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How to Have a Board-Game-Themed Wedding Reception

Casey had a board game-themed reception after her wedding, and it was a blast!

A board-game theme makes for a fun twist on the traditional wedding reception.

A board-game theme makes for a fun twist on the traditional wedding reception.

Wedding Board Games: A Fun and Unique Reception

When I was planning my wedding reception, I knew I wanted it to be unique and fun for guests of all ages. Many of my guests were older individuals, but there were also some college students and young children. Planning a reception to incorporate activities people of all ages could enjoy was difficult until I thought about going with a board game theme.

A board game theme is great if you have a lot of older individuals who can't dance or move around much. This theme also provides activities to keep children busy and out of trouble. Board games are also great tools to encourage interaction and communication if you have a lot of guests who don't know each other. In this article, I share memories from my own big day and additional ideas for incorporating board games into your reception in stylish and beautiful ways that your guests will enjoy.

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots was the favorite game at my wedding.

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots was the favorite game at my wedding.

My Board Game Wedding Reception

At our wedding, most of our guests were older individuals, but there were also a few young kids and some of our college-aged friends. It was an outdoor wedding on hilly terrain, so there was no place to have traditional music and dancing. Because over half of our guests were between 50 and 80, most probably would not have danced anyway.

When you have older guests who can't move around well and have health problems related to aging, it's important to keep them entertained. By incorporating board games into our décor, we were able to give many of our relatives a chance to play games they may not have seen since childhood. One of our 80-year-old relatives had a ball playing Hungry Hungry Hippos, and my great uncle played checkers with one of my college friends. If you pick games that are well known (so most guests don't need to read the instructions), people can jump right in and play.

This is an aerial photo of some of the board-game-themed tables at our reception.

This is an aerial photo of some of the board-game-themed tables at our reception.

A Different Board Game for Every Table

As you can see in the picture above, each table had a different board game as part of its centerpiece. Along with each game was a colorful glass vase with cotton candy on sticks and pinwheels. Each table looked elegant but also fun and playful.

A Great Filler Between Events

The board games were advantageous in helping us manage time. There was a small lull while we took pictures after the wedding before food was served; guests went to the reception area and played games until we were done with pictures. When it came time to cut the cake, we ran a group game of bingo to entertain people and also to give us time to cut out individual slices and serve them. The games were really useful in helping us entertain guests while all the behind-the-scenes stuff was going on.

The younger kids loved  Hungry Hungry Hippos.

The younger kids loved Hungry Hungry Hippos.

How Board Games Tied in With the Rest of Our Decor

We wanted our reception to look colorful but classy. We used white tablecloths to give it a more formal look. We then used colorful accouterments to give the reception area a lighthearted feel. The white tablecloths looked nice and helped to make the colorful décor seem even brighter.

We picked games like Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots and Hungry Hungry Hippos because they were simple games with lots of nice colors. We found colorful glass bottles to use as vases at Hobby Lobby and made pinwheels and small bags of cotton candy on sticks instead to use as centerpieces instead of flowers. The reception wasn’t about playing board games. It was about having fun and being able to enjoy things you might not always be able to enjoy as you get older.

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We also had things like a milk-and-cookie bar with Chocolate Yoo Hoos instead of milk because it was a summer day. We got glass bottled drinks like Coca-Cola and 7-Up from Sam's Club because we liked the vintage feel of them. Instead of a guestbook, we bought the "World's Biggest Coffee Mug" and had people sign it.

During the serving of the cake, we played a group game of Bingo, and the winner won a prize (an ice cream machine). Incorporating board games really wasn't hard, and being creative with them was a lot of fun. Our guests got to be kids-at-heart for a day, and everyone had a great time.

This table featured a classic, wooden Checkers board.

This table featured a classic, wooden Checkers board.

Using Wooden Board Games for an Elegant, Vintage Look

As you can see in the picture above, one of the games we picked was a wooden version of checkers. The board and its pieces were really pretty and fancy-looking.

If you are looking for games with a more elegant feel, you can consider searching only for games made out of wood. They make wooden versions of Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, and more. These versions are a bit more expensive, but they can give the games a more elegant look, which is what many may want to see at a wedding reception.

Group Bingo While Cutting and Serving the Cake

At my wedding, while we were cutting and serving the cake, we decided to have a group game of Bingo with all of our guests. We had 40 guests, so we only had to buy one set of Bingo cards, but we did buy an extra bag of tokens.

Before the wedding, at each table near every guest's plate, we placed a bingo card and a tiny bag of Bingo tokens. My father-in-law served as the Bingo announcer and ran the game for us while my husband and I cut the cake and put it onto plates.

One Bingo game does not take long, and we set it up so that the winner would get a prize. We gave away an affordable-but-nice ice cream maker. It was a summer wedding, and there was a lot of excitement around winning the ice cream maker. The game was a hit, and it helped us entertain our guests while we served them dessert.

More Ideas for Incorporating Board Games Into Your Wedding Reception

  • Use them as centerpieces for reception tables.
  • Instead of putting them on every table, have one special table with all the games so guests can choose games to bring back to their tables and play.
  • Choose one game, and create a theme using it. For example, you could have a monopoly theme and use game concepts to create another reception décor.
  • Play a group game like Bingo with all of your guests at once.
  • If you have an outdoor wedding, pick games that don't have parts that will blow away if windy (like cards). Something like Jenga would work well outdoors.
  • Let guests who win games take them home with them if you don't want them after the wedding is over.
  • Having guests sign Jenga blocks is one popular alternative to having a guestbook. Read more about this at "Top 10 Unique Wedding Guestbook Alternatives."
  • Match table décor to the colors on a game board. Flowers, napkins, tablecloths, and more could match the board, so everything matches visually.
  • Have separate games for kids and adults. You can choose easier games (like Hungry Hungry Hippos) for kids. You can choose racier games (like Cards Against Humanity) for older individuals.
  • If you want to add some playfulness and humor to your wedding cake, they sell Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots cake toppers. You could also have a board-game-themed wedding cake. See the video below for more ideas.

More Board Game Wedding Receptions

Below are links to others who have also had board game weddings to give you more ideas. With a little creativity you can do a lot with something simple like a board game and you and your guests can have a ton of fun together.

© 2015 Casey White

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