Swiss wedding traditions
One of the first things I learnt about weddings in Switzerland was that the reception was not just about sitting down to eat and enjoying a few drinks. After the one or two apéros, the evening begins with speeches and then come the wedding reception games. These are not just board games or giant Jenga but games that get your guests involved. The biggest, most raucous, tend to happen after the main course and before dessert. Guests throw themselves into the spirit of things like ten-year-olds at a birthday party. As a part of the scenery, I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe! So here are a few of my top wedding reception games with ideas for even the quietest couples.
La Course endiablée – A mad race
Somewhere between musical chairs and a treasure hunt this wedding reception game has a gooey romantic centre. As each selected guest loses they pick a card with a month and a gift on it. So, for the first year of their marriage, the happy couple spends one day with one of their close friends or family. The gifts range from support and advice to silly gifts, bouquets of flowers or dinner invites.
I’ve seen guests picked at random, selected via lollipops stuck to the bottom of their chairs, colour coded place settings and people with birthdays in a certain month. You will know your guests and who will be willing to take part. The best versions had a range of different people and ages, all of whom were happy to get involved.
Once selected the participants sit in a line and wait for instructions. Each time they are asked to go and find an object from the audience the major de table takes away a chair. The race is to find the object and get back to a seat before they are all gone. As the game progresses the objects become more difficult and the audience is asked for more help. I’ve seen objects from pens, perfume, lipstick to shirts, ties, stripy socks and bras!
Elle et Lui – Mr & Mrs
A game for the newlyweds involves seating the new Mr & Mrs back to back and giving them two objects each: one for Mr and one for Mrs. They must respond to relationship questions by raising the object to signify the answer. For example, who does the washing up? Or who made the first move? The questions can be tailored to the couple and the guests – from silly to raunchy.
Le dé géant – Giant dice
A giant inflatable dice can be great fun. I’ve seen a couple of variations but the best had a list of tasks from one to six. Some asked the couple to do something, some asked the guest to do something. They ranged from the bride and groom kissing to karaoke to composing a poem or making a speech.
Le couple célèbre – Famous couples
Great for getting the party started the famous couples game asks random pairs to take to the dance floor. Ask each guest to write down the name of one half of a famous couple – Romeo & Juliet, Fred & Ginger, Tom & Jerry. Then the major de table calls out a name and see who pairs up. By walking around he can sneak a peek over people’s shoulders and find anyone who might be missed. Alternatively, give each guest a name stuck to their chair or on their place setting. The aim is to get everyone up on the dancefloor enjoying the evening.
Your ideas for wedding reception games
I love hearing about new games so feel free to drop me a line to share your favourites. If you are interested in wedding photography, please get in touch to check availability and to find out more about my wedding collection and à la carte pricing.