A grand piano is placed near a stage adorned with white and gold drapes and floral arrangements in an elegantly decorated event hall, offering exactly what guests want from a wedding reception.

What guests want from a wedding reception

Providing a memorable guest experience is part of wedding planning. The goal is to combine some “tried and true” elements with a few surprises along the way. Based on years of owning and operating a top Winston-Salem wedding venue, we have a pretty good idea of what guests want from a wedding reception.

What do guests want from a wedding reception?

A beautifully decorated wedding table set with flowers and a chandelier at a stunning Winston-Salem wedding venue.

Wedding guests expect a reception that encompasses all the senses.

A wedding reception is an event that involves all of the senses – sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound. It’s important that the elements of your reception blend and build together the atmosphere you want for your guests. Make sure you highlight each of the senses in some way, whether it’s through decor, tablescape design, your menu, or entertainment. 

Your guest experience should also contain some “tried and true” elements that keep smiles on your guests’ faces. Take a look at these six important basics:

No line at the bar: Once the ceremony is over, your guests will want to head to cocktail hour while you finish up any formal photos. There’s always a crush, so be prepared with more than one bar. And think about strategically located self-serve, non-alcoholic mini bars. That will also help take care of the initial rush.

Some elbow room: It’s important to give your guests some personal space. No one wants to feel like they can’t get up from their seat during dinner or experience claustrophobia at cocktail hour. And this also ties into event flow. When it’s time to enter the main reception space, guests don’t want to feel like they’re part of a herd. They want to experience the beauty of your venue and take it all in as well.

A dance floor that welcomes everybody: The odds are your guest list will probably span generations and that’s a good thing! Honor other married couples with an Anniversary Dance. As the DJ calls out those significant anniversaries, it’s always fun to see who’s been married the longest. And be sure to factor in the ages of your guests and let your DJ or band leader know so they can play a wide variety of music.

More reception guest wants

A quieter place to hang out: While your guests are here to celebrate your wedding day, it’s also an opportunity to catch up with family and friends. Guests enjoy a lounge space where they can still be a part of the environment, but a bit removed from the sounds of the dance floor. One of the advantages of hosting a wedding at our Triad event venue is our spacious lobby. It’s not only ideal for cocktail hour, it serves as a place where your guests can take a break from the dance floor.

Comfort and convenience: Your guests will be so much happier with a little climate control. Don’t overlook the importance of enough bathroom facilities. And remember the needs of your elderly and disabled guests. When people are comfortable, they’re happier and ready to celebrate.


Millennium Event Center uses only the freshest ingredients.

Quality ingredients on the menu: Whether you’re working with your caterer on an interactive food station or collaborating on a more traditional wedding menu with plated service, guests appreciate quality ingredients. Millennium Event Center is proud of its Culinary Department and extraordinary Chef. Quality ingredients, often locally sourced, are always at the heart of our cuisine.

How you can improve your guest experience

By covering the basics, you’ve already upped your wedding reception game. So, what are some other things that will have your guests talking the next day? We have a few ideas.

An entertainment staple, the photo booth: The technology is amazing and the style is nothing like the clunky pipe and drape assembly of the past. Think IPad on a slim pedestal with incredible features to customize photos. Or go with a photo mirror where guests can also write goodwill messages. Then there’s the 360 degree photo booth, where you stand on a revolving platform for a full circle of fun. And when it comes to backgrounds, you’re only limited by your imagination (and your budget).

Capture your guests with a sketch artist: Throughout the reception, your guests will be entertained by a sketch artist capturing them in a lighthearted fashion. The sketches are a terrific keepsake. Every time your guests look at their sketches, they’ll think of  your wedding.

Keep serving the guest experience

Bring on the games: Incorporate The Shoe Game into your reception. It’s a newlywed game, where you and your spouse are asked a question – like who is neater? Then you hold up either your shoe or your spouse’s shoe and see if your answers match. Learn more about the game and get 50 questions here.

You can also incorporate a simple game into your tablescape for your guests to play during the evening. Or create a “gaming lounge” with board games or a Playstation. You can even set up a mini casino. Millennium has plenty of space for you.

A grand piano is positioned in front of a stage with draped white and beige curtains, and vases of flowers on pedestals. Two chandeliers are visible, and wooden flooring covers the venue—creating exactly what guests want from a wedding reception.

The Millennium Event Center offers a Grand Piano for cocktail hour.

Liven up cocktail hour: Give your cocktail hour an entertainment elevation. This is a prime time opportunity to introduce a little live music. One of the unique benefits of hosting your wedding at the Millennium Event Center is that we have a Grand Piano tuned and ready for your pianist. Or imagine a magician or illusionist working the room and fascinating your guests while they enjoy a signature cocktail and delicious appetizers from our top-rated Chef.

After hosting over 1,000 weddings, we know what guests want from a wedding reception. We’re happy to discuss how we can help you add another level of “wow” while still making sure your guests experience timeless hospitality, incredible cuisine, and stellar service. Contact us today to schedule your tour and share your Winston-Salem wedding vision.

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