Dinner party reception instead of traditional wedding reception? NO dancing.

posted 3 years ago in Reception
  • poll: Does a dinner party style reception sound boring?
    Yes, I would be bored to tears : (30 votes)
    21 %
    No, a live band sounds lovely and I would have fun chatting to other guests over dinner : (55 votes)
    38 %
    I would enjoy the evening regardless but would find it a little odd there was no dancing : (31 votes)
    22 %
    Add an extra hour for dancing as guests will dance with or without you prompting them : (14 votes)
    10 %
    No, a 5 hour reception is long enough dancing or not and I would be ready for the long drive home : (13 votes)
    9 %
  • Post # 3
    2962 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    Yes when you go out for a birthday or out for dinner there is no dancing but it also doesn’t last that long (4-9:30pm). I would expect guests to stay no longer than 3 hours for this type of event.


    Post # 4
    3570 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    I think just because you don’t want to dance, doesn’t mean your guests shouldn’t be able to.  A lot of them will probably want to, especially if there is a live band.  You don’t need first dances or any of that stuff, but it’s nice to give your guests the option.  The type of reception you describe is a LONG time to sit and converse with the 9 or so other people that are at your table.  

    Post # 6
    10384 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2010

    2 hour cocktail hour? That’s super duper long. Is it really necessary? Will there be chairs and such? That’s a really long time to be standing around making small talk with no other entertainment.

    I don’t think that a dinner party style wedding is so boring, but it should be quite a bit shorter than a traditional wedding, and I think a live band would be really awkward if there’s no dancing. Just do some pleasant background music so people can talk and let people eat. The whole dinner wouldn’t need to last more than 1.5-2 hours – your cocktail hour doesn’t need to be longer or as long as dinner!

    Post # 8
    121 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    I didn’t choose an option b/c I think that it is possible for guests to enjoy themselves at a dinner with no dancing.  However just a few points/thoughts

    1. 5.5 hours would be waaaay to long for a dinner/cocktails – I would be increadibly bored 

    2. Having a live band without dancing just seems unnatural.  A swing band will get people tapping in their seat and eager to get on a dance floor.   If you had a jazz band – I would think that would be more appropriate to the no dancing – but couples would probably want to pair off and dance together. 

    3. Regardless of this day is about you – you are still hosting a party.  Sometimes hosting a party means doing things that you may not want or be entirely comfortable with.  You want to make your guests comfortable and have a great time. 


    My verdict – will it be horribly boring…….not sure, but the possibility is enough to make me want to switch it up. 

    Post # 9
    2358 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    that does sound like an unusually long cocktail hour. i cant imagine standing around for two hours waiting for a reception to start. and id die before i made it to the end of a 5 hour reception especially with no traditional wedding activities like the tosses, games, dancing, or dinner served in courses.

    if u dont want to have any of that stuff, u may have a very bored crowd. 

    i am not having any tosses, dancing, games, toasts etc either. we r only having 20 ppl at our wedding tops and maybe a 30 minute cocktail hour with snacks, a plated three course dinner, and my reception is going to be just under 2 hours long. but we will do first dance and cake cutting and an exit.

    good luck!

    Post # 10
    6166 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2013

    because of the live band people may dance anyway, especially if there is space.

    also, if there is no dancing, i may not hang around for 5 hours. i may eat, chat, and then leave.  maybe stay 3ish hours.

    Post # 12
    1926 posts
    Buzzing bee

    So a couple of things – I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want the guests at the ceremony. To me, attending a wedding is about witnessing the marriage happen. Also, you’re going to have a live swing band but no dancing.. this seems a little strange to me. Are you going to only have them for cocktail hour? I think setting up a small area for people to dance to the swing band would be a good idea.

    As for hte timing issue – I think it’s fine. My wedding dinner went from 5-9:30 with speeches and everything and if you want it to end right after that then that would be fine. However if I was invited, I would only want to come if i could also witness the ceremony.

    Post # 14
    1926 posts
    Buzzing bee

    @BeeG35:  I second this. If it’s going to be just dinner I would advise against doing a buffet and opt for a plated, course dinner. 

    Post # 15
    1599 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    @LunaFleurLavender: We are doing something similar, but without a sitdown meal. Our ceremony is for immediate family and close friends only, about 18 people.  We are not even printing invitations for this. The invitations are for our reception- when people ask us where we’re getting married we speak of the reception only.  We will have about 110 pp total at the reception.

    We are having a 5 hour long cocktail party as our reception. There will be music but no specfic dance area (although I imagine people will break it down at some point.)  I guess I don’t worry about people being bored because we frequently have parties at our house that are 6-10 hours long with the same people and it’s just chilling, drinking, talking, eating and shooting the shit. We wanted basically the same idea without having to work for it. If people get bored, they are welcome to leave early but with our group of friends I somehow doubt most of them will… plus, our families have never met before so they’ll probably take some time getting to know eachother over some vino 🙂


    Leave a comment

    Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

    Find Amazing Vendors