your guests. But by making active choices in your daily life, you can move your body without heading to the gym. For example, you can take the stairs instead of using an elevator or take short walks during your lunch breaks.

Eat a Healthy Diet

It’s important to reach for healthy snacks and cook nutritious meals when you’re in the thick of wedding planning. When you’re busy with planning, you might be tempted to simply heat up frozen meals and order takeout, but you’ll feel more energized if you eat healthy, home-cooked meals. If you’re stressed out, Canyon Ranch recommends filling your plate with lean proteins, whole carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates and incorporate lots of vegetables and leafy greens into your diet.

Practice Mindfulness

Each day, you think about another wedding-planning task you need to complete. You’re constantly focused on a date that is months or even a year away - and you’re planning so intensely for the future that you can barely concentrate on the present. But mindfulness can help you shift your attention back to the here and now. Practicing yoga, meditating, or writing in a journal can all encourage you to be more mindful. You might also want to plan “screen-free” times with your partner when you can put down your devices and just focus on each other.

Go to Bed Earlier

Do you ever catch yourself tossing and turning at night while thinking about your wedding? Maybe you’ve even had dreams about everything going wrong on the big day! If you’re anxious about your wedding, and your worrying is affecting your sleep schedule, it’s time to make some changes to your evening routine. Health recommends ditching caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, reading before bed, and creating a more comfortable bedroom environment.

Work With a Therapist

What if lifestyle changes just aren’t enough to address your wedding stress? Consider looking for an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist who can help you process your fears, implement healthy coping strategies in your daily life, and tune out people with unwanted opinions throughout your wedding planning process. You may want to work with a therapist on your own, or you might be interested in finding a therapist who serves LGTBQ+ couples so that your partner can join you for sessions.


Wedding planning can be exhausting, especially if you are facing prejudice and discrimination in the industry as an LGBTQ+ couple. But you don’t have to sacrifice your health in order to plan the perfect event. By living a more active lifestyle, getting a little more sleep, and even working with a therapist, you can feel your best throughout the ups and downs of the planning process.

Are you one-half of an LGBTQ+ couple? When you’re ready to walk down the aisle, turn to the RainbowWeddingNetwork! Browse our content today for fresh and inspirational wedding planning tips.  BEST WISHES!!



Photo by Nicholas Swatz

Quick Tips: Autumn Decor & Inspo

Looking for a few last-minute add's for your FABULOUS AUTUMN CELEBRATION??  As the days start to turn chillier and the leaves begin to change...  a new season is on its way - we've drawn on the inspiration of Fall to bring you a few fresh Tips & Decor Ideas!

  • Sure, pumpkins, sunflowers and fall foliage are always a beautiful complement to your wedding designs, but also consider APPLES and TREE-RELATED DECOR (such as bark, nuts, leaves, branches) as an easy way to bring in the rustic feel!  Branches are great for displaying seating cards, hanging decor, keepsakes, candies or even small necessaries...  Bark is a textured way to add depth and grounding energy to your centerpieces and other decoratives...  Leaves (faux usually works best) can be used as a hanging ornamentation over your dinner table/s or in doorways or to adorn your ceremony arch or gazebo.  Apples can serve as a frame to heighten your cake, polish table decor, or can be arranged in baskets or bowls as eye-catching stand-alone designs (and serve as a fun snack for your guests!)"

  • Earthy-colored scarves or quilts as keepsake items...  Brown / Green / Orange / Deep Red / Yellow scarves are wonderful accents for bouquets, tablescapes, arches or doorways.  They are also lovely keepsake items to offer to your guests, attendants or special wedding vendors!  Quilts too can be offered as keepsakes, or simply placed strategically throughout your reception area, as a fun way to help build the nostalgic atmosphere you are creating with your seasonally themed wedding.  (Budgeting Tip:  Lightly used quilts can often be found at your local thrift shop!)

  • Dried Florals - not only are these a simple way to add a finishing touch to your wedding decorations, they are also easy to take home and set on the mantle as a keepsake treasure from Your Special Day!

  • Stones - the heartbeat of Mother Earth, stone decor also brings in grounding energy and adds a rustic touch.  Consider making this an interactive piece:  With a vase full of permanent markers, arrange various rocks in a basket or on a table and ask guests to write a short saying or prayer on a stone of their choice, as a beautiful and heartfelt message for your future together.  Then you'll have a collection of stones to take with you - for home decor, garden decor, or to set about the corners of your home:  foundational keepsakes for your new life together!

  • Candles and mood lighting - large lanterns, vases and other containers for candles, as well as string lighting and other unique options are usually available through your venue, wedding planner or rental company.  Just ask!

  • Amazing Delectables to set your Wedding Fare apart!  Remember to brainstorm with your caterer or chef to get creative with the gifts of the season!  Sweet potatoes, leeks, pumpkins, cranberries...  Consider soup shooters, appetizing sweet potato slices topped with feta, herbs and chives...  Filo tarts filled with warm veggies, nuts and cheeses...  Savory pies as well as sweet dessert pies...  Remember to use pumpkins as serving 'bowls.'  Delightful!

Learning to Dance Can Make Your Wedding Truly Unforgettable

Where to have the wedding. What to wear. Who to invite. What to eat.  There’s so much to think about when getting married that some couples forget one of the most fun elements of all: their wedding dance.

The wedding dance is your first step forward as a married couple. It is your opportunity to show everyone how beautifully you move together. "My fiancée and I started taking swing dance classes,” reports Hudson Valley resident Emma Stokes. “We had no idea what we were getting into and had no previous experience dancing together. Wednesday nights quickly became our favorite night of the week. The instructors created a comfortable atmosphere for learning. We spent most of our time laughing, and we ended up being pretty good! We never thought we would swing dance at our wedding, but by the time we were done with the group classes, we had so much fun that we signed up for private lessons. The instructors designed a series of swing moves for our song, and we swing danced as our grand entrance! Dancing was a wonderful way for us to take the time to connect as a couple during the stressful planning periods, and we will certainly be back for more!”

There is nothing more beautiful than watching a couple in love dancing together.  “My sister watched us practice our dance a few nights before the wedding,” adds Emma. “She was moved to tears and rewrote her speech to say how touched she was by the obvious connection we had, and the joy and pride we had in each other while dancing.”

Any skilled instructor should be able to work with you and your song, or help you select a song and appropriate dance style. The earlier you can begin lessons the better since you’ll be able to feel completely comfortable by the time you get to the wedding, if you’ve had sufficient time to gain skills and confidence. But even if you can only squeeze in one or two lessons, they will help you look more at ease and not succumb to the stand-and-sway of most couples.

Learning to dance together is not only a great way to look fantastic on your wedding day, but also a great way to bring a new hobby into your married lives. And don’t forget lessons for the father/s or mother/s dances with their newly married daughter/s or son/s.  Lessons for the entire wedding party can also be a real showstopper!


Linda and Chester Freeman of Got2Lindy Dance Studios have taught all over the world and on cruises since 2004.  They specialize in providing private dance lessons to wedding couples, and have helped hundreds of couples like Emma make their dance dreams come true.  They also teach group swing dance classes and run monthly social dances in Kingston NY (Hudson Valley.)  Private lessons and group classes also available via Zoom.  Named the Best Dance Studio on The Knot 2022.

Got2Lindy Dance Studios

Image courtesy Got2Lindy Dance Studio
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