Top 10 Wedding Reception Ideas To Surprise Your Groom

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groom smiling at bride during wedding ceremony

Let’s face it: wedding planning isn’t every guy’s “thing.” While hopefully you’re making most major decisions about your upcoming wedding together as a couple, the bulk of the planning minutiae—how much should you budget for flowers? gold or silver flatware? plated or family style?—might fall to the bride (and her mom, her sister, her BFF…). If you’re leaning in to the role of wedding planner but want to make sure your groom’s fully represented in the day-of festivities, make sure to include little things throughout the celebration that you know he’ll appreciate and that will show off his personality. Even better? Surprise him with these thoughtful inclusions. To get you inspired, we’ve got 10 groom-approved wedding reception ideas that will knock the fancy socks off of your partner and make your wedding day even more memorable.

Groom kissing bride's hand in front of gazebo

Photo Credit || Nyk + Cali

1. Cigar bar

In proverbial days of yore, cigar smoking was reserved for manly types lounging in gentleman’s clubs or sitting around a game of poker, or passed around to celebrate the birth of a child. These days, this centuries-old practice has seen a revival at wedding receptions in the form of ritzy, outdoor cigar bars. Especially when paired with a few sipping whiskeys, your male guests (and especially your groom) will love it. Bonus points if can hire someone to hand-roll cigars on site.

2. Beer Tasting

Got a brew-loving groom on your hands? If so, surprise him with a beer tasting station at your wedding reception. It’s (relatively) simple to execute, and he and all your guests will love getting to try out an assortment of local brews. Snag a few of these Bamboo & Slate Craft Beer Tasting Sets on Zola, and you’re set.

Beard beer koozies

Photo Credit || Mozingo Photography

3. Bourbon Bar

Alternatively, consider incorporating a bourbon bar (or Scotch or tequila or whiskey…whatever your guy prefers) at your reception or during your cocktail hour. He’ll feel right at home (and/or like a bit of a high-rolling celebrity) when he’s greeting guests with a glass of his favorite luxury liquor in hand.

Whiskey and rye

Photo Credit || Dana Cubbage Weddings

4. Lawn Games

Weddings have a lot of pomp and circumstance, but often include very little leisure time where brides and grooms can catch up with old friends and family in a relaxed setting. We’ve got a solution: lawn games. Whether it’s frisbee, corn hole, croquet, or whatever your groom finds relaxing, he (and everyone else) will love these chill, outdoor activities.

Groomsmen playing cornhole

Photo Credit || Kibler Photography

5. Rockin’ Reception Entertainment

Another way to shower affection on your new hubby on your wedding day is to surprise him with some kickass entertainment at the reception. Whether it’s a live band, a hilarious standup comedian, or a more subtle performer like a caricature or a tattoo artist (yes, that’s a trending wedding reception idea!), the crowd and your groom will love every moment of the unexpected performance. Bonus points if you’re able to score one of your man’s favorite bands, or if you request the fight song of your guy’s alma mater. There’s no better way to get him and his buddies pumped up.

Couple dancing to live band

Photo Credit || Allison Kuhn Creative

6. VIP Lounge

Want to give your groom the VIP treatment? Set up a swanky lounge space at your wedding reception. Visualize a tented area filled with sofas and other plush furniture, chill music, a TV screen with cool videos or a photo slideshow of you two, and a small specialty bar. Now, granted, you don’t want your guests (groom included) to spend all their time chillaxing in the lounge tent (after all, he’s now your designated dance partner for life), but for a few minutes of wedding reception down time, you can’t go wrong with a VIP lounge.

7. Groom’s Cake

A Southern tradition that can apply regardless of your zip code, a groom’s cake is a special homage to the groom via sugar, butter, flour, and all kinds of creativity. Generally representative of some part of the groom’s background or personality, the groom’s cake is themed and contrasts with the traditionally white wedding cake. Especially if your betrothed has a sweet tooth, a surprise groom’s cake could be the literal icing on his perfect wedding day.

Georgia bulldogs groom's cake

Photo Credit || Richard Bell Photography

8. Fantasy Getaway Car

If your man has a thing for sweet rides, we have the ultimate wedding day surprise for him: rent a classic car (bonus if you know his favorite make and model) and present it to him either at the post-reception departure or after your ceremony. When he walks out and see those gleaming wheels waiting for him, he’ll be just as giddy as you were the moment you found your dress.

Groom leaning against black mustang

Photo Credit || 1216 Studio LLC

9. Fictional Character Attendees

For a reception detail that will stand out above all the rest, hire a professional (or ask a buddy) to dress up like your guy’s favorite sports mascot, superhero, or fictional character (we see you, Darth Vader). We’ve seen this done a few times over the years and never tire of the groom’s shocked reaction when one of these special guests walks through the door. Plus, what’s more memorable than dancing to “Shout” with Batman?

Bride and groom with Star Wars characters

Photo Credit || Ivory Door Studio

10. His Favorite Food As A Late-Night Snack

Someone once said that the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. While we think that the good, old-fashioned recipe of love, honesty, communication, and support is still the winning combo, there’s no harm in surprising your groom and guests with his favorite late-night snack. Who wouldn’t be smitten with sliders and truffle fries to soak up all the effects of that open bar on the ride home?

Waiter carrying tray of fries

Photo Credit || Arte de Vie Photography

How are you planning on surprising your groom on your wedding day? Leave us a note in the comments below.

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