If you're planning an intimate wedding ceremony, reception and formal meal with only family and close friends involved, to be followed by a larger evening reception with lots more guests invited, then a themed party can be a relatively simple and fun way to include everyone in the happy celebration.
Wild West Theme
A Wild West theme is instantly recognizable and easy to identify with – all you need is a good sense of humor and the ability to relax and join in the fun. Visually the effect is quite easy to produce, from dress code to room decoration, and food and other refreshment can adopt the simple theme to great effect. For entertainment, a band playing country and Western music immediately evokes the style and period, and a session or two of organized dancing could play a pivotal role as a highlight of the prayers steps.
Your guest's costume can be as simple or as 'fancy dress' as you or they they wish. Western outfits are usually colorful and brash – cowboy jeans or chaps, check shirt, kerchief or string tie and a big belt for the lads, denim skirt, gingham blouse or maybe a hooped gown for the lasses. Not forgetting cowboy boots and hats for everyone. Maybe a sprinkling of Injuns and Squaws would be appropriate. With a little ingenuity, many guests will be able to kit themselves out using items from their own wardrobe, but failing this a visit to a theatrical or fancy dress costumier should do the trick.
A few simple touches to the decoration of the venue will create the right impression and atmosphere. American flags, bunting, plastic cacti and a few 'wanted' posters (maybe personalized to certain individuals at the party!) All help to set the scene. If possible, straw bales round the edges of the room will produce a suitably rustic barn-like effect.
It can be a good idea to serve food buffet style midway through the evening as a break from the entertainment. Again, this can very easily tie in with the western theme. Chicken wings, barbeque spare ribs, steaks, pork stew and of course beans with pumpkin pie to follow, for example would be quite simple to prepare are present and would be gratefully accepted especially by your additional evening guests.
The theme you've chosen is in itself a great ice-breaker, and should be an encouragement to your guests to let their hair down and join in the fun. A Country and Western band (backed up by some similar recorded music if necessary) will set the scene musically. For the highlight of the evenings entertainment, you could arrange some organized set dancing, partner dancing or line-dancing. This can be wonderful light-hearted fun for young and old alike. No previous experience is necessary, as a specialist teacher guides the participants through the steps of each dance, simple at first, then sometimes a little more ambitious as the evening progresses. It may seem a bit silly (in the cold light of day), but that's exactly the point; to throw off inhibitions, join in and have a good time. A Wild West theme can be ideal for an evening wedding reception party, marking a break from the formalities of the earlier parts of the day. Most aspects are fairly straight forward, and the overall style is easy to achieve. Add some suitable entertainment and look forward to a memorable evening of fun and frolics, hoedown style.