This is a work in progress guide and I will add photographs
Weddings are magical important day, celebrating the union of two lives, they also have the potential to be long, boring, expensive and hungry. If i had to describe some of my worst days a few weddings would potentially be on that list. Stood on a gravel drive of a manner house, with no seating, no shade, no entertainment, no food, expensive drinks and surrounded by strangers. A horror story for an introvert like me.
Our wedding we spent a lot of time thinking about the care and entertainment of our guests, we are both empathic introverts and I have a tendency to over plan. We made sure there was lots of space, shade, events and activities and the food was flowing all day. Cheap drinks including free tea and coffee was a must. I also always challenge the status quo and traditions to see if things can be done better so I feel we were inventive and creative at our wedding, at the end of this game guide I will happily share a few tips. We didn’t want a single guest to be hungry, thirsty or bored.
I am a gamer and wanted games at our wedding but I also didn’t gaming as a gimic or theme so we mixed lots of things we love together.
Tips from my wedding
Lawn games, like cotes or Mollky.
We have some traditional lawn games like giant jenga and coates but also had Molkky and archery for activies for people to do.
Wits and wagers instead of speeches or as a team game.
This was our best mans 5th wedding so we decided to do away with speeches and play a game instead. This also worked out well as the serving of the meal would be slower as we were having freshly cooked burghers with a table going up at a time to order. (Beefy Boys)
So we wrote a load of embarrsing / get to know you questions about us and gave each table a name and a a4 laminated card. (The names were based on photographs as I love nature photography so we had Squirrel, Tit, owl, kingfisher etc)
Wits and Waters is a trivia game but it doesn’t matter if you don’t know as you can bet on ANYONES answers. It’s brilliant as a team game, Fist you get the question and the discussion around the table. How many times did it take them to pass their driving tests? How much did they drink on their stag do? Then you place your answers among the other tables, and that is a reveal itself, how close or different they are. and then you bet. And finally the reveal. It served as a great ice break and all the tables got stuck in, some of the non gamers were the most competive!
Giant and team games like tsuro even as a first dance
I didn’t want a first dance but the silly idea of a first game, first lifesize game and a game of brides vs grooms team playing giant Tsuro came to us at the stag do including our third giant game (terror in meeple city) We had space below a mezanine so people could watch. In the end it didn’t happen, people were having too much fun!
Do make sure you have games teachers.
Games library – i perfer this to games on the table.
We considered games on tables but went for a friendly looking library full of light games people could take back to their tables or where ever.
Ideal games for the games library
Games that are easy to teach and you don’t mind getting damaged or lost. Go simpler than you image as games can be daunting especially learning them infront of others with or without adding alcholol.
Telestrations / Scrawl
Pass the pigs
Various roll and writes. MetroX or similar
For the Kids:
Carve out a quiet space to sit, even if you don’t have games. our venue has two private mezanines and when it came to creating the dance floor we left an extra table than usual (which my wife danced on at 1am!)
Go simpler than you think on games
Games are scary to a lot of folks, add drinks, time pressure and not wanting to look silly, don’t be frightened to go really simple, timelines was brilliant, telestrations and a yahtzee all worked well
We didn’t go for a gaming theme, but we did have home made meeple cuff links.
Non gaming tips
An extra seat at the table!
We had ‘harry potter’ style long tables and there was an extra empty space or two at each table. 10 chairs for 8-9 guests, there cutlery was in a jug in the centre of the table (Burgers!) so there was no marked spaces so people could sit where they want and the extra chairs didn’t look weird. What the extra chairs meant was people could join in at any table and not either tower over, hover or borrow a seat from some who is going to toilet. We had a sweat heart table with just the two of us and once my food was done I worked my way down the room and spent 10 minutes on every single table.
If having an empty chair is odd, give it a name tag, roving guest or something. We found it aided socialisation so much and I enjoyed spending a few minutes at each table.
Do you own Pick and Mix instead of a wedding favours.
A pick and mix is great fun for all, adult love, you can eat what you want. We ensured there was a mix of sugar free and vegan and every was labbeled. We did look at hiring in a professional company, but buying the kilner jars, big bags sweets in and some scoops and bags was far cheaper. I think we ended up buying 50 or 60kg worth as 3kg was cheaper than 1kg. I expected to take a load back and have pick and mix stations at our future board game events. ALMOST NOTHING was left! 100 adults and a handful of kids demolished the lot!
Get your friends and family involved (if they want to be)
Pumpkins were a big part of decor as we wend for a halooween theme, we brought a load and tasked all our friends to bring 10 (we paid) and had an amazing day caving them together. It was great to spend time with our friends and family before the event as it has been so busy on the run up.
Pick and chose what traditions you follow, we didn’t do a first dance as I am way to shy. We moved times around, changed the order of things. Not having table runners or chair covers paid for another few bottles of wine! I can’t quite remember but i think weddings gather people together 3 times, toasts, first dances cutting the cakes etc. This seems like a lot so we changed the flow of the day. We also moved “speeches” before the meal just to make it flow better, not that we had speaches we had games instead.
Server drinks people want to drink
We probably served slightly more free alcohol than the average wedding but didn’t have a free bar, but we did do rather than forcing people to drink and prosecco we had a Victorian mind cart full of beer, ale, cider and wine as well. Our toasts were amazing with all kinds of glasses being help up. I hate waste and see so much abandoned free alcohol at wedding.
Ensure there is Water, squash, free tea / coffee
Go for food you want.
We went for rustic tasty food, Local but gormet burghers, fish and chips in the evening and crumble and custards. No tiny potatos, deconstructed quiches or other fancy stuff for us! Price wise it was probably slightly cheaper but people were full to bursting and satisfied. We even had marshmallows (including vegetarian) for over the firepit in the evening.
Adjust the start time,
We brought our start time forward an hour to make sure we have chance to get married, get photos done and mingle with everyone before they had to go. Our meals were 4pm and 9pm and we made sute there were plenty of snacks imeddiately after the ceremony and the pick and mix through. (I’ve been at weddings where the ceremony was at 2 and the food at 7 but wasn’t server to gone 8 or 9)
Make you time
We had a couples photo shoot in a neighbout autumn arboterum, we wanted nature photos and our venue spacious and warn didn’t have any autumn colours. The hour away was great for us to recharge. We didnt’ feel guilty as there food drinks and stuff for our guests to do back at the venue.
Treasure hunt around the venue
We didn’t quite do a treasure hunt but we love books and film so printed some amazing quotes and hid them around the venue including a rick roll and the cheesey line from Terminator two.
Custom can be cheaper:
We have a artist who does crockery cool stuff modify one of her core images and provide us with a tea pot and cup set ( I don’t drink) she also helped graphic design our cards and we used a local print shop. This turned to be every so slightly cheap than using a ‘professional online’ and we got exactly what we wanted. Only generic bulk buy cards would have been cheaper. (LINK Charlotte)
This worked out a lot cheaper than real flowers we had them weeks in advance and they still look amazing now!
Get a photographer who gets you.
We are shy and hate being photographed and love nature. So we found a photographer who got that. We wanted ‘directed, photos of us rather than reportage as we didn’t want the camera in our face so we could relax.
No photos from guests!
Our registar and our signage asked for no photos and for the guests to enjoy the day and we’ll share the professional photos. I’ve seen horror stories of people getting in the way of the profesional and and walking down the aisles to dozens of cameras and no faces is horrible! (That said some of our guests had no faces as they were in haloween costumes!)
We had an owl ring bearer who stayed around for photos and a fire dancer in the evening (It was autumn do dark early) this was only posssible because we stripped some expected and traditional stuff. The day was expensive but we kept the eye on every penny and we did cut things we didn’t care for and moved the money to events or free drinks.
Have fun with the guest signing book.
We used a beautifull piece of wood but our back up plan was going to be leaves or meeples which could be written on and then added to a frame. I’ve also seen jenga pieces used in the same way.
We were offered jaz at the wedding but wanted it a bit more us a bit geekier. We used Vitamin string quarter playing on random. they do covers from rock, pop, tv theme tunes, game theme tunes. But don’t like classical instrumental. It was very much name that tune as you’d have Enter Sandman, then the theme from Sonic and then the hobbits theme from Lord of the rings. The signing mix was a medly of Best (Our surname) songs, again we wondered how long till people twigged.
Have fun be yourself
We rick rolled EVERYONE. We did custom vows and kept the enforced vows to the minimum, but before we did our real vow we read out the lyrics one line each. There was a very slow wave of laughter as people realised what we were doing and then some shock looks as people shouldn’t laugh at the vows and then laughter as they were in on the joke. We very nervous and our hands and voices shaking and this silliness set the scene for the day, and allows us to gather our nerves for the real vows. I think there were four rick rolls total we did one in the thank you card.. Yes we are silly people but I know there was a lot of laughter and fun!
Tips from other peoples weddings
Hire in some experts, Thirsty Meeples / Big Potato and probable a few other companies can provide games and teachers.
Game at each table, naming each table after a game
Meeple cake toppers, Meeple places sets
Games at each table.
Personalise dice as favours (We looked at this!)