Post # 1
So, my FI and I are at the veeery beginning of the planning process and are trying to figure out ‘what kind’ of wedding we will have.
My FI is not a traditional kind of guy. The poor thing visibly shudders at the idea of dressing up and sitting through the formalities of a traditional reception – toasts, first dance, all of that. I am flexible, I can do traditional or less so but I’m not daring enough to do something completely avant garde!
Initially we were leaning very much towards a ‘cocktail/dessert’ reception. This seemed perfect – lounge furniture, dancing, mingling, good food, no formalities. After speaking with my mom, though, I have some hesitations. Guests will be traveling from out of town and be there during the dinner hour so they will expect a meal. Some of my older relatives might not get it and find it strange. Sigh.
So, on to the next idea! Which was, to have a hybrid of a cocktail reception and a more traditional reception. Meaning, we would have a buffet style meal and/or action stations along with the appetizers. We would provide some traditional tables for seating but possibly not assign seating. Most if not all of the formal speeches and such would be skipped. Basically people could come in, get food, talk, and dance.
My question – is this a ‘genre’ of wedding receptions, or is just going to seem thrown together and awkward? Should we go more one way or the other – i.e., informal, early afternoon cocktail reception or evening formal reception, but not try to combine them? Are people going to be confused when they come in and we don’t do the speeches and such?
I’ll put up a poll so you can vote anonymously – please don’t worry about hurting my feelings, I don’t know anything about weddings and I just want to know if this is strange or not! Be totally honest!
Post # 3
I went to a wedding like this this summer and it was wonderful!
They had 4 food stations and the food was AMAZING! It was all outside and there were stations around the garden – there high cocktail tables with stools and some buffet tables with chairs but no assigned seating. It was very social and informal and the bride and groom just got to mingle the whole time instead of sitting at the head table – which was nice because all the guests got to chat with them! Later in the evening the groom said thank you to all the guests and asked if anyone wanted to say something so it was very informal (not scripted) and genuine. They did do a cake-cutting and a first dance later in the evening but it wasn’t a scripted evening it was go with the flow and LOVELY!
So I say go for it! Don’t worry about the older guests not getting it – they will enjoy getting to spend time with you on YOUR day!
Post # 4
If it’s done right, yes it could be sloppy. BUT, if you plan carefully, it could have a very jazzy clubby kind of feel to it. You should still incorporate some wedding stuff into it, but man, I’d LOVE to have had some sweet little lounges to chill on while I had dinner and stuff.Big enough to share with a lot of friends of course. And I love any reason to wear a cocktail dress.
It sounds very Vegas jazzy night club, and I like it. Just make sure it’s still kind of a wedding and has those components b/c i doubt all your guests are 25 and hip. I want to vote for too many options. Yes, best for a younger crowd. Yes, I like non-traditional and lots of people are doing that. Yes, it could be confusing without the guidance that a wedding has.
I like the idea…I think it might behoove you to hire a coordinator or party planner to try to find a cohesive middle ground, otherwise it could be one hot mess. But I totally think it’s doable.
Post # 5
We’re planning on doing something similar to your second idea. We’re not having assigned seating or even table seating for everybody, but we’re having lots of stations and a couple of lounge areas set up plus some small short tables and cocktail tables. Most of our guests are younger and we have no living grandparents, so I think we’ll be fine. I’ve been to many receptions similar to the one I’m planning.
Post # 6
I think it sounds fabulous, Circus Peanut. Really, you just need to organize well and I think it will turn out great! Maybe you could just say a quick welcome and say, please enjoy the food and mingle and have a great time, thanks for coming just to pull it all together and it will be awesome!!
Post # 7
Go for it! I think your idea would be so much more relaxed and fun for everyone! Assigned seating and the traditional wedding stuff is so stiff. I don’t think you need a coordinator to make this work, but if you want to clue in guests with more traditional expectations, I would either put something in writing (in the program maybe?) or have a reception emcee who explains what will (and won’t) be happening.
Post # 8
Thanks for the input everyone! Really good to know that this could probably work if done correctly. I hadn’t even considered a wedding planner but that is a great idea. If I could find someone within my budget that would help sooo much…I’m in a big city so I have this seemingly endless number of vendors and sites to research. Having someone who knows the territory would be fabulous!
Post # 9
BTW, i meant to say if it was done “wrong” it would be sloppy but now i can’t go back and edit. lol, oops.
Post # 10
this is the type of wedding I had and the majority of the people were from OOT. Initially, both sets of mothers were upset. But after the wedding, everyone told me how wrong they were.
If you are going to have a cocktail reception, just make sur eit is much later in the day (our ceremony began at 8 pm) so people are not expecting a sit down dinner and put something on the invitation like cocktail and hors duerves reception to follow.
Post # 11
I voted “other”.
On the one hand, you should have the wedding style you want. On the other, you definitely should offer something more substantial than just desert if you’re having the reception during suppertime (so, if it starts before 7:30-8:00, you should offer food). I like the idea of doing buffet stations, or LOTS of appetizers (like, enough so that each person can have a “full meal’s worth” of appies). We have a bit of a similar problem at our wedding — lots of out of town guests, wedding around dinnertime, etc. — and so we’re doing a make-your-own sandwich bar before the ceremony (which will start an hour or so before sunset), and then cupcakes afterwards.
Post # 12
I’ve never been to a wedding like this, but I think it sounds like it would work out just fine. Like you said, people are doing all kinds of different styles right now in terms of receptions. I think something like this would be really fun and cool.
Post # 13
Thanks for the input! In the end I decided this would best be left to a professional so I am having a wedding consultant pull it all together for me!
Post # 14
I think this could work but I wouldn’t skip all the traditional wedding stuff. I know a lot of guest really enjoy the first dance and the speeches, etc. I know that for me, the speeches are the best part. It gives a glimps into the bride and groom’s life and it’s nice to hear their closest people wishing them well.
Post # 15
Why not have your hors d’oerves and dessert reception and just include some heavy appetizers for people that want something more substantial. Anyone can make a dinner out of appetizers – I do it all the time! Make sure you specify on the invite that you will not have dinner and your guests shouldn’t expect anything.
It’s your wedding and you and your FI should have what you want!
Post # 16
I’m slightly jealous. This is a great idea! My caterer mentioned that food stations are always a hit and I love that your want to mix two concepts. But it might be odd for some of the older folks – you might have to explain a little on your wedding website.