Post # 1
I am hoping to pick all of your brains for some ideas for reception alternatives. I want to do something that will be fun, different, and potentially more reasonably priced than a typical dinner dance reception. We love the outdoors and live in Northern California and are trying to find something for about 150 guests. Here are some ideas that I have been playing with or that I’ve heard of others doing so you have a sense of what I have been thinking about. I’d love to hear any additional ideas you might have!
– Ceremony w/ coffee, juice, bagels, etc. Then give everyone box lunches and board buses to tour Sonoma wineries. Kids get an “adventure pack” to take with them and keep them entertained. One stop would be Somoma town Square instead of a winery. Non drinkers would enjoy the square and beautiful scenery at wineries. Concerns: logistics of having 150 ppl taste, if they have to rotate btwn stops how we get to spend time with everone (do we rotate btwn groups?), stress of the logistics.
– Early afternoon ceremony followed by deserts and appetizers in an outdoor park with field day like games (3 legged race, horseshoes, bocce, etc). Then meet up in evening at a local old style movie theatre that plays classic movies for a movie w/ all you can eat popcorn and soda. After, those who want can go out to a local bar for dancing. Concerns: Just not super excited about this for some reason. The park that I am interested in does not allow any alcohol and I would like to at least have a toast after the ceremony.
– Ceremony somewhere outside followed by a gathering at a horse race track where there would be some sort of buffet and plenty of space to mingle and bet. (Don’t know if this is really us)
It feels hard to be creative with so many people to manage! I had liked the idea of a roving reception where we move from one meaningful place to another, but I think that would be unreasonable with so many people unless it is organized by bus like the wine tour.
Any other thoughts? Thanks!
Post # 3
First off: Shout out to Northern Cali!
About the post:
Woah! These are some great ideas! My favorites is 1, and I don’t see a problem with switching busses. However, I have two concerns. 1. asking people to drink a lot of alcohol with only bagels in their stomachs is a recipe for disaster. Maybe add some heavier things like smokes salmon, shrim coctail, mini quiches, and ham and chees coissants. 2. depending on the season it gets might hot up here, so those busses might become stuffy and uncomfortable unless you get the nice charter busses.
2 sounds fun as well, but it seems like your guests will pick and choose what they want to attend (some people might not be athletic, others might not like the old movie) and you may end up with some empty “legs.”
Post # 4
@lasd2be: To expand on #1 – what if you set something up like a mini-wine tasting tour (like a vinters weekend, only on a smaller scale). Pre-select certain wineries and then work with them to provide an experience for your guests. Something like either cave tours, set menu items at their location, etc. Obviously, you would have to pick wineries that were willing to work with you and have the space to accomodate. You could hand out a list of the wineries and what they offered at the ceremony. If you did something like that – I would also have an end point where everyone could meet up afterwards. The only issue I see with this is that it’s kind of like a: hey, thanks for coming to our wedding – now leave and go have fun. As a guest, I don’t necessarily want to be entertained, as much as I enjoy seeing the couple interact with each other (which would be missed at the various wineries).
What are your favorite things to do with Fiance around the area? Maybe keep brainstorming for things that are totally ‘you’ and things you two enjoy doing and work around that.
Post # 5
The logistics of taking 150 people on winery tours will be a nightmare. Switching busses will only complicate that— say you are riding on Bus #2, jump out at a winery, go to leave and find that 5 people from Bus #3 and 3 people from Bus #1 like Bus #2 better. Now you’ve not got a seat, but your purse and jacket are somewhere on Bus #2. Do it the other way and ask people to stay with the same bus all the way through so things are smoother, and now your mingling opportunities are very limited. Not to mention that many of the more interesting wineries do not accept busses, and I just can’t imagine trying to do a tasting with 30 people, let alone 150.
When we vacationed in Auckland we did a winery tour with a very small charter company— max group size was 11, and on our specific date we had just 5. It was *amazing.* We were leaving one winery as a big bus group pulled up– one normal-sized charter bus so maybe 50 people– and a couple from that bus asked us how we were liking our tour. We told them how wonderful our guide was, and how many neat places we’d gone to, and they looked crushed. They weren’t having fun at all.
I just think it would be really hard (and really expensive) to pull this off for such a large group AND make it enjoyable.
Maybe look into a country club in the area where you can do an outdoor reception with music, croquet, badmitton, and other types of games?
You could also look into a private rental of the Napa Valley Wine Train, which should be able to fit the entire group.
Post # 6
What fun ideas! They all sound great, but here are some of my thoughts.
The logistics of having 150 people show up and taste at a vineyard seems very difficult, unless you’ve worked some kind of private (read: expensive) arrangement beforehand, and I second that tasting might not be a great idea with only bagels in the stomach. That one does seem verrryy heavy on the logistics. Would any vineyards send reps to you for tastings?
I think the games day sounds really fun, but that’s probably becuase that’s what we’re doing for our Day After Sunday Brunch!! We’ll be meeting up at a goregous state park, we have a pavilliion rented, and there is a beach volleyball court, horeshoe pit, lake with canoes for rent, and we’ll be bringing lawn games. FI and I are both pretty compettive people so, it makes sense for us. If you went with this, I think a private screening of your favorite movie in the park would be super fun! You could rent an inflatable screen and projector, and serve everyone popcorn while they lay on blankets. That would avoid the need of moving people around for the second part of the day.
We’re also taking everyone bowling for our rehearsal dinner, and by everyone I mean the whole wedding guest list, but that’s also special to use because Fiance grew up bowling with his whole family. Might be another option!
I also saw a really great blog post once (although I have no idea where it was), where the couple had a mini-carnival after their ceremony. They made games, rented some booths I think and it looked really fun and like everyone had a great time! It was very heavy on the DIY though. My favorite thing I remember from it was that they had those ducky race games where you pull ducks out of a pond for your prize, and the bride and groom picked whose last name they were going to pick by racing a little bride and a little groom duck. The bride won!
Post # 7
I agree with the logistical concerns related to the wine tour idea, which is why even though we both love wine tasting and find the Sonoma area to be so beautiful, I don’t think we will end up going in that direction (though the idea of having reps from different wineries or just doing our own tasting could be a good one). But I think if we were having a smaller group it is a pretty good representation of what we would want to do so I thought I would throw it out there.
I like the idea of the outdoor movie theater, though in Northern CA, evenings in the summer can still be pretty cool, so I would have to think about that a bit more. I also really like the mini carnival idea.
In general I think I was just trying to come up with something where there would be some food and drink availible, and people could choose to just chat and mingle, but there would also be more of an adventure or activity that we could all engage in together as an option available too.
Your ideas are really helpful in this brainstorming process. Thanks so much!
Post # 8
@DrRoberta: It sounds like your wedding is going to be filled with lots of fun activities that are a great fit for you. I think that is what I’m trying to figure out how to create for us. Thanks for all the ideas!
Post # 9
I love these ideas but the logistics are tough. Many of them would be the best hennight,but at a wedding, I’d be keener to celebrate with the couple. Maybe it’s worth thinking about what it is draws you to each idea and why the entertainment route appeals? Perhaps there’s a way to combine elements on a smaller scale, like have the wedding at one vineyard with appetisers and desserts? Or a BBQ? Or see if there’s a ranch/farm nearby with something like a petting zoo for the kids and a venue for the adults to mingle? I know there’s a colonial house outside Boston like this but I don’t know about California. It sounds as if you want something fun and outdoors – there’s ways to do that without losing the group element. Super-cool ideas, though!