When you don’t know a lot of guests at a wedding, it can lead to some awkward conversations filled with really forced small talk. This could really be a big problem if you are in the bridal party. We’re talking to you, groomsmen. Don’t ever bring up the bachelor party in a quick attempt to start a conversation, no matter how epic it was. But that doesn’t mean that you have to settle for dull conversations either. Instead of defaulting to chatting about the weather, we’ve come up with an awesome list that will actually keep the conversation going and make you look good:
1. How you know the couple
Obviously this will be your default topic. Since you’re a groomsmen, you’ll get that question a lot so it’s best to be prepared. If you met the groom while doing keg stands at a raunchy college party it’s best to come up with a more tame story for older guests and family members.
2. The DJ/band/playlist
Your surroundings will always be a default topic at a wedding. Talk about how great the ambiance is. If the music is killer, then take over the dance floor. If there’s a good jam going don’t just sit on the edge of the dance floor, pull people in to dance with you!
3. The food
The same rules apply for the food. If it’s delicious, talk about it. You can even ask the guest what their favourite cuisine is or what type of food they had at their wedding or other weddings they’ve attended.
4. Any after parties scheduled
It’s really trendy now to have after parties scheduled after the reception. If the bride and groom has a table booked at a club or lounge, make sure to get the word around if they want you to. You can also talk about how fun the club or lounge is if you’ve been before.
5. Current events - but NO politics
Talking about current events is usually a safe decision. But try your hardest to avoid politics. If someone in your circle brings it up, try to steer the conversation from it. Any disagreements about politics can lead to some pretty nasty conversations and a wedding is not a polite setting for a rousing political argument. Plus it’s totally not fair to the bride and groom to have to deal with the aftermath.
6. Table conversation cards
A little preparation from the bridal party can help guide conversations. Create a list of topic cards for each table. During the meal guests at the table can read from the card (filled with wedding appropriate topics) and avoid any small talk between others.
7. Couple trivia
This is similar to the table topic cards. The bridal party could plan couple trivia questions. You can do this by leaving cards throughout the venue. Every few minutes, the DJ or emcee can announce a trivia question about the couple. Announce the answers at the end and pass out a few prizes for those who get the most right answers.
8. Basic trivia
Do you ever get into pub trivia? You can create a similar environment during a reception. Especially if the venue has a projection system. Create a list of basic questions and get the guests involved. Pass out prizes at the end.
Playing games is another way to entertain guests and keep them mingling. The bridal party can plan for cornhole boards, cricket, or other garden games. Maybe even some beer pong after the older guests and family members leave.
You might not ever see some of these people again. But take the opportunity to get to know the wedding guests. Play a round of icebreakers in your circle. Or just simply just ask questions about their life: “Where are you from?” “Did you always live there?” “Where are you off to on your next holiday?” If you are close to the bride and groom, chances are these guests are too. You might see them again in the future (you never know!) so try to be friendly.
11. The newest movies hitting the theaters
Who doesn’t love movies? Take advantage of what dropped into the box office the night before. “What movies have you seen?” “What movies do you want to see?” “Who is your favorite actor?” “Favorite movie?” We’re doing the work for you here.
Falling back to sports can be as cliché as the weather. But seriously, who doesn’t love sports? It’s a great topic to fall back on. Just don’t get riled up if the guy you talk to roots for your rivals. You don’t want to create a fuss at your friend’s wedding.
Do you enjoy standup comedy? Or are you just handy with a joke? Take advantage of your crowd. Even if it’s a cheesy joke, you’re guaranteed to get at least a few laughs out of it. We can’t promise it won’t be a pity laugh though.
14. Ask questions
Ask about the guests around you. What do they do for a living? How do they know the bride and groom? They might have some hilarious stories about the pair. You might learn things you’ve never known about the groom!
15. Craziest experiences
If you have the nerve, ask more personal questions. What is the craziest experience you’ve ever dealt with? If you Googled your name, what would come up? You can always dart away to the bathroom if you get an answer you don’t want.
If you are at a destination wedding, ask if anyone has been to the area before. There might be some local restaurants that you need to check out before going home. The same goes for bars and attractions.
17. Pass out compliments
Usually guests put lots of thought into their outfits for the wedding. Complement them! Weddings are an excuse to dress up and flaunt what you’ve got. Make it worth it for other people, complement them. It’ll put them in a good mood and make the whole wedding a jolly affair!
18. Their ultimate dinner party guest list
This is a totally cliché icebreaker. But it’s a fun one, too. You can tell a lot about a person’s personality by who they would want to enjoy a sit down dinner with.
19. Their dream holiday
Everyone has a dream vacation. Some dream about backpacking through Europe or sailing through French Polynesia. Ask the table what their dream vacation is. And like most fantasies, money isn’t a concern!
20. Projects (work or non-work related) that they’re working on
Even if it’s not work related, most people are working on some kind of project for work, home, or pleasure. You might learn that someone is renovating their home, crunching numbers at work, or learning how to knit.
Yes, you are totally allowed to talk about yourself. If you are genuinely trying to get to know some of the guests it’s best to be yourself. Don’t put yourself up on a pedestal though. Remember if you see these people again, they’ll find out you aren’t really a heart surgeon dating a supermodel who couldn't make it to the wedding as your date.